Morton Smith's discovery is an authentic document!

this is what the new textual evidence that I've discovered now demonstrates

Yuri Kuchinsky's SECRET MARK webpage

Clement of Alexandria

The following article by Shawn Eyer (written in 1995) is a good general introduction to the events surrounding the original discovery of this manuscript by Prof. Morton Smith in 1958,

"The Strange Case of the Secret Gospel according to Mark". (You can also try here.)

And this is my own article on this subject, that I wrote back in 1998.

A lot more info about this manuscript is available at Peter Kirby's website.

This new textual evidence that I'm presenting here has been first published on the Internet in the early August of 2003. The following long article that I wrote on the subject has been divided into 4 parts.

To sum up, all this new textual evidence that I've presented in the above article makes it clear that Morton Smith could not have been a forger of this manuscript. Neither Smith, nor any other scholar up to now has been aware just to what extent the Secret Mark is really a Western/Peripheral text. But these numerous Western/Peripheral links of Secret Mark happen to provide the best indication that this really is an ancient text, probably coming from the pen of Clement of Alexandria, himself.

And, of course, the even larger meaning of all this is that the academic community should finally start paying more attention to what the Western/Peripheral texts of the gospels are in general. They are obviously very ancient texts, and, in my view, they happen to hold answers to great many puzzles about early Christianity. And the ancient Aramaic gospels are especially relevant in this regard.

I'm now adding here some new material about the Secret Mark (Dec, 2004).

This is some additional research that I've now done on this subject.

Here you will find my summary of some pretty interesting evidence that Dr. Thomas Talley has discovered in the Egyptian patristic sources in regard to Secret Mark. This represents still more support for Secret Mark's authenticity. This is the first time that this evidence is presented on the Internet.

The following article is also clearly quite relevant to the Secret Mark. Was Jesus a Baptist? -- some new textual evidence.

Was there really any sort of a Massive Secret Mark Conspiracy, that may have produced this rather intriguing document? I don't think so... Nevertheless, those who are still trying to argue that SMk is some sort of a modern forgery are in effect advocating precisely that -- some sort of a conspiracy theory behind the production of this manuscript, and a pretty substantial one at that... Because one man could never have done it!

(I'm adding this in Aug 2006.)

It will soon be about a year since the following book came out,

Stephen Carlson, The Gospel Hoax: Morton Smith’s Invention of Secret Mark, Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2005.

And yet, it is safe to say that, so far, the public reaction to S. Carlson's book hasn't exactly been that of overwhelming acceptance... The reviews in academic journals have been slow in coming.

In any case, in my view, Carlson's book is quite unpersuasive. He really didn't make a very strong case against Dr. Smith. There are a lot of insinuations, but nothing definite.

It is really very serious charges that Carlson is making against Dr. Smith -- the charges that, had they been proven true at the time, would have no doubt destroyed Morton Smith's academic career. And yet, Carlson is making it sound as if these are just innocent, childhood-like fun and games... There's this strange and rather amoral atmosphere that seems to pervade this book through and through.

Smith is a genius, but utterly twisted and even irrational. He did everything he could to make his plot succeed, and yet deliberately left all sorts of clues, to make plain his nefarious machinations. He deceived everyone, and yet he didn't. Deception is of course bad, but sometimes it might be good and even admirable. What he did was a forgery, and yet it was not.

So these are just some of the strange ambiguities -- both logical and ethical -- that seem to pervade Carlson's book.

The motivation of Smith's plot is never really quite clear. To benefit scholarship or to hurt and derail scholarship? To teach his enemies a lesson, or perhaps to prove them right (indeed, nothing would have pleased his enemies more than his being caught and exposed)?

Did he just want to have some innocent fun and games -- or perhaps to undermine the Christian religion, and thus to maliciously insult millions of people? To prove himself smarter than anyone else, or in fact to expose his own rank stupidity (by putting his academic career and livelihood on the line for no apparent reason)?

And so, the Morton Smith that Carlson constructs for us in the pages of his book is really quite a strange and irrational figure. It's nothing more than a cardboard cut-out -- not connected in any real way to the world around him.

All through his book, Carlson alternates between building Smith up, and then tearing him down. Of course, to begin with, Smith needs to be portrayed as a great genius, and a top-notch academic -- an unheralded master of many rather obscure and specialised fields of scholarship... Otherwise, how could he get away with his hoax/forgery -- as multidisciplinary as it was! -- for over 40 years? And yet, quite obviously, the plot that Smith concocted was also extremely dumb and even harebrained -- it was all but guaranteed discovery! The only way that Smith avoided exposure was because, in the end, the monks covered up for him.

So there you have it, folks. A hoaxer/forger who's a genius and yet utterly stupid... But his plot succeeded in spite of everything -- because the monks taking care of Mar Saba library were even more stupid and incompetent!

So how likely is such a scenario in real life? Doesn't seem all that likely to me...

As I see it, the weakest spot in S. Carlson's often convoluted webs of reasoning is his inability to account for this simple fact. There's a very big difference if something was written yesterday, or if it was written 300 years ago. Any idiot should be able to see the difference right away. So how smart could have Smith been if his plans failed to take this into consideration?




Carlson's theory is really quite silly (first published in June 2005).

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