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.
2 -- The New Textual Evidence: the connections with ancient
Aramaic John; the 1st agreement with the Magdalene Gospel.
3 -- the 2nd agreement with the Magdalene Gospel: a special relationship between
Jesus and Lazarus; some additional supporting evidence for this same
feature in other Western/Peripheral MSS.
4 -- One more clear
connection between the Secret Mark, and the Western/Peripheral text of
Mark (that Smith was aware of); Koester and Crossan fall flat; other
links between Secret Mark and Western/Peripheral texts that Smith was
aware of. The Conclusion.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
these are just some of the strange ambiguities -- both logical and
ethical -- that seem to pervade Carlson's book.
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)?
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)?
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.
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.
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!
likely is such a scenario in real life? Doesn't seem all that likely to
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