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Was Jesus Gay? Part 5: The Secret Gospel Of Mark (Draft version- mirror)

Enter your email address below and we will send you your username. The first passage, Clement says, was inserted between Mark and 35; after the paragraph where Jesus on his journey to Jerusalem with the disciples makes the third prediction of his death, and before Mark ff where the disciples James and John ask Jesus to grant them honor and glory. And they come into Bethany. And a certain woman whose brother had died was there. And Jesus, being angered, went off with her into the garden where the tomb was, and straightway a great cry was heard from the tomb.

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And going near Jesus rolled away the stone from the door of the tomb. And straightway, going in where the youth was, he stretched forth his hand and raised him, seizing his hand. But the youth, looking upon him, loved him and began to beseech him that he might be with him. And going out of the tomb they came into the house of the youth, for he was rich. And after six days Jesus told him what to do and in the evening the youth comes to him, wearing a linen cloth over his naked body.

And he remained with him that night, for Jesus taught him the mystery of the kingdom of God. And thence, arising, he returned to the other side of the Jordan. The second excerpt is very brief and was inserted in Mark And the sister of the youth whom Jesus loved and his mother and Salome were there, and Jesus did not receive them.

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These two excerpts comprise the entirety of the Secret Gospel material. No separate text of the secret gospel is known to survive, and it is not referred to in any other ancient source. Among scholars, there is no consensus opinion on the authenticity of the letter, [] [30] [31] not least because the manuscript's ink has never been tested. He indicated that the two quotations go back to an original Aramaic version of Mark, which served as a source for both the canonical Mark and the Gospel of John. In the first phase, the letter was thought to be genuine, while Secret Mark often was regarded as a typical apocryphal second-century gospel sprung from the canonical traditions.

Bruce , who saw the story of the young man of Bethany clumsily based on the raising of Lazarus in the Gospel of John. Thus, he saw the Secret Mark narrative as derivative and denied that it could be either the source to the story of Lazarus or an independent parallel.

“Secret Mark”: Morton Smith—Forger · The BAS Library

Grant thought that Smith definitely had proved that the letter was written by Clement, [] but found in Secret Mark elements from each of the four canonical gospels, [j] [] and arrived at the conclusion that it was written after the first century. Like Smith, they mostly thought that the story was based on oral tradition , although they generally rejected his idea of an Aramaic proto-gospel.

The first scholar to publicly question the letter's authenticity was Quentin Quesnell — in Quesnell and others have argued that this fact supports the idea that the book never was part of the Mar Saba library, [] but was brought there from outside, by for example Smith, with the text already inscribed. Smith found almost books at his stay, [k] [] so the list was far from complete [] and the silence from incomplete catalogues cannot be used as arguments against the existence of a book at the time the catalogue was made, Smith argued.

Charles E. Brown advocates that Theodore instead is told to assure that the adulterated or forged Carpocratian gospel was not written by Mark, which would be partially true. Smith speculated that a letter of Clement could partly have survived the fire, and a monk could have copied it into the endpapers of the monastery's edition of the letters of Ignatius [b] in order to preserve it. Morton Smith objected to insinuations that he would have forged the letter by, for example, calling Quesnell's article [] an attack. Morton Smith summarized the situation in a article. After Smith's summary of the situation, other scholars did support Secret Markan priority.


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The allegations against Smith for having forged the Mar Saba manuscript became even more pronounced after his death in In , Andrew H. In , Philip Jenkins drew attention to a novel by James H. Hunter entitled The Mystery of Mar Saba , that first appeared in and was popular at the time. Price , [] Francis Watson [] and Craig A. Evans [] developed the theory that Morton Smith would have been inspired by this novel to forge the letter. This assumption has been contested by among others Scott G.

Pantuck find the alleged parallel between the Scotland Yard detective Lord Moreton's last name and Morton Smith's first name puzzling, since Morton Smith got his name long before the novel was written. Pantuck thinks they are too generic or too artful to be persuasive. The fact that, for many years, no other scholars besides Smith were known to have seen the manuscript contributed to the suspicions of forgery. This dissipated with the publication of color photographs in , [84] and the revelation in that Guy Stroumsa and several others had viewed the manuscript in Brown noted that he was in no position to do so.

In Charles Hedrick expressed frustration over the stalemate in the academy over the text's authenticity, [36] in spite of the fact that the Clementine scholars in the main had accepted the authenticity of the letter. The debate intensified with the publication of three new books. Carlson published The Gospel Hoax [] in which he spells out his case that Morton Smith, himself, was both the author and the scribe of the Mar Saba manuscript. Yet these theories by Carlson have been, in their own turn, challenged by subsequent scholarly research, especially by Scott G.

Brown in numerous articles. Madiotes actually was written by someone else and was an eighteenth-century hand unrelated to Clement's letter to Theodore; that Smith did not contribute that handwriting to a contemporary named M. Madiotes M. In particular, on the subject of the handwriting, Roger Viklund in collaboration with Timo S. Brown [] and William V. In , extensive correspondence between Smith and his teacher and lifelong friend Gershom Scholem was published, where they for decades discuss Clement's letter to Theodore and Secret Mark.

Book Review: The Gospel Hoax: Morton Smith’s Invention of Secret Mark

A number of scholars have argued that the salient elements of Secret Mark were themes of interest to Smith which he had studied before the discovery of the letter in This hypothesis has been contested mainly by Brown and Pantuck. First, they reject the idea that something sexual is even said to take place between Jesus and the young man in Secret Mark, [] [] and if that is the case, then there are no forbidden sexual relations in the Secret Mark story. Second, they challenge the idea that Smith made the links Evans and others claim he did.

They argue that Smith, in his doctoral dissertation from , [] did not link more than two of the elements — the mystery of the kingdom of God to secret teachings. The forbidden sexual relations is just one among several things the Tannaim said should be discussed in secret. Charles W. Hedrick wrote an introduction to the subject, [51] and both Hershel Shanks [] and Helmut Koester [] wrote articles in support of the letter's authenticity. Since the three pro-forgery scholars who were contacted declined to participate, [x] Shanks had to make the argument for forgery himself.

The Gospel Hoax: Morton Smith's Invention of Secret Mark

Koester then realized that Smith really struggled to understand the text and to decipher the handwriting. Or Morton Smith was an accomplished actor and I a complete fool. Venetia Anastasopoulou, a questioned document examiner and expert witness with experience in many Greek court cases, [z] noticed three very different writings. However, Agamemnon Tselikas, a distinguished Greek paleographer [ab] and thus a specialist in deciding when a particular text was written and in what school this way of writing was taught, thought the letter was a forgery. Contrary to Anastasopoulou's judgment, he thought some lines were non-continuous and that the hand of the scribe was not moving spontaneously.

Having surveyed the archives of Smith's papers and correspondence, Allan Pantuck comes to the conclusion that Smith was not capable of forging the letter; that his Greek was not good enough to compose a letter in Clement's thought and style and that he lacked the skills needed to imitate a difficult Greek 18th-century handwriting.


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Scott G. Brown and Eckhard Rau argue that Smith's interpretation of the longer passage from Secret Mark cannot be reconciled with its content, [] [] and Rau thinks that if Smith really would have forged the letter, he should have been able to make it more suitable for his own theories. In his later work, Morton Smith increasingly came to see the historical Jesus as practicing some type of magical rituals and hypnotism, [26] [26] [] thus explaining various healings of demoniacs in the gospels. The two excerpts from Secret Mark suggest resolutions to some puzzling passages in the canonical Mark.

Sometimes it is suggested that the young man is Mark himself. Several scholars, such as Robert Grant and Robert Gundry , suggest that Secret Mark was created based on Mark , and other passages and that this would explain the similarities. Crossan , [] argue that the canonical Mark is a revision of Secret Mark. In the creation of canonical Mark, the two Secret Mark passages quoted by Clement were removed and then dismembered and scattered throughout canonical Mark to form the neaniskos -passages. From this gospel some passages were removed by the original author or by someone else to form canonical Mark.