Robert Conner on the Secret Gospel of Mark

Robert Connor graciously passed along to me a draft of his forthcoming book, The "Secret" Gospel of Mark: Morton Smith, Clement of Alexandria, and Four Decades of Academic Burlesque, to be published by Mandrake of Oxford. Mandrake's web page provides the following abstract: While cataloging material in the library of the monastery of Mar Saba in 1958, Morton Smith discovered a quotation from a letter of Clement of Alexandria copied in the end pages of a 17th century collection of the letters of Ignatius. After more than a decade of collaborative analysis of the find, Smith published his conclusions in […]

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Has Philip Jenkins found a “new source” for Secret Mark?

Philip Jenkins, author of The Hidden Gospels: How the Search for Jesus Lost Its Way (2001) and frequent contributor to the Patheos blog, has published a short article in Books and Culture magazine with the tantalizing title “Alexandrian Attitudes: A new source for the ‘Secret Gospel of Mark.’” Unfortunately, Jenkins is not talking about a manuscript source, but a source of inspiration. Jenkins’ previous contribution to the debate on the authenticity of Secret Mark was the claim that Morton Smith was inspired to forge the gospel after reading James Hogg Hunter’s 1940 novel The Mystery of Mar Saba, in which […]

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Loren Rosson III: “Secret Mark Still Fools People”

In a post on the Secret Gospel of Mark (HERE), Nashua librarian Loren Rosson III, administrator of The Busybody blog, offers some comments on Ancient Gospel or Modern Forgery?, the collection of papers from the 2011 York Christian Apocrypha Symposium. I appreciate the attention paid to the book and, though I try to resist responding to reviews (I don't want to be perceived as having thin skin), I wanted to correct a few misstatements in the post. Rosson obviously supports the theory that Secret Mark is a forgery perpetrated by Morton Smith, the scholar who discovered the manuscript of the […]

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New Article on Secret Mark by Viklund and Paananen

Roger Viklund's online article, "Tremors or Just an Optical Illusion?A Further Evaluation of Stephen Carlson's Handwriting Analysis" (see HERE; and expanded upon in Timo Paananen's blog HERE and HERE), has now appeared in a peer-reviewed journal. The complete bibliographical details are: Roger Viklund and Timo S. Paananen, "Distortion of the Scribal Hand in the Images of Clement's Letter to Theodore," Vigiliae Christianae 67 (2013): 235-247. Their conclusion: In sum: all the signs of forgery Carlson unearthed in his analysis of the handwriting in Clement’s Letter to Theodore disappear once we replace the printed images Carlson used with the original photographs. […]

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Review of “Ancient Gospel or Modern Forgery?” by Roger Pearse

Roger Pearse, writer/administrator of his eponymous blog, has written a lengthy review of Ancient Gospel or Modern Forgery? The Secret Gospel of Mark in Debate. These are the papers presented at the 2011 York Christian Apocrypha Symposium. Read the review HERE. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment on the book, Roger. I will offer a response to the review, but I'd be interested in reading other responses first.

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Timo Paananen, “From Stalemate to Deadlock” on Secret Mark

Timo Paananen, administrator of the Salainen evankelista blog, has provided an overview of research on Secret Mark for the journal Currents in Biblical Research (see HERE for an abstract of the article). It is an excellent overview of recent research on the text (with a little on early currents also). What Paananen does best here is bring attention to the deplorable way that scholars of Secret Mark have engaged with one another over the text. However, he seems unable to resist poking a little fun at proponents of the forgery hypotheses by associating them with fringe scholarship. He says, Scholars […]

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Secret Mark Symposium Papers Now Available

My copies of Ancient Gospel or Modern Forgery? The Secret Gospel of Mark in Debate arrived in the mail yesterday. These are the papers presented at the first York Christian Apocrypha Symposium in 2011. The book can be ordered from Wipf & Stock customer service now, from Wipf & Stock online in 2 weeks, and Amazon in 6-8 weeks. The price is $42. The catalog entry can be found HERE. The book has received some glowing endorsements. John Kloppenborg says of it, "Ancient Gospel or Modern Forgery? brings together most of the key supporters and detractors of the authenticity of […]

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Christopher Rollston on Forgeries

Christopher Rollston of the Emmanuel Christian Seminary has a post on the ASOR blog on the subject of forgeries ("Forging History:Motives, Methods, and Exemplars of Forged Texts"). The post discusses inscriptions and texts. What is conspicuously absent is Secret Mark. Perhaps Rollston does not consider this text a forgery. He does discuss, however, Paul R. Coleman-Norton's "Amusing Agraphon" which Craig Evans brought into the debate on Secret Mark at the York Symposium. 

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Secret Mark Symposium Papers At Press

The proceedings for the York Symposium on the Secret Gospel of Mark have now been submitted to the press. The book is titled Ancient Gospel or Modern Forgery? The Secret Gospel of Mark in Debate and will be published by Cascade Books. Now we need to plan next year's event. Stay tuned. Here is the table of contents for the collection: 1. “Introduction,” by Tony Burke  2. “Secret Mark: Moving on from Stalemate,” by Charles W. Hedrick 3. “Provenience: A Reply to Charles Hedrick,” by Bruce Chilton 4. “Morton Smith and the Secret Gospel of Mark: Exploring the Grounds for […]

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Is the Gospel of Judas a Forgery?

I have been reading Robert M. Price’s Secret Scrolls: Revelations from the Lost Gospel Novels (Eugene, Or.: Wipf & Stock, 2011). Occasionally Price contextualizes some of the books he examines with discussions of theories and results of biblical scholarship. Sometimes, however, this contextualizing is drawn from what most of us would consider “fringe” scholarship—for example, dating the composition of the canonical gospels to the mid-second-century,  Barabara Theiring’s ideosyncratic views on the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the New Testament  as “put together and heavily rewritten by Polycarp” (p. 169, appealing to David Trobish, The First Edition of the New Testament [New […]

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York Secret Mark Symposium Papers Coming Soon

The papers presented at last Spring's Symposium on Secret Mark—Ancient Gospel or Modern Forgery? The Secret Gospel of Mark in Debate—have been accepted for publication by Cascade Books. I am currently editing the papers and hope to have the manuscript to the publisher in February. There are plans also for another York Christian Apocrypha Symposium, but not until 2013. It was unlikely that we would receive funding without some "outcome" from the first symposium, and there was some delay in securing a contract in time for funding proposal season. We do not know yet what the topic will be for […]

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