The Gospel Hoax: Morton Smith's Invention of Secret Mark by Stephen C. Carlson

By Stephen C. Carlson

Mystery Mark first grew to become identified to trendy scholarship in 1958 whilst a newly employed assistant professor at Columbia collage in manhattan via the identify of Morton Smith visited the monastery of Mar Saba close to Jerusalem and photographed its fragments. mystery Mark was once introduced at the heels of many magnificent discoveries of historical manuscripts within the close to East, reminiscent of the lifeless Sea Scrolls and the Nag Hammadi gnostic corpus within the overdue Nineteen Forties, and promised to be simply as progressive. mystery Mark offers what seems to be a useful, albeit fragmentary, witness to early Christian traditions, traditions that may make clear Jesus's so much intimate habit. during this e-book, Stephen C. Carlson makes use of state-of-the-art technology to illustrate that mystery Mark was once an complex hoax created via Morton Smith. Carlson's dialogue locations Smith's trick along many different hoaxes prior to probing the explanations why such a lot of students were taken in via it.

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17 In retrospect, it is not surprising that the Pfaff forgeries would involve a patristic writer like Irenaeus, because Pfaff lived at a time of raging theological conflicts in which manuscripts of patristic writers were repeatedly being discovered and cited for one side or another. 18 While Pfaff’s apparent motive for his forgery was to bolster a theological position, Paul R. 20 This saying, which Coleman-Norton called an “amusing agraphon,” was embedded in a commentary on Matthew 24:51 (“there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth”) that presented a dialog between Jesus and a disciple who asked what would happen to people without teeth (443).

Both Secret Mark and the fictional discovery reinterpret a resurrection in the Gospels in naturalistic terms. ”29 Further reasons to suspect a hoax had been noticed by Bart Ehrman, who pointed out that “until recently no one had bothered to consider the significance of this letter of Clement appearing right where it does, in the end pages of Voss’s 1646 edition of Ignatius. ’”31 While it is possible, as Smith put it, that “truth is necessarily stranger than history” (Secret Gospel 148), if it turns out that Secret Mark is a fake, Ehrman’s observation means that the faker must have had a good sense of humor.

For example, Smith’s reply to Quesnell, “I left the MS in the Mar Saba library and have no information as to what has been done with it,”46 does not quite assert that he found it there and can even be construed as admitting to his depositing it there. ”47 This statement does not manage to encompass those suspicions of modernity arising from his personal knowledge of the manuscript’s origins apart from his visible inspection of the handiwork. Even Smith’s defense against being the forger left room to maneuver: “Quesnell insinuates that I forged the MS.

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