Sunday, November 26, 2006

Morton Smith's Secret Mark Forgery

Stephen Carlson recently linked to a review of a new book on Secret Mark.


  1. For those not familiar with Secret Mark, here's a recent article about it:

    And here are some portions of the article that discuss the influence and significance of Morton Smith's claims:

    "Since Smith's alleged discovery and its endorsement by neo-Gnostics, 'Secret Mark' has influenced a generation of scholars and found a big popular audience. Within the 'Jesus Seminar,' which claims to be searching for the historical Jesus, John Dominic Crossan championed 'Secret Mark' as authentic, making it a cornerstone in his portrait of Jesus as a deliberately anti-conventional philosopher in the style of the Greek Cynics. Helmut Koester at Harvard has even claimed that 'Secret Mark' is an earlier version of the Gospel according to Mark in the New Testament. Elaine Pagels wrote a glowing foreword for a reprint of Smith's book for Dawn Horse Press, the publishing wing of a movement guided by the self-designated Avatar Adi Da Samraj, who claimed to continue Jesus's sexually liberating practices....The fact that this attempt succeeded for so long stands as an indictment of American scholarship, which prides itself on skepticism in regard to the canonical Gospels, but then turns credulous, and even neo-Gnostic, when non-canonical texts are concerned."

  2. Morton Smith's "discovery" has also been panned by F. F. Bruce, James Edwards, Joseph Fitzmyer, R. T. France, Robert Gundry, John Meier, Bruce Metzger, Jacob Neusner, and John Wenham, to name a few. Larry Hurtado is another critic.