Would it be premature for me to say I'm looking forward to the revised and
expanded edition of Stephen Carlson's book on Morton Smith's hoax (due in
Nov.)? If so, and you'd rather read his first edition before comments on it, do
If anyone is still reading, I'd like to mention one difference I have with the
book. Not a difference with its main thesis: that Smith's "Secret Mark" ia a
hoax. Carlson's description of the ms (that Smith said he "left...at Mar
Saba") is more persuasive to me than Smith's ever was.
But Carlson'e book assesses the chances of a physical examination of the ms any
time soon as quite unlikely. I suggest that Carlson's book may make it more
likely. The Greek Orthodox church was not complicit in a hoax, but merely and
properly published a catalog. And now there's more to check, beyond ink(s).
What did 20th-cenury "M. Madiotes" write? (M. can stand for Monsieur as well as
Morton, and Madiot is a French name--fairly close, though unlikely a cigar.)
The photo was tantalizingly cropped by Smith. Might that text give another
clue? (I have some Smith Greek at home, comments on two papers of mine.)
The 1910 catalog could be checked. The Voss book checked for annotations.
I step back from my earlier question whether J. A. Fitzmyer might have dropped a
hint of a hox, now that I reread his review of Smith in America 1973 570f.
Though JAF could match Smith for erudition, the rest of the text of that review
does not fit a hoax-clue. (Though a long shot, no harm in asking, prhaps.)
Sacra Parallela might be worth quoting (or did I miss that): John of Damascus,
probably, on Clement letters and probably Mar Saba: relevant to sphragis
discussion (cf Smith, Clement p6; Stahlin GCS 17/III 223ff).
What was conscious and not of 1950's issues? Were Smith's photos destroyed along
with his letters?
How could he lie to Nock? How did he lie to Scholem, perhaps in letters to be
edited by G. Stroumsa?
I recommend Carlson's book. I merely suggest that there may be more to come,
thanks to this book.
"Jannaeus, His Brother Absalom, and Judah the Essene"