RE: Secret Mark
- At 09:30 AM 12/1/98 -0700, you wrote:
>FWIW Department: at SBL I visited with a widely respected senior scholarI don't know who Jeff is making reference to- but there are lots of
>well acquainted with Morton Smith who offered the unsolicited opinion that
>(s)he found it quite believable that Smith fabricated the Mar Saba letter,
>citing the Piltdown Man hoax for comparison. I don't feel at liberty to
>disclose the scholar's identity as the statement was made in private, but
>there were others involved in the conversation so I wasn't the only
>witness. This is certainly one of the most curious episodes in the modern
>study of early Christianity.
respected, reputable scholars who think the whole "Secret Mark" saga is a
horrid joke perpetrated against scholarship. They are right. Those who
have this alleged ms are kindly asked to produce it so that it can be examined.
Jim West, ThD
Quartz Hill School of Theology
- Jack Kilmon's speculation today about the motives of the Patriarchate for
"squirreling away" the famous Clenetine letter prompt me to add another
consideration to the ms interest,
First, I have no doubt that M. Smith discovered a real document. And I
would not question the judgment of those who had seen the PHOTOGRAPHS Smith
provided, that the letter was authentically Clement's. That said:
Has anyone done a study of the photographic film/plates used? Was it
orthochromatic or panchromatic? How was it developed? In what solution?
What lens/camera was used? What FILTRATION was used to make the record?
From the photos of the document in my 1st edn _Secret Gospel_ the details
are NOT that clear. It is clear that natural light was used for taking the
photos. Anyone who has done any photocopying knows that filters HAD to be
used to distinguish letters in a 200 year old volume. Note that the book
print itself is quite legible; the copied pages leave something to be desired.
This has nothing to do with Smith's integrity; I have never doubted it. It
raises questions of how much of the bracketing  Smith provided "to make
the meaning clear" was necessary because of image-lacunae which can occur
when copying is inexpertly done.
Anyone able to provide the verification of the photographing process?
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"History is the phenomenon living people invent
and create to establish who they are
based on what they think they were in the past."
-- Linda Schele