Re: Secret Mark
- Jeff Peterson wrote:
> FWIW Department: at SBL I visited with a widely respected senior scholarHas there been any approach to the Patriarchate to make the leaves, whichI
> 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.
understand have been removed from the Voss' book, available for more
On examination of the letter, I do not accept it as a forgery and certainly
not by M. Smith.
My take on it is that a monk at Mar Saba, in the mid 18th century, hurriedly
copied a deteriorating ms..or a ms in danger of destruction due to it's
"heterodox" reading of Mark...onto the endpapers of the 1646 book.
Any forger skilled enough for not only the 18th century Greek minuscule
but also the clear Clementine style and the Markan style would also,
in my mind, be skilled enough to retain line length. This is not done
in the copy of the letter, an indication to me that it was a hurried attempt
to preserve the text.
- 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