RE: Secret Mark
- A few thoughts about the Secret Mark discussion:
1. Much thanks to Wieland for his website.
2. My sympathies go with the authenticity of Secret Mark. Still, there are
so many suspicious circumstances associated with that document. The Hobbs
discussion on Wieland's website is very informative. Apparently, a number of
scholars do suspect a forgery on Smith's part. Jim West has plenty of
3. So much is suspicious about the Secret Mark. The plan seems all too
perfect. Only a scrap of the Secret Gospel is found. To forge the whole
Gospel would not have been possible. Just by coincidence, the fragment
explains why it was lost. The Gospel was itself secret. Clement himself said
to hide the truth. This is all much too pat. And how about the way the
fragment ends. Clement is about to explain everything.
4. Not a single reference to this alleged Clement letter or the Secret
Gospel is known in history; and the book in which Morton Smith found the
letter at the Mar Saba monastery was not listed in any previous catalog of
5.Morton Smith made no effort whatever toward conservation of the
manuscript, nor has the document apparently been seen or brought to light
for testing and analysis by anyone else. There is no evidence beyond M
Smith's word that he found the old book in the monastery. He kept the matter
secret for 14 years, then published two books, a "scholarly" one and a
"popular" one. This 14 year wait seems very convenient. If someone went to
the Monastery and couldn't find the book, Smith would have a good
explanation. The book was moved. The former librarian, or the former abbot
is no longer there. Etc. No other person has ever been able to locate the
book in which this stuff was
6.Note also how Smith dedicated his book on the Secret Gospel, cryptically,
"To the one who knows"; he never disclosed who this person was or what this
7. I haven't read Smith's work, Jesus The Magician, but if the title conveys
its contents, it suggests that Smith is attracted by sacred trickery.
8. I don't accept the idea that Smith couldn't have pulled something like
this off. This type of thing is done all the time with artwork. Rembrandt
forgeries which can pass for an original, and fool many of the experts, do
appear. Smith was apparently a brilliant man. Only someone quite brilliant
could do something like this. So what if he needed help. Maybe that's "The
one who knows."
9. The absence of the MS, and the inability of anyone to verify the truth is
certainly consistent with forgery.
10. I don't accept your argument stemming from the allegedly hurried way the
MS was placed in the back of an old book. Who was in a hurry? Supposedly the
prior copy had been rotting away for centuries. And so about a million days
pass, and what happens, on the millionth day the monastery is suddenly out
of paper? So they toss this rare MS which raises some of the most profound
questions in the history of Christianity, and make a copy, and where do
they put the copy of this rare MS? On a flap in the back of a book?
11. The current absence, of course, can also be explained by other factors.
Possibly the monastery or the Patriarchate are themselves suspicious about
this MS and want to pull the MS from circulation. As for conspiracy
theorizing, isn't the Vatican always suspected in these matters? Doesn't the
secret Vatican library contain the full version of the Gospel of the
Hebrews, and Q also? Didn't they snatch the Himis MS discovered by Nicolas
With kind regards,
- 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