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Re: [XTalk] Chilton on Carlson & Secret Mark

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  • Jack Kilmon
    ... From: To: Sent: Thursday, October 26, 2006 5:57 AM Subject: Re: [XTalk] Chilton on Carlson & Secret Mark
    Message 1 of 17 , Oct 26, 2006
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: <goranson@...>
      To: <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Thursday, October 26, 2006 5:57 AM
      Subject: Re: [XTalk] Chilton on Carlson & Secret Mark


      > Jack, you described the manuscript writing using these words: very
      > rapidly,
      > almost urgent, hurried, hurriedly. I'm no expert on this, but I am not
      > aware
      > that it has been demonstrated that the manuscript was written quickly. I
      > find
      > it more probable that Smith took his time, and practiced, including on the
      > front end papers. And then brought the book with him to Mar Saba.

      Actually, it is my observation of the hand that leads me to believe it was
      written hurriedly. The flow tremors and pen rests could have resulted from
      the scribe's eyes moving back and forth between the original and his copy on
      the fly leaves. It would have been far easier to fake the letter in an
      early uncial script than in the highly flourished Phanariot style, IMO.

      >
      > Even though Smith wrote, more than once, that marginal annotations in old
      > book
      > were an important source of information, he gave no information about any
      > marginal notes that the Voss book may have had. Nor, evidently, though he
      > was
      > subsequently in Jerusalem, did he make efforts to reexamine the book, or
      > have
      > someone else to do so. Also, he did not mention in his Mar Saba catalog
      > that
      > the manuscript had Secret Gospel quotations. And only after the 1960
      > catalog
      > (and his seldom-seen 1958 publication) were in print did he announce his
      > find
      > at the December 1960 SBL meeting.
      >
      > I'm all for discoveries of ancient documents. But I think Secret Mark is
      > not
      > ancient, but modern.
      >
      > Smith directed few doctoral dissertations. I am not aware of any on that
      > short
      > elite list who has declared Secret Mark non-genuine other than Neusner.
      > But I
      > can say that at least two of the others--even if they are not persuaded
      > that
      > motive has been shown--do allow that Morton Smith was capable, in terms of
      > knowledge and skill, of creating the manuscript.

      I cannot think of what the motive could have been either, particularly since
      Smith would have another 30 years to his career which would have been
      destroyed. Much of the debate appears to settle around Smith's activities
      and eccentricities as well as dislike for him. I have read some of his work
      on political and social aspects of early sects but I don't think it has been
      demonstrated sufficiently that his degrees of specialization in Clement,
      Greek hands and Markan style (just one of these specialties is a career in
      itself) was so acute. My position is that I am just not as convinced as
      those who claim Stephen has dealt the definitive death blow.

      Regards,

      Jack

      Jack Kilmon
      San Antonio, Texas


      >
      > best,
      > Stephen Goranson
      > http://www.duke.edu/~goranson
    • Jack Kilmon
      ... From: Stephen C. Carlson To: Sent: Thursday, October 26, 2006 10:22 AM Subject: Re: [XTalk]
      Message 2 of 17 , Oct 27, 2006
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "Stephen C. Carlson" <scarlson@...>
        To: <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Thursday, October 26, 2006 10:22 AM
        Subject: Re: [XTalk] Chilton on Carlson & Secret Mark


        > At 09:27 PM 10/25/2006 -0500, Jack Kilmon wrote:
        >>My examination of the fly leaves show a very rapidly...almost
        >>urgent...copying of an exemplar manuscript (probably in an uncial Greek)
        >>into a Phanariot Greek minuscule with all of the flourishes and ligatures
        >>peculiar to the 18th century.
        >
        > Thanks for your comments, Jack. For those on-list who may not
        > be aware of it, Jack's web page about his uncial exemplar
        > hypothesis is found here: http://www.historian.net/smunc.htm
        >
        > A major difficulty I'm having with your idea about an uncial
        > exemplar, Jack, is how could a early modern monastic scribe
        > copy a scriptio continua (no spaces between words) uncial
        > exemplar into a fully accented and word divided minuscule
        > script "very rapidly" without any word division errors or
        > typical confusions of uncial letters (e.g. between E O S).

        That's a valid point, Stephen. I would expect, however, that an 18th
        century Greek scribe whose natural hand was the "flourishy" Phanariot of SM
        could read an uncial mss and just copy away in his minuscule hand.



        > A further difficulty with the idea of a hasty scribe is
        > that the scribe must have expanded common uncial nomina
        > sacra (e.g. IC for name "Jesus") into its full spelling.

        If my natural hand is a minuscule without nomina sacra, as was the
        convention at that time, and I knew what the NS were, I see no problem with
        this.

        > The amount of editorial interventions to produce the text
        > we see in the photographs is irreconcilable with the idea
        > that the scribe was pressed for time.

        Even if his eyes were shifting back and forth from his copy to the original?


        >
        > Also, Smith had a lot of prior experience with 18th century
        > hands, as I documented in my book, so your observation about
        > the peculiarity of the hand would tend to exclude a great
        > number of people as a candidate for the scribe, but not Smith
        > himself.

        As I told Ken and Stephen , you may well be right...and I hope you are not
        offended by my skepticism...maybe I am just stubborn but my paleographer's
        eye is just not yet convinced. Does a 42 year old Smith have these
        abilities? I see a hand that must have taken years to develop. Why would a
        man in the peak of his career jeapardize it? I would like to further explore
        my opinion that the hand is a hurried one. This is an important issue and
        can be the deciding factor for me. The line quality of a hurried hand is
        good. Quality diminishes the slower the hand. There are normally 3 writing
        speeds for the average person using this type of script, which includes
        English). There is a set speed, a facile speed and a rapid speed.. SM
        appears to me, from the photographs, to be between a facile and rapid hand
        because of the line quality, use of accents, apparent quill pressure and the
        Phanariot flourishes. Because SM is a copy requiring the copyist to
        write...stop...look to the exemplar...write again, etc, I would expect quill
        lifts and rests. The person who wrote/copied SM was right handed...what was
        Smith?

        Where is the Voss book now? was there bleed through or offset transfer to
        the boardpaper? It seems to me that a forensic examination of the book
        itself, which I assume is in Jerusalem and was not "lost," could yield some
        information.

        I will say that your research and examination of the photographs is so well
        done and without bias that I am leaning in your direction...I just need more
        for the reasons I have outlined in these communications before concluding
        that Morton Smith was an extremely talented nut and a fraud.


        Best Regards,

        Jack


        Jack Kilmon
        San Antonio



        >
        > Stephen Carlson
        > --
        > Stephen C. Carlson
        > mailto:scarlson@...
        > Weblog:
        > http://www.hypotyposeis.org/weblog/
        > Author of: The Gospel Hoax,
        > http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1932792481
        >
        >
        >
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      • Mike Grondin
        ... STM this is only the case if there is a natural hand tremor due to age or infirmity. Such a tremor would probably result in small jags if writing too
        Message 3 of 17 , Nov 1, 2006
          --- Jack Kilmon wrote:
          > The line quality of a hurried hand is good.
          > Quality diminishes the slower the hand.

          STM this is only the case if there is a natural hand
          tremor due to age or infirmity. Such a tremor would
          probably result in small jags if writing too slowly.
          Not having that problem, however, I find the opposite
          to be true, viz. that the more quickly I write, the
          lower the quality.

          Mike Grondin
        • Bob Schacht
          ... Jack, Do you have evidence for this, or is it just your experienced opinion? It seems like an unlikely over-generalization to me. When writing fast, isn t
          Message 4 of 17 , Nov 1, 2006
            At 09:21 AM 11/1/2006, Mike Grondin wrote:

            >--- Jack Kilmon wrote:
            > > The line quality of a hurried hand is good.
            > > Quality diminishes the slower the hand.

            Jack,
            Do you have evidence for this, or is it just your experienced opinion?
            It seems like an unlikely over-generalization to me. When writing fast,
            isn't there a tendency to do fine on the straightaways, but then tend to
            overshoot the hard turns? Or by "line quality" are you only talking about
            the "straightaways"?


            >STM this is only the case if there is a natural hand
            >tremor due to age or infirmity. Such a tremor would
            >probably result in small jags if writing too slowly.

            True, the straightaways will get more ragged if drawn too slowly.
            Seems to me *confidence* would be a bigger factor.
            Bob


            >Not having that problem, however, I find the opposite
            >to be true, viz. that the more quickly I write, the
            >lower the quality.
            >
            >Mike Grondin
            >
            >


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • David Hindley
            ... From: David Hindley [mailto:dhindley@njassociates.com] Sent: Friday, November 03, 2006 9:30 AM To: crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com Subject: Re: Chilton on
            Message 5 of 17 , Nov 3, 2006
              -----Original Message-----
              From: David Hindley [mailto:dhindley@...]
              Sent: Friday, November 03, 2006 9:30 AM
              To: 'crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com'
              Subject: Re: Chilton on Carlson & Secret Mark

              Ken Olsen said:

              <<It seems that you wish to place the burden of proof on Carlson to prove the non-existence of flow tremors in hurriedly-written 18th century manuscripts. If you wish to falsify Carlson's claims about the tremors, all you have to do is produce counterexamples.>>

              I am not directing this response to you in particular Ken, but if one is making the claim that evidence for tremors almost certainly means forgery (or whatever semantic term we wish to employ for rhetorical effect), and I think Stephen has essentially done so in his book, he *should* include an examination of similar documents for indications of, or lack of, similar tremors. In other words, there has been no control study to compare the manuscript photos against. The fact that a tremor can be an indication of forgery, when other evidence rules out a contrary explanation, does not mean that these tremors prove forgery. This is basic scholarly method, as without controls we are only making allegations.

              I've said it before and I'll say it again, this whole debate about a possible forgery smacks of "advocacy scholarship" and a "will to believe" so strong that almost any argument seems persuasive. What's the argument here, really? "Smith *could* have done it (because he was an evil genius, like the devil himself), so he *must* have done it (because the idea of a Secret Mark, in which Jesus *may* be portrayed as a libertine, is repulsive to our sensibilities)." The unstated assumptions I am picking up are in parentheses.

              Smith might have originally zeroed in on this particular manuscript, in spite of its source (a partial manuscript quotation in a blank book page written in a modern hand), because it could be interpreted to show that a relatively early tradition once existed that supported his already formed opinion that Jesus was a libertine. Yet he ultimately did not press the issue, probably because evidence was not strong enough to really prove anything. He himself noted the letter fragment appeared too good to be true. At best, even if this letter of Clement of Alexandria was genuine, the Gospel which the author quoted may not have been. Remember, it was the supposed Carpocratian version of Secret Mark that said "naked man with naked man", with "Clement" denying that such a passage was in his own Church's version.

              Is it really necessary to kill the messenger to dispose of Secret Mark? It can be disposed of quite nicely on its own merits, without getting ugly.

              Respectfully,

              Dave Hindley
              Cleveland, Ohio USA
            • goranson@duke.edu
              ... Dave, I suggest that your message takes as too small the difference between whether the MS is a copy of a second century text or is a twentieth-century
              Message 6 of 17 , Nov 3, 2006
                Quoting David Hindley <dhindley@...>:

                >
                >
                > -----Original Message-----
                > From: David Hindley [mailto:dhindley@...]
                > Sent: Friday, November 03, 2006 9:30 AM
                > To: 'crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com'
                > Subject: Re: Chilton on Carlson & Secret Mark
                >
                > Ken Olsen said:
                >
                > <<It seems that you wish to place the burden of proof on Carlson to
                > prove the non-existence of flow tremors in hurriedly-written 18th
                > century manuscripts. If you wish to falsify Carlson's claims about
                > the tremors, all you have to do is produce counterexamples.>>
                >
                > I am not directing this response to you in particular Ken, but if one
                > is making the claim that evidence for tremors almost certainly means
                > forgery (or whatever semantic term we wish to employ for rhetorical
                > effect), and I think Stephen has essentially done so in his book, he
                > *should* include an examination of similar documents for indications
                > of, or lack of, similar tremors. In other words, there has been no
                > control study to compare the manuscript photos against. The fact that
                > a tremor can be an indication of forgery, when other evidence rules
                > out a contrary explanation, does not mean that these tremors prove
                > forgery. This is basic scholarly method, as without controls we are
                > only making allegations.
                >
                > I've said it before and I'll say it again, this whole debate about a
                > possible forgery smacks of "advocacy scholarship" and a "will to
                > believe" so strong that almost any argument seems persuasive. What's
                > the argument here, really? "Smith *could* have done it (because he
                > was an evil genius, like the devil himself), so he *must* have done
                > it (because the idea of a Secret Mark, in which Jesus *may* be
                > portrayed as a libertine, is repulsive to our sensibilities)." The
                > unstated assumptions I am picking up are in parentheses.
                >
                > Smith might have originally zeroed in on this particular manuscript,
                > in spite of its source (a partial manuscript quotation in a blank
                > book page written in a modern hand), because it could be interpreted
                > to show that a relatively early tradition once existed that supported
                > his already formed opinion that Jesus was a libertine. Yet he
                > ultimately did not press the issue, probably because evidence was not
                > strong enough to really prove anything. He himself noted the letter
                > fragment appeared too good to be true. At best, even if this letter
                > of Clement of Alexandria was genuine, the Gospel which the author
                > quoted may not have been. Remember, it was the supposed Carpocratian
                > version of Secret Mark that said "naked man with naked man", with
                > "Clement" denying that such a passage was in his own Church's version.
                >
                > Is it really necessary to kill the messenger to dispose of Secret
                > Mark? It can be disposed of quite nicely on its own merits, without
                > getting ugly.
                >
                > Respectfully,
                >
                > Dave Hindley
                > Cleveland, Ohio USA

                Dave,
                I suggest that your message takes as too small the difference between whether
                the MS is a copy of a second century text or is a twentieth-century
                misdirected
                composition. If historians do not address that difference, whether for fear of
                being charged with "getting ugly" or "kill[ing]" or for some other reason,
                would that seem good to you? Or perhaps I misunderstand your
                recommendation. If
                it is (to skip the fake/forgery/hoax/fraud choice) bogus, shouldn't that be
                shown and known?
                Stephen Goranson
                http://www.duke.edu/~goranson
              • Stephen C. Carlson
                ... Actually, in my book, I specifically compared the photos of Smith s MS against three manuscripts from Mar Saba: Sabas 452, 518, and 523 (See FIGS. 2A, 2B,
                Message 7 of 17 , Nov 3, 2006
                  At 09:36 AM 11/3/2006 -0500, David Hindley wrote:
                  >I am not directing this response to you in particular Ken, but if one is
                  >making the claim that evidence for tremors almost certainly means forgery
                  >(or whatever semantic term we wish to employ for rhetorical effect), and I
                  >think Stephen has essentially done so in his book, he *should* include an
                  >examination of similar documents for indications of, or lack of, similar
                  >tremors. In other words, there has been no control study to compare the
                  >manuscript photos against. The fact that a tremor can be an indication of
                  >forgery, when other evidence rules out a contrary explanation, does not mean
                  >that these tremors prove forgery. This is basic scholarly method, as without
                  >controls we are only making allegations.

                  Actually, in my book, I specifically compared the photos of Smith's MS
                  against three manuscripts from Mar Saba: Sabas 452, 518, and 523 (See
                  FIGS. 2A, 2B, and 2C, respectively).

                  Stephen Carlson
                  --
                  Stephen C. Carlson mailto:scarlson@...
                  Weblog: http://www.hypotyposeis.org/weblog/
                  Author of: The Gospel Hoax, http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1932792481
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