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1205S. Carlson on M. Smith's "Gospel Hoax"

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  • goranson@duke.edu
    Oct 5, 2005
      If I may, I commend _The Gospel Hoax: Morton Smith's Invention of _Secret Mark__
      by Stephen C. Carlson (Baylor U. Press, Nov. 2005). Carlson present multiple,
      confluent arguments pointing to Smith as the likely creator of a hoax, creating
      a claimed 18th-century ms, supposedly a letter of Clement that quoted a secret
      gospel. I have just read it. I had doubts here and there about the case, and
      various questions remain, and, though scholars who still wish to defend the ms
      as genuine (18th-c.) surely should be heard, at the moment, the chances of
      vindicating "Secret Mark" appear to me almost vanishingly small.

      Smith was so learned. And, notwithstanding his cutting language, very generous
      with his time, e.g., reading and commenting on papers sent to him. He had an
      appreciation of theatre. And his 1982 HTR "Clement of Alexandria and Secret
      Mark: The Score at the End of a Decade" certainly showed a sense of play. Why?
      If he did, how could he lie to Scholem? Did Fitzmyer notice a clue to a hoax
      years ago?

      In any case, in my view, this book is a fine contribution to learning.

      Stephen Goranson
      "Jannaeus, His Brother Absalom, and Judah the Essene"
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