Friday, May 13, 2005

More Secret Mark

Michael Pahl has more on Secret Mark: Both Sides of Secret Mark . The new article on to which Michael is referring is here (via Bible and Interpretation):

Mark's secret gospel
What does a contested text say about Jesus, gay sex and baptism?

It features an account of the public spat between Jacob Neusner and Morton Smith (cf. Jim West's excerpt on Biblical Theology). The catalyst for the article is the new book by Scott Brown, Mark's Other Gospel. Unlike Stephen Carlson, Brown does not think that Clement's letter is a forgery. Indeed, he thinks that the letter is genuine and that it quotes part of a genuine expanded edition of Mark, the "Mark's Other Gospel" of the title. Wilfred Wilfrid Laurier University Press, who published Brown's book last week, have a ringing endorsement from John Kloppenborg, in the light of which it will be interesting to hear what Brown and Kloppenborg make of Stephen Carlson's book. Having read Stephen's manuscript, I would say that the case is so strong that I would be very surprised if anyone will still seriously be able to maintain that Clement's Letter to Theodore (and Secret Mark) is not a forgery.

Wilfred Wilfrid Laurier Press also feature a short interview with Brown:

Interview with Scott G. Brown
Mark's Other Gospel
. . . . There's no reason to suspect forgery. I strongly doubt that someone other than Mark wrote this text because it accords with Markan theology (imitators have their own agendas), elucidates some long-standing enigmas in the canonical gospel, and uses literary techniques that are distinctively Markan yet were not noted by scholars of Mark prior to Smith's discovery of the letter . . . .
Brown is even more forthright in the article cited above:
"Even close up, on the ground, I couldn't see the forgery. The gospel incident quoted in Clement's letter reflects a profound comprehension of Mark's literary techniques -- subtle matters of composition that experts had not yet realized when the letter was discovered."
I suppose that my concern with that would be that it does not require "profound comprehension of Mark's literary techniques" by experts in general, but by just one of them. My own impression of the man is that he had a brilliant mind and certainly the erudition necessary to see things others did not. One should not underestimate Morton Smith.


theswain said...

I'd like to read the book, but from what I've read so far I'm not impressed. Anyone who has studied the gospel of Mark, or for that matter has studied European literature, can imitate Mark, or any other text for that matter. And wasn't Smith's MDiv project on Mark?

Phil Harland said...

WilfrId (with an i) Laurier. A common mistake, even among some Canadians;)