Over fifty years ago, Columbia University professor Morton Smith discoverd a previously unknown letter from Clement of Alexandria, a second-century church father, which contained passages of a lost “secret” gospel of Mark. A debate over the authenticity of this document continues to this day.
Did Smith forge the famous Clement letter containing two passages from a secret and different copy of the Gospel of Mark? A number of scholars have concluded, on inadequate grounds in our view, that Smith was a forger. In a four-part treatment, including contributions by eminent New Testament scholars Helmut Koester and Charles Hedrick, BAR concluded that Smith, now dead, was innocent. BAR has also engaged a handwriting expert to compare the handwriting in which the Clement letter was written with Greek handwriting known to be Smith’s, as well as an eminent Greek paleographer to assess whether the handwriting of the Clement letter is in an authentic 18th-century Greek script.
Explore below Morton Smith’s translation of “Secret Mark,” expert handwriting analyses, responses to the handwriting analysis reports, and continuing debates over the authenticity of the document.
|• Translation of “Secret Mark”||• Scott Brown: My Thoughts on the Reports by Venetia Anastasopoulou|
Stephen Carlson declined our invitation to respond.