A Handwriting Expert Weighs In
Did Morton Smith Forge “Secret Mark”?
Biblical Archaeology Society Staff
October 14, 2009
Back to Did Morton Smith Forge “Secret Mark”?
The controversial text that Smith discovered was a Greek manuscript written on the endpages of a 17th-century book. The apparently 18th-century handwriting recorded a copy of a previously unknown letter from Clement of Alexandria to someone named Theodore.
Despite the scores of articles and books that have been written on the question of forgery in the case of “Secret Mark,” no one has bothered to consult a handwriting expert in the language in which the alleged forged letter is written: Greek. To Morton Smith’s detractors, that was apparently unnecessary. According to critic Bart Ehrman, “With any skill at all, and a little practice,” it would be easy for Smith to learn to fake the 18th-century handwriting in which the Clement letter is written. Yet no one ever followed through by consulting a Greek handwriting expert.
has now done so.
Venetia Anastasopoulou is a prominent handwriting expert living in Athens who has frequently testified in Greek courts. BAR
retained her to compare the handwriting in which the Clement letter was written with Greek handwriting known to be Smith’s. She is a member of the National Association of Document Examiners (U.S.A.) and the International Graphology Association (U.K.). She holds a Certificate in Forensic Sciences from the University of Lancashire (U.K.) and a diploma in Handwriting Analysis from the International Graphology Association (U.K.).
Anastasopoulou compares numerous letters, parts of letters and words in the Clement letter with Smith’s Greek handwriting in her 36-page report. We are offering the entire document here for those sufficiently familiar with Greek handwriting to understand and appreciate her examination.
Click here to download Venetia Anastasopoulou’s report.