I wish I could have attended this today: The York University Christian Apocrypha Symposium Series on “Secret Mark” (program available here). Announcements for the conference were made here, here, here, here and here. For those who have never heard of “Secret Mark”, the controvery surrounds the purported discovery by Morton Smith of a manuscript in the Mar Saba monastery in 1958. Copied onto a 17th century book on the works of Ignatius was a letter attributed to Clement of Alexandria and written to Theodore. The text alleges that the evangelist Mark wrote a second, esoteric edition of his Gospel in Alexandria, but Clement also denounces the Carpocratians for adding to and misusing this “secret (or mystic) gospel.” The excerpts given seem to provide a back story to the young man in the linen garment who flees in the garden in Mark 14:51 (Secret Mark claims Jesus raised this young man and he was later instructed at night about the mystery of the Kingdom of God) and appears to be an alternate (earlier?) version of the resurrection of Lazarus in John 11. To learn more about the debate over whether the text is authentic (and if so, was the secret gospel part of an earlier edition of Mark that was edited out of the final canonical version, written after our canonical Mark but by the same author, or a later second century pastiche of the gospels?) or an ancient or modern forgery, see the english translations online (or see Scott Brown’s translation in Mark’s Other Gospel, xvii-xxii available on google preview) and a short bibliography below to introduce the main contours of the debate.
- Brown, Scott G. Mark’s Other Gospel: Rethinking Morton’s Smith Controversial Discovery. ESCJ 15; Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2005.
- Carlson, Stephen C. The Gospel Hoax: Morton Smith’s Invention of Secret Mark. Waco:BaylorUniversity Press, 2005. One of the first of the bibliobloggers, Stephen Carlson blogs at Hypotyposeis.
- Crossan, John Dominic. Four Other Gospels: Shadows on the Contours of Canon. Mineapolis, Chicago, New York: Winston Press, 1985.
- Ehrman, Bart. “Response to Charles Hedrick’s Stalemate.” Journal of Early Christian Studies 11.2 (2003) 155-163
- Hedrick, Charles W. “The Secret Gospel of Mark: Stalemate in the Academia.” Journal of Early Christian Studies 11.2 (2003) 133-145.
- Jeffery, Peter. The Secret Gospel of Mark Unveiled: Imagined Rituals of Sex, Death, and Madness in a Biblical Forgery. New Haven andLondon:Yale University Press, 2007. (and accompanying website to the book here)
- Koester, Helmut. Ancient Christian Gospels: Their History and Development. London: SCM;Philadelphia: Trinity International, 1990.
- Mullins, Terence Y. “Papias and Clement and Mark’s Two Gospels.” Vigiliae Christianae 30 (1976): 189-92
- Pantuck, Allan J. and Brown, Scott G. “Morton Smith as M. Madiotes: Stephen Carlson’s Attribution of Secret Mark to a Bald Swindler” Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus 6 (2008): 106-125.
- Smith, Morton. Clement of Alexandria and a Secret Gospel of Mark. Cambridge:HarvardUniversity Press, 1973.
- . “Clement of Alexandria and Secret Mark: The Score at the End of the First Decade.” Harvard Theological Review 75 (1982): 449-461.
- Watson, Francis. “Beyond Suspicion: on the Authorship of the Mar Saba Letter and the Secret Gospel of Mark,” Journal of Theological Studies 61 (2010): 128-170.
- See also the Handwriting Analysis Report for BAR by Agamemnon Tselikas, which comes to very different conclusions on the authenticity question than the other expert Venetia Anastasopoulou
For further bibliography, check out the blog of Timo S. Paananen which features a number of helpful posts on Secret Mark.