stephan happy huller wrote: ↑
Thu Dec 19, 2013 9:53 am
I wrote a blog post that I won't even link here (it's nothing special) comparing the arguments for Secret Mark being a 'hoax' and those in favor of mythicism and came to the conclusion that there were uncanny parallels. Isn't the strongest argument in favor of Secret Mark being a fake the parallels with the Hunter pulp fiction book? To me that is remarkably similar to the central mythicist claim in the blogosphere that Jesus is Mithras because of parallels between the two traditions. Why is one theory respectable among respected authorities and the other 'ridiculous' among the same figures when the arguments are really the same (i.e. weak parallels, similarities, coincidences etc)?
I guess a stronger argument is that he published on related topics in the decade before his find, like his religious writings: on homosexuality, on debates over whether Clement of Alexandria taught people to use dishonesty for religious purposes (1949), on Clement of Alexandria and mysteries, on the mysteries, the kingdom of God and forbidden sexuality. And then he went on to write a book that was unsettling to Christianity, "Jesus the Magician". I'd have to check how much the book's portrayal of Jesus resembled that in Secret Mark, but I would expect there was similarity.
If there was a much stronger case for Mythicism on Jesus' non-existence, I think that the Mithras claims would be given more weight. But I am inclined to think that there is so much emphasis overtly on Jewish tradition, that there is enough in Judaism to serve the basis for creating a Jesus character without relying on pagan myths like Mithras.
With Secret Mark however, the parallels involve known coincidences with Morton Smith's own interests and views. For example, if an anti-Buddhist archeologist who had shown a prior and subsequent interest in Buddha's sexuality claimed to discover lost documents embarrassing to Buddha's sexuality, one would tend to look askance more at the newly "found" anti-Buddhist documents.
To give an analogy, if we knew that Nazareth and Galilee was a hotbed of mithraic activity, or that Jesus and his disciples were converts from Mithraism, one would be more likely
to see a relationship between Christianity's origins and Mithraism. There is a direct preexisting known relationship between Morton Smith and the ideas found in Secret Mark, whereas with Jesus and the gospel writers, one can at most infer a relationship to Mithraism based on similarities.