It would be great if you went to Smith College and read the material yourself.
It occasionally overreaches, claiming certainty about QQs state of mind.
It occasionally betrays the authors' preference for authenticity rather than
fakery. E.g., footnote one: "Smith's visit and discovery."
Well Smith did 'visit' the monastery and made a 'discovery.' To state anything beyond that would be to betray partiality to one side or the other. Since you like Tselikas's report so much here is how characterized the situation - "The letter was accompanied with a newspaper clipping from where was announced the discovery of the Clement’s letter."
No mention of A. Tselikas' different view.
and then you (half) cite Tselikas's view:
-the claim by asserting that Smith likely did smuggle the Voss
book in, already inscribed.
But let's cite his published view. He begins by noting the facts:
Morton Smith has certainly earned the trust of the abbot during his stay in the monastery, in the first as in the second time.
Ok and then another fact:
"But to move freely in the library and use the edition of Ignatius to copy the Clement’s letter I find it impossible."
This was corroborated by QQ in our phone conversations and other witnesses including Dragas. I've asked Tselikas to confirm this and he did numerous times. There was no freedom for outsiders in the library. That's the fact. That was how it was. But surely the text is a forgery. It says things that have never been said before. How are these things reconciled? This is where speculation begins which needs to be rationalized against the basic situation on the ground. So Tselikas goes on to write
Most convincing is that the edition of Ignatius with the letter already written by Morton Smith or by someone else was placed in the library by Morton Smith himself
How does this statement reconcile itself with the lack of freedom. That's why Tselikas can't come out and say that Smith smuggled the book in. He wants to say it but has to introduce the conspiracy because of the lack of movement. So again later:
all the evidences suggest that the forger can not be other person than Morton Smith or some other person under his orders.
How does anyone reasonably reconcile the report about the actual situation on the ground - viz. that there was no freedom of movement? Tselikas only mouths the official position of the monastery (in which he has an office and is granted freedom of movement in this and every monastery). "... some other person under his orders. " Come on.
I correspond regularly (or at least used to) with Tselikas ('Memos') through his closest and dearest friend Harry Tzalas. He was the first person to receive the article and he actively contributed to my research. He was consulted not only for the development of the article but for years leading up to it. I don't know whether I can reveal personal correspondences but he was consulted throughout. I've also spoken numerous times to the Patriarchate. Father Aristarchos speaks fluent English and almost inevitably any discussion about the manuscript - no matter how technical the question - reverts back to the question of (a) the Orthodox Creed viz. 'do you believe in the sanctity of our faith ...' or (b) 'why are you so interested in this document, you must be gay, trying to destroy the Church' etc. I mean this isn't a scientific institution.
The facts are what QQ wrote in his notes which are a certain gauge for what he was thinking at the time of the discovery. There is at least one statement in there from memory that he was being closely watched at all times he had books in his possession. Dourvas at least seems to come across as favorable to authenticity from the notes. I guess I can provide one example of how I worked with Tselikas for research in the article. You fail to mention that there is a lot of new research that went into making the paper and a lot of stuff that was left on the cutting room floor so to speak. An example. George Dragas http://www.hchc.edu/academics/holycross_faculty/dragas
was very amicable up until the moment it was revealed I did not think the document was a forgery. He is quite friendly with Dourvas and considers him a good friend and a 'man of deep faith.' We had at least two conversations where Dragas claimed that he was in Jerusalem or might have been in Jerusalem (the first conversation) when an American (whom he presumed was QQ) was kicking up a fuss about this manuscript. When he told me the full story (assuming it was indeed QQ and Mar Saba 65) he said Dourvas accepted the manuscript's authenticity and was tired of coming and going fetching books for the obnoxious American.
Now I only made contact with Dragas once the article had already been basically put to bed. At some point his attitude toward helping me changed and he never answered any of my phone calls so the information was not included in the article. However it is worth noting some important lines of future research. I arranged an interview with Meliton the librarian who moved the document with Stroumsa and the other Israeli scholars. He is now a metropolitan bishop in Athens. The most interesting thing is that he alludes to the 'interest' that the general secretary at the time now 'Theophanes Archbishop of Gerasa (nee Theodosios Chasapakis) had in the document. He graduated from Durham University with an MA in Patristic Theology - his teacher was Dragas.
This Theophanes is alive I believe and living in Jerusalem. The title 'Archbishop of Gerasa' is honorific. He lives in Jerusalem:
http://www.jerusalem-patriarchate.info/ ... %BF%CE%B92
some interesting notes to his CV - "1981 was sent for Higher Studies at the University of Durham, England, holds the degree of Master in Patristic theology." Even though he went to school in Durham he likely came back to Jerusalem when Dragas was there.
In any event that didn't make the article nor did my efforts to interview Meliton the librarian before Dourvas who moved the document from Mar Saba to Jerusalem. In any event, the point here is that years of research went into this paper. I took advantage of the technological advancements over the last 20 years where long distance costs have been dramatically reduced and actually spoke to living people about what might still be a living text. I know the preferred method in this field is to reproduced books without end and at least from outside it seems too much driven by an effort to seem clever.
Rather than being clever or perhaps because I am not that intelligent I approached matters like Papias whom Eusebius said was stupid and tried to actually make contact with as many living witnesses to this document and this story as possible. How was this accomplished? Over the telephone. Let me cite verbatim 'the report' that Memos provided for me translated into English by our mutual friend Harry dated 5/22/15 in my gmail account:
Memos finally reached Meliton Mitropolites Marathon over the telephone while I was at the Centre of Paleography intending to arrange a meeting. I must stress that Meliton has now only a honorific Metropolis and in fact has no office or church of his responsibility. He goes from time to time to the Metropolis church of Akademias Platonos in central Athens. So he was speaking from his home.
Meliton was very kind to Memos, he knew of him and was in a way embarrassed as to where we could all meet. At that point he asked Memos if the reason of the meeting was related to “the lost pages of the Ossiou Sabba” manuscript!!!. So obviously the Bishop is aware of the research Memos has done some years ago in the Jerusalem Patriarchal Library. Memo said yes and also mentioned my interest in finding out about the faith of the lost manuscript.
Very kindly Meliton said “ …of course I will be pleased to meet you both but let me state right away that I have left Jerusalem since 1986 and I have no idea of what happened to the lost pages”. He added: “When I was at the Jerusalem Patriarchate a few years before leaving for Greece, I was asked to accompany some Jewish scholars who were interested in that particular book that contained the manuscript pages. So as instructed I went to Ossios Sabba took the book –checked that the manuscript pages were in it—and returned to the Patriarchal Library in Jerusalem and delivered the book to the Kallistos [Dourvas], the responsible person for the Library. Theophanis, the Head-Secretary (Archigramateas) was also interested in the book, he is now Bishop of Jerash. I know that when I left Jerusalem the pages were no more in the book, but I have no idea of where they may be or who has separated them from the book. Kallistos is now somewhere in Northern Greece. That is all what I know and when and if we meet I will have nothing more to add”.
I was listening at the conversation on a “conference line” and my impression is that Meliton was saying what he knew, there was no hesitation in his voice it was the voice of a person who knew well a story that had been repeated again and again.
I also know where Dourvas is - or was in 2015 - and tried to contact him too. But this 'telephone research' is how this article came together. I tried to act responsibly - not including evidence that could not be verified or where I wasn't sure that the person really knew what he claimed to know. I did not include Dragas's testimony even though it was quite fascinating simply because it seemed too good to be true and I wasn't able to corroborate that testimony a second time.
In the case of Harry's testimony we operated in a very similar fashion. The nature of technology now allows us to focus our research on the manuscript as a 'living entity' rather than strictly limit ourselves to 'things said about the manuscript.' Of course QQ's written testimony was the focus of the paper but I had the advantage of a numerous discussions with the professor in the final years of his life - some, where I like Harry was an acknowledged participant taking a mostly taking a passive role in the conversation (when Timo was conducting the questioning) - later as the questioner and he the respondent.
I tried to make the paper centrally focused on his papers but of course supplemented that research with my own telephone conversations and those of my associated - namely those of Daniel, Harry and of course Tselikas. I can't tell you the number of conversations I had over the course of the preparation of the paper. I called Dourvas in Sappes. I called Dragas. I called the Patriarchate. I spoke to the Jerusalem University. To Magen Broshi. To Koester. All involved with producing Jesus the Evidence. I tried to track down the exact date of Koester's presentation on Secret Mark. Sometimes emails were involved but mostly phone conversations.
The amount of research that I have conducted on this subject is exhaustive but every step along the way Tselikas has been consulted and involved - practically since 2012 (or at least that's as far back as I can remember). I tried to make the article as objective as possible. I am sorry if you feel that I should have referred to the text as Smith's 'purported discovery' but Tselikas refers to the text simply as 'Smith's discovery' also. I really recommend that you read the notes at Smith College yourself.