report: doctoral dissertation on "secret gospel" claims not a fake

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andrewcriddle
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Re: report: doctoral dissertation on "secret gospel" claims not a fake

Post by andrewcriddle » Mon May 27, 2019 3:58 am

StephenGoranson wrote:
Mon May 27, 2019 3:23 am
https://phys.org/news/2019-05-doctoral- ... -fake.html
by Timo Paananen, U. Helsinki
The author appears convinced that the text is ancient, but less certain that it is by Clement of Alexandria. This may be problematic. If one admits that the evidence linking the letter to Clement is weak then the prima-facie evidence for antiquity is weak.

Andrew Criddle

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DCHindley
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Re: report: doctoral dissertation on "secret gospel" claims not a fake

Post by DCHindley » Mon May 27, 2019 7:00 am

andrewcriddle wrote:
Mon May 27, 2019 3:58 am
StephenGoranson wrote:
Mon May 27, 2019 3:23 am
https://phys.org/news/2019-05-doctoral- ... -fake.html
by Timo Paananen, U. Helsinki
The author appears convinced that the text is ancient, but less certain that it is by Clement of Alexandria. This may be problematic. If one admits that the evidence linking the letter to Clement is weak then the prima-facie evidence for antiquity is weak.

Andrew Criddle
By that line of reasoning, all pseudepigrapha is "modern." If it is actually a case of a "secret gospel" used by the elites in the Christian church(es) of Alexandria, we do not know if Clement is correct to attribute it to Mark the interpreter of Peter.

A) Clement of A. actually wrote this letter,
1) He used a genuine document, a "Secret" version of the gospel of Mark used by his church
2) He used a pseudepigraphic document Clement of A believed was a genuine.

B) Someone other than Clement wrote the letter (another christian from Alexandria, or a gnostic), somewhere up to, say, 500-600 CE.
1) He used a genuine document, a "Secret" version of the gospel of Mark used by his church
2) He used a pseudepigraphic document Clement of A believed was a genuine.
3) He made it all up as part of a back story to mask the fact that he was not Clement.

C) Someone from Medieval or even more modern times wrote the letter,
1) He used a genuine document, a "Secret" version of the gospel of Mark
2) He used a pseudepigraphic document Clement of A believed was a genuine.
3) He made it all up just like he made up the letter.

I am not at all convinced that A is correct. There should be traces of it in Authors such as Origen, and to my knowledge there aren't.

IMO, B is possible, and if so, it joins the ranks of Christian Pseudepigrapha, like the Clementine Homilies/Recognitions. Since in the case of the Clementines, pseudo-letters of James, etc., are either affixed to the Clementine document as "prefaces," or alluded to in the text, I can agree that one of the B options are definitely possible in the case here.

I know you are fairly convinced that scenario C.3 was the case, perhaps Smith faked it as a spoof. While certainly a possibility, it is hardly a certainty. Carlson's argument that Morton Smith had to have written it because of silly puns he teased out of it on the flimsiest of evidence, "proves" that M Smith hinted that he himself wrote it, because he is "bald swindler." I expressed this opinion even before Hoax was published, as I was given a look at the galley proofs, calling it a "hatchet job." My feeling is that those who jumped on Carlson's bandwagon, probably due to unease over real or imagined implications of a naked initiation rite described in "Secret Mark," engaged in a knee-jerk reactionary response to it at best, not a scholarly one, and should be ashamed of themselves in hindsight.

However, as you know, the traces of late 19th century CE theosophy and medieval Kabbalah mysticism popular in the 19th century, suggest to me a theosophic oriented critic of that time. While I've offered up G R S Mead as the author, there were others intimately familiar with Orthodox traditions who could also be candidates.

I cannot explain how such a thing, possibly a mere whimsical/fictional composition, would have ended up in a remote monastery. I'll only note that it was not in the monastery's main library, which had been moved to Jerusalem and/or Constantinople some time before then, but found in an auxiliary library open to perusal by visitors.

A qualified traveler could have left the old tattered Voss edition of the Ignatian epistles there intentionally for another equally qualified specific traveler to find, as a kind of joke played on that fellow traveler. It was somewhat out of place in the library in which it was found. Perhaps the Voss edition actually belonged to the intended recipient, stolen or otherwise, and used as a kind of bait.

It's resonant with the kind of academic tit for tat that went on between Constantin von Tischendorf and Constantine Simonides. I'd say Simonides left it for Tischendorf to find, but he never had the opportunity to take the bait. (I can be whimsical as well I suppose ... :whistling: )

DCH

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Secret Alias
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Re: report: doctoral dissertation on "secret gospel" claims not a fake

Post by Secret Alias » Mon May 27, 2019 7:25 am

My position is that even if it were a fake we don't have the experts who could definitively prove that it was one. This isn't what university professors are qualified to do. As such we have one group of 'experts' with one hunch and another group with another 'hunch.' Split the difference, tie goes to the text. Move on.
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
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StephenGoranson
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Re: report: doctoral dissertation on "secret gospel" claims not a fake

Post by StephenGoranson » Tue May 28, 2019 1:55 am

a) I have not read the new dissertation. The news report doesn't offer much actually new (that is, that T. P. hasn't written before), other than that the dissertation exists. But perhaps it has new content. I would read it if it becomes freely available.
b) To DCH, for what it's worth, Michael Zeddies claims--though I'm not persuaded--that there are indeed traces of Origen in it.
"Did Origen Write the Letter to Theodore?" By: Zeddies, Michael T. Source: Journal of Early Christian Studies, 25 no 1 Spr 2017, p 55-87.
c) Yes, Smith could have brought the inscribed Voss book with him to Mar Saba. Maybe did, with previous owner marks removed.
d) Prof. Smith did have a characteristic style of humor. By the way, R. Morton Smith (Harvard class of 1936) wrote his senior English honors paper on a subject involving humor: "The Influence of Arbothnot upon Swift."

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Secret Alias
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Re: report: doctoral dissertation on "secret gospel" claims not a fake

Post by Secret Alias » Tue May 28, 2019 2:20 am

The fact that there is no cover page is unlikely to figure as a "clue." Even more unlikely than Smith's given name and a certain salt company. Seriously the worst argument EVER in this controversy.

The same likelihood that Smith forged it that Quesnell stole it. Why? As an extension of his efforts to debunk it, disprove it. That's the same level of plausibility. Just make shit up and find people who support your invention.

Have you seen Quesnell's photo of the book's spine? There are printed pages used as binding - perhaps indicative of the monks rebonding the book. It interested
QQ enough to photograph it. FWIW They could prove the book's presence in the desert by the parasites on the remaining portion of the book. They can be dated, examined. They either are or aren't the kind found in the desert. Oh wait, you guys will say Smith bought a book from the Judean desert. That guy thinks of everything ...
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

StephenGoranson
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Re: report: doctoral dissertation on "secret gospel" claims not a fake

Post by StephenGoranson » Tue May 28, 2019 3:10 am

I suggest that if QQ did not return the book, the librarian would have noticed, so perhaps in this case it is not the same level of probability.
Yes I saw his photos. Thanks. The usual ownership-marking places (spine and title page) were missing.
I am not opposed to testing. It may be fair to say that I have encouraged testing, for example, in my "Radiocarbon Dating the Dead Sea Scrolls," Biblical Archaeologist 54 (Sept. 1991) 172.

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Re: report: doctoral dissertation on "secret gospel" claims not a fake

Post by Secret Alias » Tue May 28, 2019 6:24 am

No you're not getting it. There are bits of printed text in the spine. Like reused pages of a printed book as part of the binding/rebinding. I am not sure if the low resolution copy of the journal article made that clear. QQ found that interesting enough to ask Garo to photograph it.
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

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Secret Alias
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Re: report: doctoral dissertation on "secret gospel" claims not a fake

Post by Secret Alias » Tue May 28, 2019 6:30 am

And with respect to QQ being the last to handle the document, it's just as "suspicion raising" as Smith being the first to discover it. If the text was "killed" it was murdered by someone who didn't "like" it. If it was a murder case QQ would clearly been identified as " a person of interest" someone that had "motive." The person who destroyed the document wanted it dead. The official position of the Patriarchate recently is that the text was never part of the library (cf Tselikas). Why does it necessarily follow that if QQ stole the document with the intention of destroying it they would have called Interpol? Not a chance. It would have been "good riddance!"

Funny how you don't like it when this idiotic approach is turned around on you. If Smith had kids they would have spoken out about your advocating slanderous lines of reasoning. But as it is there is the same stupid possibility that one planted it, than the other destroyed it. It's like Holmes and Moriarty wrestling with one another falling off a cliff. Take your pick
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

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Re: report: doctoral dissertation on "secret gospel" claims not a fake

Post by Secret Alias » Tue May 28, 2019 6:42 am

And I am not saying QQ stole or destroyed the document. I am saying the Smith forgery hypothesis is based on taking advantage of unknowns. The same works either way. QQ never had kids. Catholic priests are often gay. Maybe he was bisexual. No proof he and his wife ever had sex. Smith went on dates, had affairs. What's the difference? You just line up the facts in one way to shape your preferred way of seeing things. But the same meaningless appropriation of random facts can work on behalf of another equally silly hypothesis.
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

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