Did Morton salt Mar Saba?

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StephenGoranson
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Did Morton salt Mar Saba?

Post by StephenGoranson » Mon Nov 23, 2020 7:34 am

There’s no consensus yet, but it may be, partly by unintended consequence, slowly arriving.
Geoffrey Smith recently showed persuasively (in LMWsymposium.com) that the letter by “Clement” (his quotation marks) was composed sometime after Eusebius’ History, so not by Clement. And, I add, if Clement of Alexandria disappears from this, likely so does the Secret Mark of Alexandria—apparently not known to Origen, nor anyone else, before Morton Smith. Geoffrey Smith, and co-author Brent Landau--who dismissed some proposals, but only some targets easier to caricature, not Smith seen in full (e.g., his humor)--propose it was written after Eusebius but before Morton Smith. Yet Michael Zeddies has demonstrated (JECS 2007; HTR 2009) that a very detailed revisionist setting can be argued, even if not finally persuasively. But Origen (Zeddies’ choice) stated that he had not met Carpocratians (correcting Harpocratians with Henry Chadwick and an assist from A. D. Nock; c. Cels. 5.65). Origen was not trickily addressing dead Celsus, an option M.S. offered in a 1984ff article (see below), but addressing his contemporary Christians, including patron Ambrose. Post Eusebius, Carpocratians were likely extinct; Epiphanius had to content himself for his disdain by quoting earlier writers. M. S. found in them a parallel to a version of Sabbatai Sevi’s tikkun, though Scholem demurred. Who else had similar motive? A forthcoming book (Yale UP) may attempt to answer that. After Origen and after Eusebius, Clement’s reputation was diminished by guilt by association with Origen—perhaps not a great pseudepigraphic pick to allege a Secret Gospel.
Morton Smith in a detailed article in JTS archive (box 10, folder 1), unpublished (though marked up for publishing), perhaps intended to be “the Score” after two decades, brazened it out, saying, in effect, of course this was Clement. Never you mind that the language is hyper-Clementonian and the content is non-Clementite, because the letter is his secret writing, as opposed to his other writing that Morton Smith repeatedly characterized as his writing in public. So difference to be expected, see? It does not take super imagination to find a subtext not far to seek: this is Clement, fools, because I wrote it as Clement! (More sermons by Augustine discovered in a Mainz library did not have changed doctrine.)
Some of his students, even without including Neusner, apparently think he was capable. At least one scholar Smith listed as accepting Clement authorship has denied that.
To say (with Brent Landau) that Smith was “ethical’ by leaving the book at Mar Saba begs the question whether he planted it there, pre-inscribed.
So far the most detailed paleographic publication is by Agamemnon Tselikas. Voss page 11 had ink and pen tests (Greek). (Minor note: Latin text used in the binding.) Book Provenance indications were ripped away.
Did M. S., as has been suggested, have an accomplice? I doubt the few available expert suspects would trust Smith nor he them. Not to deny as possible, though, that he may have practiced other writing and been critiqued by an expert or two, unaware of the real purpose. (Compare, in admittedly quite different and worse context, those who trained as pilots, only to crash planes).
M. S. of Philadelphia, if I remember, though I’ve lost the reference (anyone know?) deposited a “manufactured in the United States” 1958 neat fair copy of his with a named Philadelphia bookdealer. Quite speculative: is that from whom he bought 1646 Voss? Of course, not the final word. Corrections welcome.

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Secret Alias
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Re: Did Morton salt Mar Saba?

Post by Secret Alias » Mon Nov 23, 2020 11:50 am

A lot of this reminds me of arguments on behalf of Trump's post-election efforts. Morton Smith found a book in the library with cursive writing. There are lots of these books in Greek libraries. You're a librarian. You know that this part of the proposition is not impossible. He left the book at the library as did Quesnell. Nothing strange there. Why do you make this more complicated than what it is. If it is a forgery Smith is one of many candidates to consider. But there is no slam dunk here. Just like the Trump lawyers you guys keep going round and round, year after year with this 'it's a forgery if only we find the smoking gun' type arguments. It grows tiring after awhile. Of course you might be right. There may emerge a smoking gun after all just as with Trump I can't claim that they won't find something in their fishing expeditions. But come on, there has to be a statute of limitations on gossip mongering.

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Secret Alias
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Re: Did Morton salt Mar Saba?

Post by Secret Alias » Mon Nov 23, 2020 11:51 am

Just tell me how different fifty years of this forgery nonsense is different from Trump's post-election efforts and I will be happy. At least Trump provides us with another example, another comparison of obsessive partisans putting the cart before the horse.

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Secret Alias
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Re: Did Morton salt Mar Saba?

Post by Secret Alias » Mon Nov 23, 2020 11:57 am

And one more thing. Let's grant the low probability that one of these individual conspiracy theorist scholars might have uncovered something. But what you are doing is even less likely - i.e. bundling together a number of low probability conspiracy theories into a meta-narrative. Surely you'd have to admit the probability diminishes when you put forward a Sabbatean (Smith was not Sabatean) gay (no evidence for Smith's homosexuality) criminal (no evidence for Smith's criminality) professor and an accomplice (no evidence for a conspiracy) etc. Maybe one of the conspiracy theorist is right but many of them? Come on this approach is even worse.

Like https://apnews.com/article/astrazeneca- ... dc002ff028
The AstraZeneca trial looked at two different dosing regimens. A half-dose of the vaccine followed by a full dose at least one month later was 90% effective. Another approach, giving patients two full doses one month apart, was 62% effective. That means that, overall, when both ways of dosing are considered, the vaccine showed an efficacy rate of 70%.
What odds do we give that Smith was a Sabbatean with no actual evidence of such? 10%? That he was gay? That he had an accomplice? See where I am going with this?

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Secret Alias
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Re: Did Morton salt Mar Saba?

Post by Secret Alias » Mon Nov 23, 2020 12:07 pm

And I am more curious - to continue the Trump analogy - what makes an otherwise intelligent person grab on to so many half-baked theories to disprove the authenticity of this discovery? It's enough to just say 'it doesn't pass the smell test FOR ME' or 'I am personally not convinced of its authenticity.' Fine. No one can argue with that. I think Acts is a second century forgery. Everyone has these sorts of beliefs, feelings etc. But to spend so much time grabbing on to any and every published paper on the subject of a debatable forgery and then bundling them all together into some low grade meta-theory time and time again. Very Trumpian (whether or not you are a Trump supporter). Very American. That academics do these sorts of things to get published (i.e. draw up and reference a bibliography) is expected. Scholars are encouraged to publish. Publishing on this subject has helped various people's academic careers (Carlson, Gullotta). But you haven't written anything. You have no seeming career-related reason for doing it. To further the analogy - you're not a Trump lawyer filing frivolous lawsuits because someone is paying you to do it. You're a conspiracy believer who just revels in being part of conspiracy-based community.

StephenGoranson
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Re: Did Morton salt Mar Saba?

Post by StephenGoranson » Wed Nov 25, 2020 3:05 am

The recorded, freely available (LMWsymposium.com) presentation by Geoffrey Smith is recent (a month old) and makes relevant claims. Is such news unwelcome here to more than one?

davidmartin
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Re: Did Morton salt Mar Saba?

Post by davidmartin » Wed Nov 25, 2020 5:28 am

i read Smiths book Jesus the Magician recently (found it for free online). it's hilarious in places very tongue in cheek
the funniest part is when the magi come to visit the infant Jesus - to pay homage as their leader, chief of magi lol

it mentions secret mark, but only in passing about halfway through
if he forged it you'd never had guessed from the way it's treated in this book anyway
so far Smith seems like a man with disreputable opinions not a disreputable work ethic?

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Secret Alias
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Re: Did Morton salt Mar Saba?

Post by Secret Alias » Wed Nov 25, 2020 10:46 am

The list goes on and on. Another claim from Carlson's book - 'cottaging' is a specifically 1950s form of homosexuality. The fact that the 'homosexuality' in the letter (nonsense but let's go along with the claim again) has 'cottaging' or allusions to whatever Carlson (someone with no expertise in homosexuality from the 1950s or any other times) identifies as 'cottaging' suggests the letter was written in the 1950s when the term 'cottaging' was popular. But I just happened to be reading this article on Chopin where it alleges Chopin engaged in cottaging https://www.theguardian.com/music/2020/ ... mme-claims. So again, either cottaging is so elastic a terminology anyone at any time could be engaged in it. It is not a 1950s homosexual 'practice' from the 1950s. Only the specific term 'cottaging' is from the 1950s https://idiomorigins.org/origin/cottaging. But the letter doesn't use the English or Greek equivalent which makes the argument so disingenuous. Of course public sexuality and 'cottaging' existed in antiquity https://www.jstor.org/stable/642981?seq=1 In short: another 5 pages from that book has no relevance to the subject of whether or not to Theodore is a forgery.
Chopin’s Men, a two-hour radio programme that aired on Swiss public broadcaster SRF’s arts channel, argues that the composer’s letters have been at times deliberately mistranslated, rumours of affairs with women exaggerated, and hints at an apparent interest in “cottaging”, or looking for sexual partners in public toilets, simply ignored.
If the encounter in the Letter to Theodore is 'homosexual' - and who knows some say that Matthew McConaughey smoking weed naked with another man is 'gay' https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-ente ... 00362.html - THE KIND OF HOMOSEXUALITY ALLEGEDLY DEPICTED IN THE LETTER and identified by Carlson is certainly not specifically a form of 1950s homosexuality - so it can't be used to date the letter.

The idea that public sexuality was a recent invention in ANY society let alone a highly sexuality community like homosexuals where sexuality defines their separateness from society at large is seemingly WILLFUL STUPIDITY OR IGNORANCE. Surely - if anyone has ever lived - having sex in public places is an inevitable part of the folle d'amour. It is an expression or a celebration of your attractiveness or attraction to one another. The world acts as a stage each 'coming together' of your love. To misunderstand this is to misunderstand the joy of sex. To pretend that homosexuals or sexually active heterosexuals 'just started' doing this in the 1950s only shows that religious scholars will leave this earth without experience a full life - in part undoubtedly because they are physically unattractive or not wealthy enough to pay someone for the experience. But this sort of stupidity characterizes the arguments in this book.

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Secret Alias
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Re: Did Morton salt Mar Saba?

Post by Secret Alias » Wed Nov 25, 2020 11:15 am

Look how handsome I was in university. https://protem.journals.yorku.ca/index. ... 5637/14561 I would wake up every morning smiling as I looked in the mirror. Happy Thanksgiving.
Last edited by Secret Alias on Thu Nov 26, 2020 4:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: Did Morton salt Mar Saba?

Post by Ben C. Smith » Wed Nov 25, 2020 11:18 am

Secret Alias wrote:
Wed Nov 25, 2020 11:15 am
Look how handsome I was in university. https://protem.journals.yorku.ca/index. ... 5637/14561 I would wake up every morning smiling as I looked in the mirror.
Not contesting your claim here, but wow, that was one heck of a mullet.

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