Did Morton salt Mar Saba?

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
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Secret Alias
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Re: Did Morton salt Mar Saba?

Post by Secret Alias » Thu Dec 10, 2020 6:18 am

The earliest Patristic writings, the writings of Irenaeus, are limited to only a few interests - correct belief, correct canon, correct episcopal line. The Philosophumena is a variant of Irenaeus's Against Heresies. At the core of Against Heresies there is the understanding that there are only four gospels. Given that the original author has very little to talk about (i.e. correct belief, correct canon, correct episcopal line) it is not surprising that the gospel of Mark comes up.

Smith on the other hand, had from Hebrew University in Jerusalem and a Th.D. in theology from Harvard Divinity School. He wrote about and had an interest in A LOT OF TOPICS. Tselikas makes mention of the strangeness of his having visited a number of monasteries before he want to Mar Saba. An Italian scholar connects his interest in Jewish mysticism to the discovery of the text. You and Carlson notice his having written papers now relating to the Gospel of Mark and the Philosophumena. They all can't be relevant. They are like undoubtedly signs of erudition rather than proofs or indication of criminality.

As noted earlier - you investigated the word kike without it being any indication of you being an anti-Semite. I have spent a lot of time investigating and thinking about homosexuality as it relates to the Mar Saba discovery without being or any personal interest in homosexuality or becoming a homosexual. Bart Ehrman has a quote which is based on an old Protestant belief - "'the search for truth takes you where the evidence leads you, even if, at first, you don't want to go there." The fact that you end up going down some unusual and perhaps distasteful corridors is necessary part of the process of research and discovery.

Yes the Al Qaeda terrorists took flying lessons before crashing those airliners into the World Trade Center but surely there isn't a straight line between what we read and what we do for educated people (except for Nietzsche I guess who read Dostoevsky and then saw a scene from the book he was reading before going completely mad). But we as scholars and researchers are naturally curious unlike most humans. It is silly to make such direct connections for academics between reading and doing. As academics we do a lot of reading and very little doing.

Here's another clue ...


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Achamoth
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Re: Did Morton salt Mar Saba?

Post by Achamoth » Thu Dec 10, 2020 3:14 pm

Secret Alias wrote:
Wed Dec 09, 2020 7:53 pm
It's at the very least descriptive.
Hippolytus says nothing about a "mystical" or "secret" Mark, nor does he say Marcion's Gospel is Mark, rather he uses Mark and Paul as authorities against Marcion and other heretics. Elsewhere he says Marcion uses material from Mathew and references our Luke 3:1 as the beginning of Marcion's Gospel.

So if that is all you have to connect Marcion to Mark it is a rather weak hook to hang your "secret mark" theory on. Mathew is the thread to pull, as the Manichee and the medieval dualist heretics also made much use of the same passages.

If you want to base your conspiracy theory on one line in Hippolytus, this one is much more interesting:

"Release of Callistus by the Interference Of Marcion"

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Secret Alias
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Re: Did Morton salt Mar Saba?

Post by Secret Alias » Thu Dec 10, 2020 5:16 pm

Hippolytus says nothing about a "mystical" or "secret" Mark
Empedocles was always viewed as a mystic.

StephenGoranson
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Re: Did Morton salt Mar Saba?

Post by StephenGoranson » Sat Dec 12, 2020 5:11 am

S. A.: “As academics we do a lot of reading and very little doing.”
Well, Confucius, Woodrow Wilson, Einstein, Marie Curie, Noam Chomsky, Machiavelli, Thomas Jefferson, Socrates, Isaac Newton, Edmond Burke, Leibniz, Goethe, Marx, Freud, E. Fermi, Jonas Salk, Luther, Brandeis, J. Von Neumann, L. Pauling, Bertrand Russell….

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Secret Alias
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Re: Did Morton salt Mar Saba?

Post by Secret Alias » Sat Dec 12, 2020 5:34 am

Perhaps I should have rephrased it as follows. We (or they) in the field of early Christianity do a disproportionate amount of reading when compared with writing. The same I think holds true in rabbinic Judaism and perhaps Samaritanism and Islam (though I am more ignorant). What has been written has authority (Patristic texts, Gemara, Marqe) as commentary on Holy Writ. New generations have been dissuaded from creative endeavors since the fourth century - indeed to do anything but absorb the authoritative commentary. Creativity is something generally not encouraged.

By contrast great creativity in Christianity existed in the second century when forgeries were written in great number (like Acts which shows a remarkable amount of creativity on the part of its "Luke").

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Achamoth
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Re: Did Morton salt Mar Saba?

Post by Achamoth » Mon Dec 14, 2020 4:30 pm

The Philosophumena is a variant of Irenaeus's Against Heresies.
Except that it includes this:

https://www.newadvent.org/fathers/050109.htm

The story of Pope Callistus as an abortionist among other things. Hippolytus, who was a binitarian heretic and the first anti-pope was hardly the mouthpiece of orthodoxy. That this book survived makes it clear his work was never seriously redacted by the Catholic Church.

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Secret Alias
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Re: Did Morton salt Mar Saba?

Post by Secret Alias » Mon Dec 14, 2020 4:33 pm

And?

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billd89
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Re: How Common is Academic Fraud?

Post by billd89 » Wed Dec 30, 2020 8:17 am

Dr. Smith was a dodgy character! Was HE gay, or do we just want to 'read' him that way? He was always scheming, too...
Image
(well, it would explain alot, right? If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, waddles like a duck, swims like a duck, etc.)

I read Peter Steinfels' NYT article "Was It a Hoax? Debate on a ‘Secret Mark’ Gospel Resumes" way back in 2007, but I have not investigated this controversy any further. My own opinion is loose, still undecided, but I'm doubtful.

In many ways, the books are complementary. Mr. Carlson, a lawyer, wields forensic science, the kind of handwriting analysis and word usage used to expose forgeries. Professor Jeffery, a musicologist at Princeton expert in the history of Christian liturgy, looks to the content of the Clement-Mark passages, arguing that its assumptions about Christian worship and initiation rites reflect ideas about early church practices popular half a century ago in the world Professor Smith inhabited rather than what is now known about the world of Clement of Alexandria.

The two authors converge on the point that the understanding of same-sex relations informing the Clement letter is in fact a modern understanding and unlike anything in the Hellenistic world.

And both authors insist that Professor Smith planted double entendres and teasing hints of his own authorship.

But this raises the question of what could have possibly motivated an eminent professor to devise such an elaborate fake and then spend from 1958 to 1973 bolstering it with every scholarly reference at his disposal. Mr. Carlson leans heavily on the category of “hoax,” a virtuoso’s one-upmanship of his academic colleagues, a notion that implies that proper recognition of Professor Smith’s skills would require the eventual exposure of his fakery.

Professor Jeffery seems to waver in his view of Professor Smith, sometimes portraying him as an embittered survivor of his few years as an Episcopal priest. Yet Professor Jeffery also calls the fabrication of the Marcan text “an astoundingly daring act of creative rebellion” aimed at giving homosexuality a Christian foundation.

Actually, the advertisement/promotion (of his supposed earlier discovery) was deeply suspicious to colleagues back in 1973 also.
https://jamestabor.com/morton-smith-and ... l-of-mark/

Personally I would like 'Secret Mark' to be true - MUCH MORE interesting - but I'm persuaded by the experts Against/Hoax camp. Smith's almost lurid fascination with gay & occult themes is a given, I think. Too fishy? The publication (of the earlier discovery) was wildly controversial in 1973 (Year of Stonewall, late coming in the 1960s wave of revolutions), and primed for a sensational publishing bonanza: there's your pecuniary motive box, checked. So Morton Smith as a conflicted/closeted 'gay' man - and narcissist/psychopath - would neatly answer almost every question. (A 'beard' marriage is laughably irrelevant, also.) No, I'm not saying it's proven - it just makes the most sense ...

Unfortunately, some leading experts also have a propensity to be con artists. 'Where there's smoke, there's fire' (typically), so I'm genuinely curious about Smith's psychological profile (and academic fraudsters generally: NPD!):

Piero Anversa Case:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/science/ ... esearcher/

Marc Hauser Case:
https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2014/05 ... t-released

Etc.

My own side interest in this: Morton Smith was involved with translating Hans Lewy's Chaldaean Oracles (1956), and there was criticism long ago - by scholars who examined the German original - that Smith (c.1943?) had taken liberties. That was a red flag to me; I'm carefully examining another Lewy work, Sobria Ebrietas, right now.

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