"Secret Gospel of Mark" (lost biblical text; existence unconfirmed; date unknown)

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The letter addressed to Theodore

Status: Existence Unconfirmed

‘’Secret Gospel of Mark’’ or ‘’Mystical Gospel of Mark’’ is a supposed longer version of ‘’Gospel of Mark’’. The gospel is mentioned exclusively in the ‘’Mar Saba Letter’’

Discovery[edit | edit source]

In 1958, Morton Smith discovered a previously unknown letter written by Clemet of Alexandria. In 1960, he formally announced the discovery and in 1973 he published of the text. For many years it was believed only Smith had seen the text, but in 2003 Guy Stroumsa announced that he and a group of scholars seen it in 1976. Stroumsa, along with the late David Flusser and Sholomo Pines and Archimandrite Meliton went to Mar Saba to look for the book. With the help of a monk, they found it where Smith left it 18 years ago.

In 1977 librarian Father Kallistos Dourvas removed two pages of the book containing the text to photograph and re-catalog them, but the re-cataloging never happened. Dourvas later told Charles W. Hedrick and Nikolaos Olympiou that the pages were then kept separately alongside the book at least until his retirement in 1990. However, after that the pages mysteriously went missing and various attempts to find them have failed. Olympiou speculated that somebody at Patriarchate Library might have stolen and destroyed the text due to Smith’s homoerotic interpretation of the text. Kallistos Dourvas gave color photographs of the manuscript to Olympiou, and Hedrick and Olympiou published them in The Fourth R in 2000

Availability[edit | edit source]

As of 2019, the whereabouts of the text are unknown and there are only two photographs.

Content of the letter[edit | edit source]

The Mar Saba letter is addresses to someone named Theodore. The letter implies Theodore asked if there is a gospel of mark in which the words “a naked man with a naked man” and “other things” are present. Clemet confirms that a second, longer and more spiritual version of the gospel of Mark was written, but it contained no such words.

Fragments of the gospel[edit | edit source]

The letter contains one passage from the lost gospel.

“And they come into Bethany. And a certain woman whose brother had died was there. And, coming, she prostrated herself before Jesus and says to him, “Son of David, have mercy on me.” But the disciples rebuked her. And Jesus, being angered, went off with her into the garden where the tomb was, and straightway a great cry was heard from the tomb. And going near Jesus rolled away the stone from the door of the tomb. And straightway, going in where the youth was, he stretched forth his hand and raised him, seizing his hand. But the youth, looking upon him, loved him and began to beseech him that he might be with him. And going out of the tomb they came into the house of the youth, for he was rich. And after six days Jesus told him what to do and in the evening the youth comes to him, wearing a linen cloth over his naked body. And he remained with him that night, for Jesus taught him the mystery of the kingdom of God. And thence, arising, he returned to the other side of the Jordan.”

External links[edit | edit source]

Wikipedia page