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

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Theodore.jpg

The letter addressed to Theodore

Status: Existence Unconfirmed

Secret Gospel of Mark or Mystical Gospel of Mark[1] is a supposed longer version of Gospel of Mark. The gospel is mentioned only in the Mar Saba Letter

Discovery[edit | edit source]

In 1958, Morton Smith discovered a previously unknown letter written by Clement of Alexandria. In 1960, he formally announced the discovery and in 1973 he published the text.[2] 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, Shlomo Pines, and Archimandrite Meliton went to Mar Saba to look for the book. While looking for it at Mar Saba, they found it where Smith left it 18 years ago.[3]

In 1977, librarian Father Kallistos Dourvas removed two pages of the book containing the text to photograph and re-catalog them,[4] 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.[5] However, after that, the pages mysteriously went missing and various attempts to find them have failed.[6] Olympiou speculated that somebody at Patriarchate Library might have stolen and destroyed the text because of 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.[7]

Availability[edit | edit source]

As of 2019, the whereabouts of the text are unknown[8] and there are only two photographs available.[9]

Content of Letter[edit | edit source]

The Mar Saba Letter is addressed to someone named Theodore.[10] 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. Clement confirms that a second, longer and more spiritual version of the Gospel of Mark was written, but it contained no such words about the two men.

Fragments of 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.”

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Schenke, Hans-Martin (2012), "The Mystery of the Gospel of Mark", in Schenke Robinson, Gesine; Schenke, Gesa; Plisch, Uwe-Karsten (eds.), Der Same Seths: Hans-Martin Schenkes kleine Schriften zu Gnosis, Koptologie und Neuem Testament, Nag Hammadi and Manichaean studies, 0929-2470; v. 78, Leiden: Brill, pp. 554–572, ISBN 978-9004223905
  2. Burke, Tony (2013), "Introduction", in Burke, Tony (ed.), Ancient Gospel or Modern Forgery? The Secret Gospel of Mark in Debate. Proceedings from the 2011 York University Christian Apocrypha Symposium, Eugene, Or.: Cascade Books, pp. 1–29, ISBN 978-1620321867
  3. Stroumsa, Guy G. (Summer 2003), "Comments on Charles Hedrick's Article: A Testimony", Journal of Early Christian Studies, vol. 11:2, pp. 147–153
  4. Hedrick, Charles W. (Summer 2003), "The Secret Gospel of Mark: Stalemate in the Academy", Journal of Early Christian Studies, vol. 11:2, pp. 133–145
  5. Hedrick, Charles W.; Olympiou, Nikolaos (2000), "Secret Mark: New Photographs, New Witnesses", The Fourth R, vol. 13, pp. 3–16
  6. Hedrick, Charles W. (2009), "'Secret Mark': An Amazing Discovery", Biblical Archaeology Review, vol. 35:06, pp. 44–46, 48
  7. Brown, Scott G. (2005), Mark's Other Gospel: Rethinking Morton Smith's Controversial Discovery, Waterloo, Ont.: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, ISBN 978-0-88920-461-4
  8. Paananen, Timo S. (2019), A Study in Authenticity: Admissible Concealed Indicators of Authority and Other Features of Forgeries – A Case Study on Clement of Alexandria, Letter to Theodore, and the Longer Gospel of Mark, Helsinki: Unigrafia, ISBN 978-9515152503
  9. Huller, Stephan; Gullotta, Daniel N. (2017), "Quentin Quesnell's Secret Mark Secret: A Report on Quentin Quesnell's 1983 trip to Jerusalem and his inspection of the Mar Saba Document", Vigiliae Christianae, vol. 71:4, pp. 353–378
  10. Rau, Eckhard (2010), "Weder gefälscht noch authentisch? Überlegungen zum Status des geheimen Markusevangeliums als Quelle des antiken Christentums", in Frey, Jörg; Schröter, Jens (eds.), Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament, 0512-1604; 254 (in German), Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, pp. 139–186, ISBN 978-3161501470

External Link[edit | edit source]