Secret Gospel of Mark


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Essex, UK
Dear All

Have any of you read Morton Smith's book Jesus the Magician?

Most scholars are now agreed that this historian has discovered a genuine letter of the Early Church Father, Bishop Clement of Alexandria, in a Greek monastery by the Dead Sea. Clement alleges that Mark wrote a second, more spiritual gospel kept by the Alexandrian church for the exclusive use of advanced believers.

The story, which Clement quotes verbatim from The Secret Gospel is an account of resurrection. When the young man emerges from the tomb it is said he looks upon Jesus and loves him and does not want to be separated from him. Jesus then spends some days with the man, instructing him in the teachings of the kingdom and also spends one night with him dressed only in a linen wrap. Clement acknowledges all this but says that what follows about “the naked man and the naked man” (which from delicacy he does not choose to quote) is pure fabrication.

"And the youth, looking upon him (Jesus), loved him and beseeched that he might remain with him. And going out of the tomb, they went into the house of the youth, for he was rich. And after six days, Jesus instructed him and, at evening, the youth came 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".

It is written that Smith’s thesis is that Jesus was primarily a magician of a type quite familiar to the ancient world. His speciality came to be mind dissociation techniques in especially a baptismal context; these helped people to make shaman-like, hallucinatory ascents to the heavens, while on earth he could bend them to his will. Smith does not sensationalise the sexual dimensions of The Secret Gospel and insist that Jesus was a homosexual magician, though the thesis tends to imply as much. Jesus evidently behaved secretly, met people secretly and Smith assumes, initiated people secretly.

here is link for more information

What do you make of it all?

Love beyond measure

That's an interesting link, Sacredstar - thanks for that. I haven't read about that before, but I can certainly see why Morton Smith's claim is so contentious - effectively, it's nothing more than an interpolation in a 17th century text, so no wonder it's hard for it to be accepted as an authentic representation of an earlier text.

The Gnostic society article is also interesting for clearly implying that it is an authentic Clementine letter.

I should definitely update the entry on the Secret Mark text, which I have up here:
so as to keep the bacjground properly detailed.
You find the Jesus you are looking for.

That hits the nail on the head!

The believer's own heart (and soul?) is the only determinant.
Believers conceive whatever they wish to conceive according to their affective nature and nurture.
There is no necessity of proof beyond personal commitment and affirmation - personal validation that satisfies the believer.

Re: The Secret Gospel, one might just as well consider the Gospel of Thomas, which does not appear in standard collations of the Bible.

The actual evidence for Jesus is very limited, and in any case, such evidence as there is has to be considered withing the context historically of that area of the Middle East in those days. Jesus has to be understood as a phenomena of the Jewish situation in those days. So far as I know, Jesus didn't imply that he had come to save humanity as a whole. He spoke to Jewish peoples in the only context he could.
That he appeared to fulfil or hold promise of Jewish conceptions in general, is the most that can be said, but by all accounts he singularly failed to live upto Messianic expectations... anoionted he probably was, but he was certainly not the leader and rebuilder of the Temple in anything other than metaphorical ways.

It IS far more likely he was indeed a 'magician', like so many of the other recorded 'prophets' of the time, and a charismatic too. :cool:
Well it seems Brian from speaking to a friend who is an historian that most scholars who are without bias accept this as accurate.

There is certainly more to be discovered about the mystical Jesus when the time is right and humanity are ready to receive the truth I feel. Whatever that truth may be. There was also a lot of jealousy amongst the apostles of the close relationship with Thomas and Mary. Clearly shown in the Gospel of Thomas and Gospel of Mary.

Love beyond measure

Sacredstar said:
Well it seems Brian from speaking to a friend who is an historian that most scholars who are without bias accept this as accurate.
This is indeed the position I've put on CR itself in the Apocrypha section. However, I didn't realise that the text was nothing more than an editorial edition to such a late work - hence why objections to it can easily be understood.

PS - Everyone has a bias. :)
Haven't read Smith's book but I've come across many references to it in my reading. I'm no Greek scholar, but I have a hard time accepting Secret Mark as the "original" Mark. According to Clement (assuming the letter is genuine - it's also hard to believe that such a document could remain "secret" for 1700 years!) the Secret Gospel is mostly the same as canonical Mark, with a few additions. But canonical Mark is very down-to-earth, while the additions seem very mystical - more like the Gospel of John than Mark.

Nonetheless, scholars like John Crossan seem to take Smith's suggestion seriously.
Deaer FriendRob

Don't you think that the Vatican is full of such hidden treasures?

I look forward to the day when the Vatican archives are opened up to scholars from all demoninations.I feel sure that day will come before the end of my lifetime. I never thought the Berlin Wall would come down so now I know that anything is possible.

Love beyond measure

Actually, the RC church isn't opposed to scholarly research as much as many Protestant churches are. The Protestants tend to be invested in "the Bible is THE way to find God", while the RC's balance scripture and tradition. I know very little about the Vatican, but I tend to doubt that there's a big coverup. OTOH, there may be some important works that not even the Vatican librarians know about that lie hidden inside some old dusty book.

Or, maybe the sands of Egypt will cough up another treasure trove like Nag Hammadi. We can only hope.
Well as far as I know there is still at least another 40% of the dead sea scrolls that have not been revealed.....,.

And yes I would lay money on more hidden treasure coming into daylight!

I tend to doubt that there's a big coverup.
Re: FriendRob's comments:
Is that it?
I have non-Catholic friends simply refused research access... not once, but many times.
What's there to hide? That seems a more natural conclusion.:cool:
Why restrict access to non-Catholics?
Why restrict access to anyone, no reason unless there is something to hide!

Do you feel it is our human rights to know the whole truth?

Do you feel that it is time that education and theology campaigned for transparency, full and unrestricted access? I do.

Love beyond measure

Do you feel that it is time that education and theology campaigned for transparency, full and unrestricted access? I do.

Yes, I do, Sacredstar, and I hope others do too.

There is too much hiding behind translations of translations with ignorance of original context in major monotheistic religions.

Not only that, we have to endure the 'gloss' put upon the followers of the purported words of Jesus of Nazareth by people like Paul/Saul.

I would also apply the transparency to all aspects of Government and the Scientific Community. The latter is so often caught up in commercialism that the sharing of scientific knowledge has become a farce.

Personal opinions you understand.;)
WOW Blue

Surely it is only a matter of time before all you scholars make this happen there is plenty of people that would support the campaign.

I agree governments too but there is their agenda so a much more difficult one hey with the secrets act etc!

Love beyond measure