In my previous posts I explained how American scholar of early Christianity, Morton Smith, claimed to have discovered the Secret Gospel of Mark in 1958. Now I’ll discuss how, once he discovered it (assuming he did – some scholars think he actually forged it…), how he went about trying to find out if it was actually an ancient Gospel.
Again, from my book Lost Christianities:
Authenticating and Interpreting the Letter
Morton Smith devoted much of his research for the next fifteen years studying this find. Roughly speaking, the work involved establishing the authenticity of the letter and determining the meaning of the passages quoted from the Secret Gospel. In 1973, Smith published the results of his labors in two books, one a popular account for general audiences, full of interesting anecdotes and still worth reading, The Secret Gospel: The Discovery and Interpretation of the the Secret Gospel According to Mark, the other an erudite report on his investigations for scholars in the field, an amazing book of scholarship but inaccessible for the most part to those who do not have the requisite ancient languages and extensive expertise in the field of Christian antiquity.
With respect to the authentication of the letter there were, and still are, significant questions to be addressed: Was the letter actually