Thursday, April 20, 2006

More on Secret Mark

Stephen Carlson calls attention to yet another rebuttal of Secret Mark coming out this September: The Secret Gospel of Mark Unveiled: Imagined Rituals of Sex, Death, and Madness in a Biblical Forgery, by Peter Jeffery. According to Adela Yarbro Collins of Yale University:

"Peter Jeffery's book proves beyond a reasonable doubt that Morton Smith forged the discovered text. It demonstrates that he had the scholarly expertise, the wit, the sense of humor, and above all the motivation to do so."

Evidently some of the book's arguments complement those in Stephen's Gospel Hoax, though Jeffery approaches the hoax from a musician's angle, which is curious. Stephen cites an article from The Daily Princetonian:

"Jeffery... approached the text from his perspective as a musical historian and conclusively refuted it. Because 'everything it says about the early Christian liturgy is utterly nonsensical, it can't be made to fit into the history,' he said. [He] said that it took more than 30 years to debunk the text because the study of rituals is complicated, involving a high degree of non-textual interpretation."

It will make for interesting reading, that's for sure. Poor Morton Smith: only in death does his last laugh really pay off.

Interesting post-script to the article: Jeffery apparently sued the Smashing Pumpkins for damaging his hearing at a concert. For some reason that doesn't surprise me. When I used to listen to the Smashing Pumpkins on a walkman I remember having to turn the volume way down. Great band, but painful at high decibels.


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