Click here to get the answers to the most commonly asked RBL questions.

Review of Biblical Literature Blog

The Secret Gospel of Mark Unveiled: Imagined Rituals of Sex, Death, and Madness in a Biblical Forgery
Jeffery, Peter

New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007 pp. xi + 340. $40.00


Description: In 1958, Bible scholar Morton Smith announced the discovery of a sensational manuscript–a second-century letter written by St. Clement of Alexandria, who quotes an unknown, longer version of the Gospel of Mark. When Smith published the letter in 1973, he set off a firestorm of controversy that has raged ever since. Is the text authentic, or a hoax? Is Smith’s interpretation correct? Did Jesus really practice magic, or homosexuality? And if the letter is a forgery ... why? Through close examination of the “discovered” manuscript’s text, Peter Jeffery unravels the answers to the mystery and tells the tragic tale of an estranged Episcopalian priest who forged an ancient gospel and fooled many of the best biblical scholars of his time. Jeffery shows convincingly that Smith’s Secret Gospel is steeped in anachronisms and that its construction was influenced by Oscar Wilde’s Salomé, twentieth-century misunderstandings of early Christian liturgy, and Smith’s personal struggles with Christian sexual morality.

Subjects: Methods, Historical Approaches, History, Textual Criticism, History of Interpretation

Login to Read the Review(s)

You must be a member of SBL to read the review(s). Enter your SBL Member ID and click the "Log in" button. Your use of this site indicates your acceptance of RBL’s Terms of Use.

I don’t remember my SBL Member ID.

Join SBL or renew your membership to read the review(s).



SBL Membership Id:  


Review by Scott G. Brown
Published 9/15/2007
Citation: Scott G. Brown, an essay review of Peter Jeffery, The Secret Gospel of Mark Unveiled: Imagined Rituals of Sex, Death, and Madness in a Biblical Forgery, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2007). (47 pages)


Review by J. Harold Ellens
Published 6/1/2009
Citation: J. Harold Ellens, review of Peter Jeffery, The Secret Gospel of Mark Unveiled: Imagined Rituals of Sex, Death, and Madness in a Biblical Forgery, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2009).


Adobe Acrobat Reader
All RBL reviews are published in PDF format. To view these reviews, you must have downloaded and installed the FREE version of Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you do not have the Reader or you have an older version of the Reader, you can download the most recent version now.

 

 
Privacy PolicyTerms of UseContact Us