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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Ancient Gospel or Modern Forgery?: The Secret Gospel of Mark in Debate: Proceedings from the 2011 York University Christian Apocrypha Symposium
Burke, Tony, editor

Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2013 pp. xxviii + 357. $42.00


Description:

In 1958, American historian of religion Morton Smith made an astounding discovery in the Mar Saba monastery in Jerusalem. Copied into the back of a seventeenth-century book was a lost letter attributed to Clement of Alexandria (ca. 150-215 CE) that contained excerpts from a longer version of the Gospel of Mark written by Mark himself and circulating in Alexandria, Egypt. More than fifty years after its discovery, the origins of this Secret Gospel of Mark remain contentious. Some consider it an authentic witness to an early form of Mark, perhaps even predating canonical Mark. Some claim it is a medieval or premodern forgery created by a monastic scribe. And others argue it is a forgery created by Morton Smith himself. All these positions are addressed in the papers contained in this volume. Nine North American scholars, internationally recognized for their contributions to the study of Secret Mark, met at York University in Toronto, Canada, in April 2011 to examine recent developments in scholarship on the gospel and the letter in which it is found. Their results represent a substantial step forward in determining the origins of this mysterious and controversial text.

Subjects: Bible, New Testament, Synoptic Gospels, Mark, Early Christian Literature, Literature, Methods, Historical Approaches, Literary Approaches, Other Methods

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Review by James F. McGrath
Published 5/5/2015
Citation: James F. McGrath, review of Tony Burke, ed., Ancient Gospel or Modern Forgery?: The Secret Gospel of Mark in Debate: Proceedings from the 2011 York University Christian Apocrypha Symposium, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2015).


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