b-greek-digest V1 #708

b-greek-digest              Monday, 15 May 1995        Volume 01 : Number 708

In this issue:

        Re: Critical Apparatus
        Lengthy account of Secret Mark
        Portion of Critique on Secret Mark
        in Artemis
        Re: Critical Apparatus


From: sysop@ncinet.com
Date: Sun, 14 May 95 09:11:09 EST 
Subject: Re: Critical Apparatus

>How complete do you want to be, and more importantly, how much do you
>want to spend?

I am in the process of _fanatically_ building up my private library, and am
willing to invest a lot in books <my priorities in life: 1.God 2.Wife
3.Family 4.BOOKS!!!>. If it's exhaustive, I don't mind investing the money.

I would also love to get a hold of Plates of papyri, and codices. I saw the
reprint of Codex Aleph (or was it B), but nothing else.

- --

John Calvin Hall - `O doulos tou Kuriou 'Ihsou Xristou
Pensacola, Florida

                             *** Isaiah 66:5 ***

========================= !!! Automated Notice !!! =======================
 E-mail replies to this user should have the following on the first line  
 of message text:        TO: johnhall@gulf.net


From: Edward Hobbs <EHOBBS@wellesley.edu>
Date: Sun, 14 May 1995 18:46:01 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Lengthy account of Secret Mark

Dear Friends of the B-Greek List:

     Thanks to several of you who have asked me to comment on the
"Secret Mark" issue, and the 18th Colloquy of the Center for
Hermeneutical Studies in Hellenistic and Modern Culture, called
"Longer Mark: Forgery, Interpolation, or Old Tradition?".  I'll post
in two parts: this one, and a follow-up which will be the first part
of the text of my Critique, not including the Synopsis (in Greek)
which I produced to show the obvious Gospel source of every phrase in
Smith's supposed Secret Mark.

             BACKGROUND (Skip to SECRET MARK if you wish.)

     The Center (founded in 1969 by me and Dieter Georgi, in a [vain]
effort to keep Dieter in Berkeley rather than leaving for Harvard)
brought together faculty from U.C.Berkeley, GTU, Stanford, Un. of
S.F., Un. of Santa Clara, U.C.Santa Cruz, occasionally others.  Nine
departments of U.C.Berkeley were participants!  At the Colloquies, we
solicited a Position Paper (from scholars everywhere: besides the Bay
Area, Harvard (many times), Columbia (Morton Smith himself!), Chicago,
Bryn Mawr, Claremont, SUNY, as well as Oxford, St. Andrews, Constanz,
Cologne, Zurich, Paris (Sorbonne), and on and on.  The Position Paper
was printed and distributed to a select group of Critics (local and
elsewhere), who wrote Critiques.  The Position Paper and the Critiques
were then printed together and sent to the participants a couple of
weeks before the Colloquy met.  At the Colloquy, we first had 45
minutes of fine wines (from my cellar) and nibbles, with pleasant
conversation.  Then we met in a giant circle (if possible -- when 40
or more showed up we had to use concentric circles), the Paper author
had 15 minutes to respond orally to the Critics, followed by general
discussion, following a series of questions which I usually presented
as we began.  All this was tape-recorded (by my son Kevin--now a
mathematician, one of the "Hubble-fixers" who designed the new lenses
for the Hubble space telescope).  The tape-recording was then
transcribed (by one of my graduate students), and copies of everyone's
remarks (now severely edited down, usually by me or a trusted graduate
student) were typed up and sent to every speaker who was being
summarized.  Each speaker was allowed to expunge idiocies unless they
provoked further discussion, to edit down further, and to improve
their English.  (Imagine doing all this without computers!)  After
taking all these things into account, the results were published in a
series of Protocols (also handled physically by me, dealing with
various local printers and binders), and sent out to subscribers by
another of my graduate students (Sharon Boucher, who was never paid
for years of this).  My colleague at PSR, Wilhelm Wuellner, dearly
loved the limelight, and so we usually called him Chairman, often
Editor, etc., though in fact all the labors were done by unsung
others.  We met thus three to seven times a year.

                              SECRET MARK

     Reginald Fuller (of Virginia Theological Seminary at that time)
was planning to visit Berkeley for a few weeks, and wrote to say that
he had a paper in the works on Morton Smith's "Secret Mark", wondering
whether we wanted to us it as a Position Paper.  We agreed, and the
Colloquy was initiated (actual meeting on 7 December 1975).  Smith
himself wrote a Critique, as well as Helmut Koester (always a fan of
Smith, to my eternal puzzlement), Hans Dieter Betz, Birger Pearson
(UC-SB), Bud (Paul) Achtemeier (Union-Virginia), and locals (including
me, and my then-student Daryl Schmidt).

     Charles Murgia, then Chairman of the Dept. of Classics at
Berkeley, wrote a devastating proof of forgery.  In the discussion, he
said that he didn't think Smith himself did the forging, because
Smith's knowledge of Greek was inferior to that of the author/forger,
and because the forger had an excellent sense of humor, which Smith
lacked.  (My reaction was to say that I'd rather be accused of forgery
than of lacking a sense of humor and being deficient in Greek!)  My
own effort in advance was to prepare a Greek Synopsis, with three
columns: "Clement's" Text, Parallels in Mark, and Parallels in John. 
I thought it evidenced that the work was a "pastiche" created from
canonical Gospel materials.

     ( I also said that since I wasn't a Clement-scholar, I couldn't
judge whether the forgery was pre- or post-Clement, hence I would
simply assume Robert Grant's opinion that the letter sounded like
Clement.  I didn't believe it, but I didn't want to take on THAT issue
as well.  Smith later cited me, in Harvard Theological Review, as one
who accepted the authenticity of the work! )

          After publication, the hate-mail from Smith began.  He
quickly learned that I was the center of this vortex, and letter after
letter of vitriol, spite, irrational attacks, and the like were
showered upon me.  This was despite the fact that I had refrained from
voicing my personal opinion, that the "letter" and the "secret Mark
text" never existed, but were invented by Smith.  He produced no MS.,
only some "photographs" he claimed to have made at Mar Saba monastery
in 1958.  He kept the matter secret for 14 years, then published two
books, a "scholarly" one and a "popular" one.  No other person has
ever been able to locate the book in which this stuff was supposedly
written (mainly on the flyleaf and the binding paper).  The entire
affair reeks of fraud, which Quentin Quesnell had the courage to
publish aloud (I DID have the courage to call attention to his work
during the Colloquy!)

                           A SECOND ATTEMPT
                           (to debunk Jesus)

     Three years later, I was Visiting Professor at Claremont, and
working with the Institute for Antiquity and Christianity.  Hans
Dieter Betz (this was before he went to Chicago) was Chairman, and he
asked me to be the critic for an all-day session planned to discuss
Smith's new MS. which he had sent ahead, "Jesus the Magician".
     (Having failed to convince everyone that Jesus was executed for
running a gay-liberation group, caught in the act in Gethsemane, he
now turned to prove that he was executed for being a magician.)

     I tried to beg off, but Betz was insistent; he assured me that
Smith would be quite open to any valid criticism.  The typed MS. was
about three inches thick, and ruined a week for me.  When the day
arrived, he walked in, took one look at me, and paled noticeably.  He
was furious that I had been chosen, but had to sit quietly for 45
minutes while I took his MS. apart (the published version withdrew
EVERYTHING I leveled my fire at, fortunately for him). I even pointed
out that his major evidence for claiming that Jesus was the bastard
child of a German soldier, was in Alfred Rosenberg's Nazi pseudo-
philosophical work, _The Myth of the 20th Century_; Smith quoted the
German title, and thought readers would assume this was from some
renowned German historian!  He raged at me for about half an hour, but
then (thankfully) Jim Robinson picked up on the attack, and we had a
heavy day of argument, about it and about.

     That evening, it turned out that Smith and I were the guests of
honor at a dinner put on by Betz!  And we were seated together!  So we
discussed magical amulets, about which he knew a great deal and I knew
nothing, thus escaping ulcers for the evening.  The hate-mail began
pouring in about a week later; but I noticed that the published book
eliminated all the stupidities and errors I had nastily pointed out. 
Thereafter, when we met at the annual Harvard receptions for faculty
(including me) and alumni (including him) at the AAR/SBL national
meetings, we avoided each other conspicuously.

                         TWO LOYAL COLLEAGUES
                        chopped into mincemeat

     At the 1979 SBL meeting in NYC, a special event was held for
Pierson Parker (of General Seminary most of his life), focussing on
his early-fifties book _The Gospel before Mark_ [positing a kind of
Ur-Markus called K, on which Matthew was based, with canonical Matthew
being thus earlier than canonical Mark].  Four speakers were lined up,
one of whom had been a student of Parker (Rhys was his name), and
another of whom was Morton Smith.  Smith was chosen at Parker's
request, for Parker had always championed Smith and his work, even
though most others in the guild despised (and feared) him.  Rhys gave
a pleasant little talk, followed by Smith, who worked himself up into
a rage over Rhys's words.  He said that this speech should be printed
as an example of every stupidity possible in the scholarly world.  He
then went on to attack Parker, saying that Parker's view that Matthew
was prior to Mark was simply the old Roman Catholic view, and that
Parker, being an Episcopal priest, was sucking up to Rome, as
Episcopal priests always do.  It was a horrifying performance!  When
the brief time for discussion arrived, the Chair wanted to close
things off quickly.  But I leaped to my feat and asked just how it was
that Episcopal priest Parker was driven into bias by that fact,
whereas somehow Episcopal priest Smith had miraculously escaped, and
was enabled to be objective and full of truth?  I pressed the issue of
ad hominem attacks, questioning whether anyone--EVEN MORTON SMITH--had
a right to behave in that fashion at a scholarly meeting.  He
sputtered for a moment, then stalked out.

     About ten years ago (I think it was in Chicago, but all these
hotels are so similar I'm not sure), Smith too the platform to
denounce the translation by Jacob Neusner of an ancient rabbinic
document.  Neusner claimed this was the first time it had appeared in
English, and that he had done the translation.  Smith revealed that it
in fact was lifted from a translation made centuries ago.  Neusner was
publicly humiliated and found it hard to show up for things for a few
years.  (My vagueness about the exact titles, etc., is because I was
in an adjacent room, and did not directly hear this attack; I was told
of it many times over during the hours and days which followed.)  Now,
the interesting thing about this is not that such a thing could
happen; plagiarism is shameful, maybe on a par with forgery (?).  It
is that Jacob Neusner was one of Smith's few ardent champions (Parker
and Koester being two of the other three or four).  Smith had turned
on one of the few friends he had left!

     Finally:  I gather Neusner is now having his revenge!

Edward C. Hobbs


From: Edward Hobbs <EHOBBS@wellesley.edu>
Date: Sun, 14 May 1995 18:47:00 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Portion of Critique on Secret Mark

     The issue before us in this Colloquy (as it properly is in
each of our Colloquies) should be the fundamental methodological
one:  How is it that we solve problems about the interpretation
of a text?  This is a special form of the more general issue of
how we make historical judgements.

     Since we deal with the unrepeatable, and thus are deprived
of the experimental method in any strict sense, and since we
further are not engaged with logical deduction from postulates in
the fashion of mathematics, we are faced with the criterion of
probability.  Thus much is, however, granted by everyone (or,
almost everyone!).  The problem remains, what constitutes
probability?  I wish to suggest that one crucial dimension of any
theory of probability, whether in the natural sciences or in the
humanistic disciplines including history, is the well-proven Law
of Parsimony, or Ockham's Razor:

          Non sunt multiplicanda entia praeter necessitatem.

     Ockham himself, as is well-known, did not invent the
principle; but he used it effectively and constantly (though not
in this exact formulation which goes by his name; he preferred
two other wordings), and he has handed on to us a tool for
cutting away flights of fancy and distinguishing the probable
from the merely possible.  The modern form of it in the sciences
usually demands the postulation of the fewest unobservables
commensurate with or necessary to explain the evidence.

     Morton Smith acknowledges the criterion of probability quite
explicitly (e.g., The Secret Gospel, p. 148--the last paragraph
of the book; and Clement of Alexandria and a Secret Gospel of
Mark, pp. 289-290--a passage parallel to the previous one); but
he also undercuts the criterion by saying, "But the truth is that
improbable things sometimes happen.  Therefore truth is
necessarily stranger than history."  (The Secret Gospel, p. 148) 
Unless this sentence has a hidden meaning (and Smith seems to
love them), he seems to be saying that our notions of probability
are not fitted to the actual course of happenings in the world,
and thus that "truth" (what really happened?) is stranger than
"history" (what non-Smith historians write down?).  This is a
curious notion of probability, indeed!

     At the level of small detail, Smith's work is indeed
"erudite," as it is usually called; his Clement volume is filled
with a wealth of homework preparatory to historical explanation. 
At the next stage of work, however, he moves suddenly into a
rarified realm from which he is able to dismiss all scholars and
all scholarly methods in general use with whom and which he
differs; scholars' work at odds with his (or even potentially at
odds, in the future: see, e.g., Clement, p. 287, "To prevent
foreseeable stupidities...") regularly is labelled "worthless,"
"ludicrous," "hostile," "muddled," "stupidity," in some cases
"malicious and deliberately deceitful" (he says there are several
of these apparently, while singling out one as "most" so),
"extravagance of exegetic fantasy, " and the like.  Tools basic
to the discipline seem either to be non-existent (e.g. redaction
criticism) or to be so badly used by everyone else that
"alternatives" need to be used (e.g. form criticism).  Important
redaction-critical work is ignored or else dismissed as "fantasy"
(so with Marxsen's important work), and recent form-critical
study, even of this precise passage of Mark, is nowhere mentioned
(e.g. H.-W. Kuhn's work).

     In view of this treatment of differing scholars and methods,
our deliberations are unlikely to meet any different fate at the
hands of Smith; those who are sympathetic to his work will be
praised, and those who differ will be damned (will we, hopefully,
be allowed to choose whether we are to be labelled "stupid,"
"ludicrous," or merely engaging in "fantasy"?).

     It seems to me that Ockham's Razor demands that we utilize
the least new hypotheses to account for this text.  Smith calls
his explanation an "account" or a "history"; it is, in fact, an
elaborate web of many hypotheses, each one constructed to fit the
facts of the text to the previously constructed hypothesis.  It
is ingenious, and is just the method adopted by the author of
historical fiction--one constructs an account which will touch on
the known facts at as many points as possible, so as to create
the effect "Yes, it might well have happened like this, indeed!" 
Like many scholars and others, I enjoy historical fiction; I
become uneasy only when the word "fiction" is omitted from the
sub-title or jacket description.  And note that "fiction" does
not here mean untrue; it is possible that it happened in such
fashion.  But the historian does not call his elaborate
construction that touches all points while going far beyond them,
a "history"; he reserves that term for the work to which he has
applied Ockham's Razor, removing all absolutely unessential or
unnecessary unobservables.

     The simplest explanation is one which accords with other
phenomena already known to us from early Christian history.  (In
what follows, I am assuming that the Letter is indeed from
Clement.  I am uncertain of this; but Robert Grant, who is far
more capable than I to judge the question, considers that Smith
has proved this point, and I accept his judgment.)  It is roughly
as follows:

     (1)  Following Paul's lead (Romans 6:1-11), some Christians
in Alexandria (Carpocratians, apparently, and others) interpreted
baptism as resurrection.  Someone among them felt the need of an
account in the Gospels to illustrate this, and set out to fill
the need.

     (2)  Our author, working after the collection of our four
Gospels, is acquainted with the texts of all of them; but he best
knows Mark (long associated with Alexandria), just as most people
have a favorite Gospel.  The Lazarus story (John 11) is the one
lengthy resurrection account, but it cannot be simply duplicated. 
Luke has a resurrection story concerning a male (all of the
Synoptics have the story of Jairus' daughter), also; he is called
*neaniskos*, a term also occurring in Mark's story of the empty

     (3)  Our author has his clues, and begins to piece together
his paradigmatic pericope.  The to-be-resurrected *neaniskos* has
(a mother--Luke? two sisters--John?) a sister, who intercedes for
him.  The details of the pericope are easily assembled from other
healing accounts in Mark, plus the obvious Lazarus-parallel. 
Especially attractive are some accounts which involve
"resurrection" (*egeiro*, 1:31; 5:41; 10:49; 16:6) or a "tomb"
(*mnemeion*, 5:2,3,5; 15:46; 16:2,3,5,8).

     (4)  The *neaniskos* produces by easy connections his
clothing (Mark 14:51) which is like that of the pre-resurrected
Jesus (Mark 15:46) and the statement that "looking on him, he
loved him" (Mark 10:21, with its Matthaean parallel for
*neaniskos*), as well as his wealth (Mark 10:22; cf. Luke 18:23
for exact wording).

     (5)  The locale is given by the Lazarus story--perhaps also
by Mark 8:22, text of Codex Beza.  As noted by Smith, the
pericope's text often accords with the "Western" text; but the
simpler explanation is that our author actually read such a text
(coming into being about 150 by the usual dating), rather than
that the Western text derived from "Longer Mark," a theory that
explains nothing about the Western text in the rest of the
Gospels and Acts.  Even the dating is given by the Lazarus story,
conflated (or maybe not, though the wording is identical) with
the opening of Mark's Transfiguration story (in which Jesus is
clothed in white, as is the *neaniskos* in the empty tomb).

     (6)  Our author at the end has to get Jesus back to where
the account in Mark continues. 

     The entire process is a simple one:  A Mark-sounding story
is produced by utilizing related stories in Mark and their
phrasing, combined with the obvious resurrection story in John,
and some inevitable wording derived from memory of the Matthew
and Luke parallels (cf. our own "rich young ruler," a description
which is a conflation of the synoptic accounts).  To account for
the similarities to Mark by having a translator (working from an
Aramaic Vorlage) deliberately imitate Mark's style is
"multiplying entities," indeed.

     Finally, could such an "invention" (a "pastiche" might be
the best term) be interpolated into Mark's text, even though the
Gospel was already accepted as in some sense "canonical"?  Of
course it could!--all we have to recall is the way in which the
pericope on the adulterous woman was inserted into various
places, without fire falling from heaven (after Luke 21:38; after
John 7:36; after John 7:52; after John 21:24), or the way in
which various endings were attached to Mark, endings pieced
together in much the fashion we have observed here.  If
Stendahl's statement (quoted on p. 85, Clement) means that the
text cannot have originated in the late second century or after,
then it is demonstrably wrong, on the evidence of the pericopes
just cited and their textual history; perhaps, however,
Stendahl's comment refers to a time after the fixing of the text,
i.e., after the supremacy of the Byzantine text.


From: Rick Strelan <R.Strelan@mailbox.uq.oz.au>
Date: Mon, 15 May 1995 11:00:25 +1000 (GMT+1000)
Subject: in Artemis

In Pholistratus' Letters of Apollonius (No.65, I think), the Ephesians 
are described as being en Artemidi(in Artemis). Does anyone know whether 
this was a common way of describing citizens and their relation to the deity of the 
city? It is tempting to see en Christo parallels.
I'd appreciate any comments.
Dr Rick Strelan
Studies in religion
University of Queensland


From: Micheal Palmer <mpalmes@email.unc.edu>
Date: Sun, 14 May 1995 22:16:40 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Critical Apparatus

On Sat, 13 May 1995, John Calvin Hall wrote:

> I would also love to get a hold of Plates of papyri, and codices. I saw the
> reprint of Codex Aleph (or was it B), but nothing else.

Do any of you know how to get a copy of the reprint mentioned here? I am 
also interested in information on photographic reproductions of any of 
the best manuscripts.

Micheal W. Palmer
Mellon Research Fellow
Department of Linguistics
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


End of b-greek-digest V1 #708


To unsubscribe from this list write


with "unsubscribe b-greek-digest" as your message content.  For other
automated services write to the above address with the message content

For further information, you can write the owner of the list at


You can send mail to the entire list via the address: