Secret Gospel of Mark
label Secret Gospel of Mark designates two passages which are
supposed to be part of an ancient, expanded version of the Gospel
of Mark. The secret passages were only intended to be read by
those who had been thoroughly initiated into the mysteries of
the ancient Alexandrian church, not by all Christians. Information
about the secret passages comes from a letter of Clement of
Alexandria which was first discovered by Morton Smith in 1958
at a monastery in Mar Saba, Israel. The question of whether
the letter is genuine of not has never been completely resolved,
although many Clementine and New Testament scholars have accepted
it as genuine.
are at least three different theories about the origin of the
Secret Gospel of Mark. Various moden scholars have asserted
that the text is: 1.) a modern forgery engineered by Morton
Smith (or someone else); 2.) a medieval forgery by an unknown
individual; or 3.) an authentic fragment from antiquity. If
the Secret Gospel of Mark is authentic, then two other possibilities
are reasonable: 1.) it was written by the same person who wrote
the Gospel of Mark, as Clement argues; or 2.) it was added later
by some unknown writer, presumably from the Alexandria Church.
Unfortunately, the present location of the manuscript containing
this text is unknown (lost?) and none of the arguments denying
or confirming Secret Mark's authenticity is conclusive.
on the back of 1646 Edition of the Letters of Ignatius of Antioch
- Cameron, Ron, ed. The
Other Gospels: Non-Canonical Texts. Philadelphia: Westminster,
- Ehrman, Bart D., ed.
The New Testament and Other Early Christian Writings: A Reader.
New York: Oxford University Press, 1998.
- Elliott, J.K., ed.
The Apocryphal New Testament. Oxford: Clarendon, 1993.
- Miller, Robert J.,
ed. The Complete Gospels: Annotated Scholars Version.
Rev and enl. ed. Sonoma: Polebridge, 1994.
- Schneemelcher, Wilhem,
ed. Gospels and Related Writings. Translated by R. McL.
Wilson. Vol. 1 of New Testament Apocrypha. Rev. ed. Louisville:
Westminster/John Knox, 1991.
- Smith, Morton. The
Secret Gospel: The Discovery and Interpretation of the Secret
Gospel According to Mark. Clearlake: Harper and Row, 1982.
Ancient Language Editions
- Smith, Morton. Clement
of Alexandria and a Secret Gospel of Mark. Cambridge: Harvard
University Press, 1973.
- Greek Text
- Manuscript Photos