Follow usTwitterFacebook

Latest

14 Sep 2015 News Vatican Comments (1)

Pope encourages work of cooperatives

Pope Francis met with directors and employees of an Italian credit union on September 12 and encouraged it and other cooperatives “to continue to be the motor t…

Read more

31 Dec 2014 Q&A Comments (1)

Is it right to be proud of some things?

Full Question When is it okay to be proud? Can I be "proud" of my Catholic faith? Can I be "proud" of my many years of marriage? Answer Theol…

Read more

04 Nov 2014 Q&A Comments (18)

Where did people who died before Christ go?

Full Question Where did people who died before Christ go? Answer According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, before the Resurrection, Abra…

Read more

04 Jul 2016 USA Comments (8)

True story behind 'Miracles From Heaven'

Annabel Beam was only 9-years-old when she fell down a hollowed-out tree and landed on her skull. Despite other horror stories in which spines were snapped and …

Read more

05 May 2016 Vatican Comments (1)

Individuals are more generous than governments over immigration, says Cardinal Nichols

The cardinal said political leaders need to look at what we gain from migration, as well as the problems we confront Cardinal Vincent Nichols has said that man…

Read more

24 Nov 2015 Europe News No comments

Two new Auxiliary Bishops are appointed for the Diocese Westminster Cathedral by Pope Francis

Pope Francis has appointed two new Auxiliary Bishops to be ordained on 25th January, 2016 on the feast of the Conversion of St Paul. Canon Paul McAleenan, a pri…

Read more

06 Aug 2016 News Comments (1)

US nuns urge Presidential candidates to refrain from ‘dehumanising language’

More than 5,600 religious have signed a letter to all the Presidential candidates More than 5,600 American women religious have signed a letter addressed to Pr…

Read more

29 Nov 2015 Middle East - Africa News No comments

Pope Francis "Messenger of Peace" welcomed in Central Africa

Pope Francis arrived Central Africa in the morning hours of 29th November, 2015 after visiting Kenya and Uganda in the past few days of his pastoral visit to Af…

Read more

18 Feb 2016 Articles No comments

Unless You Become Like Little Children

As a youngster, I thought going to church was a mystical adventure filled with a strange language, bells and incense. We knew we were in a sacred place because …

Read more
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
«
»

Is there a “secret Gospel of Mark”?

Full Question

I heard there was a “secret Gospel of Mark” which contained additional material not found in the canonical Gospel of Mark. Is there any truth to this? What are we to make of this report?

Answer

Not much. In 1958 Morton Smith claimed to have found a portion of a letter written by Clement of Alexandria. It discussed a second edition of the Gospel of Mark, prepared after Peter’s death. This second edition supposedly included stories not found in the canonical Mark. The longest of these stories was what appeared to be an alternative account of the resurrection of Lazarus. According to the letter Smith found, this document was kept at Alexandria (of which Mark had been bishop), but not generally disseminated. The Gnostic heretic Carpocrates obtained a copy of the gospel and then revised it, adding his own Gnostic teachings, and then used it to justify the licentious sexual ethics of his followers.

The letter is of dubious authenticity. Smith claimed to have found it handwritten in the back of a book in the library of the Mar Saba monastery in southern Israel. The book itself dated from the 17th century, and the handwriting of the letter was dated from the eighteenth century. Smith published photographs of the letter, but since their publication no other Western scholar has seen the letter.

Even if Smith’s account of finding the letter is correct, it is doubtful that the 18th-century person who wrote it in the back of the book had a genuine letter of Clement of Alexandria. He might have composed the letter himself, expecting someone to find it in the future, or he may have had a copy of a letter previously forged in Clement’s name.

Even if Clement wrote the letter, it does not prove that the version of Mark he mentions was genuine. Someone between the time of Mark and the time of Clement may have added the additional material and then put forward the Gospel in Mark’s name (just as the heretic Carpocrates is supposed to have done). Few scholars who believe Clement wrote the letter believe Mark was the author of the Gospel the letter mentioned. The additional material contains clues that make it unlikely it would have been written by Mark.b










wpsd_autopost:
1

Leave a Reply

  1. most read post
  2. Most Commented
  3. Choose Categories