My thanks to John Dart for collaborating with me on an earlier version of this article.


A fuller argument is made in Scott G. Brown, “Bethany beyond the Jordan: John 1:28 and the Longer Gospel of Mark,” Revue Biblique 110 (2003), pp. 497–516.


For a popular account of his discovery, see Morton Smith, The Secret Gospel: The Discovery and Interpretation of the Secret Gospel according to Mark (New York: Harper and Row, 1973). His scholarly analysis was published as Clement of Alexandria and a Secret Gospel of Mark (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press, 1973).


Eusebius, Church History 6.14.7.


Smith, Secret Gospel, p. 114.


Eric F. Osborn, “Clement of Alexandria: A Review of Research, 1958–1982,” The Second Century 3 (1983), p. 224.


Quentin Quesnell, “The Mar Saba Clementine: A Question of Evidence,” Catholic Biblical Quarterly (CBQ) 37 (1975), pp. 48–67. See also his “A Reply to Morton Smith,” CBQ 38 (1976), pp. 200–203.


Smith, “On the Authenticity of the Mar Saba Letter of Clement,” CBQ 38 (1976), pp. 196–199.


Quesnell, “Question of Evidence,” p. 49 n. 4; Quesnell, “Reply,” p. 200; Smith, “Authenticity,” p. 196.


Quesnell, “Reply,” p. 200.


Except for the excerpt from the back cover of The Secret Gospel, the quotations in this paragraph are from Jacob Neusner, “Time to Reexamine Smith’s Altogether-Too-Secret ‘Secret Gospel,’” in his, Are There Really Tannaitic Parallels to the Gospels? A Refutation of Morton Smith (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1993), pp. 27–31; and Jacob Neusner and Noam M.M. Neusner, The Price of Excellence: Universities in Conflict during the Cold War Era (New York: Continuum, 1995), p. 78. An account of Smith’s public dissociation from Neusner can be found in Hershel Shanks, “Annual Meetings Offer Intellectual Bazaar and Moments of High Drama,” BAR 11:02.


Donald Harman Akenson, Saint Saul: A Skeleton Key to the Historical Jesus (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 2000), p. 87; compare p. 85. See also Neusner, Foreword to Birger Gerhardsson, Memory and Manuscript: Oral Tradition and Written Transmission in Rabbinic Judaism and Early Christianity and Tradition and Transmission in Early Christianity (1961 and 1964; reprint; Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1998), p. xxvii: “I need not remind readers of this reprint of the scandal of Smith’s ‘sensational discovery’ of the Clement fragment, the original of which no one but Smith was permitted [sic] to examine.”


Thomas Talley, “Liturgical Time in the Ancient Church: The State of Research,” Studia Liturgica 14 (1982), p. 45. The French original was published in 1981.


Charles W. Hedrick and Nikolaos Olympiou, “Secret Mark: New Photographs, New Witnesses,” The Fourth R 13:5 (2000), pp. 3–11, 14–16. For additional discussion, see John Dart, Decoding Mark (Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press International, 2003), pp. 137–139.


Guy G. Stroumsa, “Comments on Charles Hedrick’s Article: A Testimony,” Journal of Early Christian Studies 11 (2003), pp. 147–153. Additional details are supplied in Bart Ehrman, Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 2003), pp. 83–84.


Very few of these arguments stand up to scrutiny. See ch. 2 of Brown, Mark’s Other Gospel: Rethinking Morton Smith’s Controversial Discovery (Waterloo, Ontario: Wilfrid Laurier Univ. Press, forthcoming).


This point was noted in Charles E. Murgia, “Secret Mark: Real or Fake?” in Longer Mark: Forgery, Interpolation, or Old Tradition? ed. Wilhelm H. Wuellner (Berkeley: Center for Hermeneutical Studies in Hellenistic and Modern Culture, 1976), pp. 35–40.


For example, Helmut Koester, John Dominic Crossan, Hans-Martin Schenke and John Dart. For my critique of this position, see Scott G. Brown, “On the Composition History of the Longer (‘Secret’) Gospel of Mark,” Journal of Biblical Literature 122 (2003), pp. 89–110, and ch. 3 of Mark’s Other Gospel.


Dart, Decoding Mark, pp. 34–43; and Brown, Mark’s Other Gospel, ch. 6.


Robert M. Fowler, Let the Reader Understand: Reader-Response Criticism and the Gospel of Mark (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 1991), p. 143. See also Tom Shepherd, “The Narrative Function of Markan Intercalation,” New Testament Studies 41 (1995), pp. 522–540.


For other interpretations, see Smith, Secret Gospel, pp. 80–81; Marvin Meyer, Secret Gospels: Essays on Thomas and the Secret Gospel of Mark (Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press International, 2003), pp. 127–128, 163–164; Dart, Decoding Mark, pp. 102–114.