Photo by Kallistos Dourvas

THE MANUSCRIPT. The controversial text that Smith discovered was a Greek manuscript written on the endpages of a 17th-century book. The apparently 18th-century handwriting recorded a copy of a previously unknown letter from Clement of Alexandria to someone named Theodore. Clement was a second-century Church Father who spoke out against a Gnostic-Christian group called the Carpocratians (after their leader, Carpocrates). In the letter found at Mar Saba, Clement instructs Theodore to refute the teachings of these Carpocratians. According to Clement, Mark added some passages to his earlier gospel, which were intended only for those who were spiritually advanced in the faith. The Carpocratians had gotten their hands on this secret gospel, however, and twisted the words and meanings to suit their own debauched practices. Clement therefore quotes two sections of “Secret Mark” in the letter to clarify the authentic text. The portion outlined in red in this photo is part of the quoted material.