I have followed with interest your coverage of Secret Mark and the allegations of forgery against Morton Smith.a My college major was essentially Morton Smith—I took every course of his that I could—and we kept in contact for the rest of his life. He was so rigorous in his scholarship, and honest to a fault, that it is just inconceivable to me that he would have resorted to fraud, nor can I believe that he would have diabolically used and defrauded such teachers and friends of his as Elias Bickerman, Henry Cadbury, Judah Goldin, Saul Lieberman, Arthur Darby Nock, Gershom Scholem and Krister Stendahl, to all of whom he was deeply indebted for advice on the bookb and for other kinds of support. A while ago I asked my colleague Robert Kraft, emeritus professor of religious studies at the University of Pennsylvania and an expert on early Christianity who was in regular contact with Morton over the years, what he thought about the issue. His assessment of Morton was identical, and he added that practically the only people accusing Morton of fraud are people who didn’t know him. That sums it up well!

So I’m glad you have tackled the issue and done so in such a fair and substantive way. It goes without saying that I agree with your conclusion that Morton Smith did not forge the document.

Jeffrey H. Tigay
Emeritus Ellis Professor of Hebrew and Semitic Languages and Literatures
Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania