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Old 03-13-2001, 07:42 AM   #41
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rodahi, yes, as usual my points completely blew over your head.

I am tired of these biased misrepresentations of the truth. I have done my homework obviously better than you.

If you had read "The Secret Gospel", then you would know that you are misrepresenting the facts. As a matter of fact, you once again miss the main point. How late did the help of the scholars you mention come?! The book was published in, what, 1973?! He discovered the MS in 1958! He did not have ANYONE secure the manuscript. He did not call ANYONE to help him secure the document for further study such as important radio-carbon dating and spectroscopy.

Finally if you want a list of names, I can surely provide you with a number of scholars who objected to Smith's work!

Please stop misrepresenting the facts and answer the question:

I ask you to explain to me why Smith didn't ask for help in securing this obviously important never-before-heard-of text?! It's hard to escape ulterior motives here. I mean it would have been much more scholarly and appropriate to have involved other scholars and protected his important "find".

Pulling my hair out,
Ish
 
Old 03-13-2001, 09:29 AM   #42
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Ish:
rodahi, yes, as usual my points completely blew over your head.

Again, Ish, you have no "points." All you have is a prejudice against a world-class scholar and his views. If you had any "points," you certainly would have presented them by now.

I am tired of these biased misrepresentations of the truth. I have done my homework obviously better than you.

"Obvious" to whom? You? I have read Smith's book. You have not shown that you have.

If you had read "The Secret Gospel", then you would know that you are misrepresenting the facts. As a matter of fact, you once again miss the main point.

I have MY copy of The Secret Gospel right in front of me as I type this. I just re-read it last night. Where is YOUR copy?

You indicated that Morton Smith asked for no help from scholars. I presented a lengthy list of scholars he asked for help from. How is that a "misrepresentation" of the facts?

How late did the help of the scholars you mention come?!

Morton Smith sought the assistance of numerous (see list) scholars BEFORE he published the results of his discovery and interpretation of Clement's letter. What did you expect him to do, wait until AFTER his books were published?

The book was published in, what, 1973?! He discovered the MS in 1958! He did not have ANYONE secure the manuscript. He did not call ANYONE to help him secure the document for further study such as important radio-carbon dating and spectroscopy.

Apparently, no scholar had any reason to secure the book in which the letter had been written. After all, it is a common practice to analyze photographs of important MSS, rather than the MSS themselves. The Qumran scrolls and fragments are perfect examples. Most scholars have not seen the actual scrolls and fragments themselves, only photographs of them.

Finally if you want a list of names, I can surely provide you with a number of scholars who objected to Smith's work!

Does your list of names demonstrate that Morton Smith has somehow done anything dishonest or inappropriate? Does your list of names contain many who were/are threatened by the implications of Morton Smith's findings and theories?

Please stop misrepresenting the facts and answer the question:

I have "misrepresented" nothing, except in you imagination.

I ask you to explain to me why Smith didn't ask for help in securing this obviously important never-before-heard-of text?!

He took photographs of the book. On page 13 of The Secret Gospel he states: "I hastened to photograph the text and photographed it three times for good measure. Next came the question of identifying the book into the back of which it was written. The front cover and the title page were lost (most of the books of the tower library and lived hard lives), and there was nothing on the spine, but I could see that it was an edition of the letters of St. Ignatius of Antioch (another Church Father). The preface had been signed by the famous seventeenth-century Dutch scholar, Isaac Voss. Voss' work on Ignatius had been published several times, I knew, but it ocurred to me that I could date the edition by photographing the first and last preserved pages and comparing them with complete volumes, so I took those. (The edition eventually turned out to be that of 1646.)"

If he took photographs, as he said he did, then why would anyone immediately, or later, go searching for the book itself? You seem to have forgotten the FACT that the book BELONGED to the Monastary of Bar Saba. Smith's actions were perfectly consistent with those of every other scholar who goes into a sacred library, finds something, and wishes to ultimately share those findings with the outside world. Honest scholars take photographs, not books.

It's hard to escape ulterior motives here.

If that is what you want to find, sure it is. You have presented no evidence demonstrating that he had an ulterior motive. Actually, you have presented no evidence of any kind.

I mean it would have been much more scholarly and appropriate to have involved other scholars and protected his important "find".

Would you please point out where, at any point after his discovery of the Clement letter, in The Secret Gospel he avoided the involvement of ANY scholar! Would you please point out where, at any point after his discovery of the Clement letter, in any scholarly journal that Smith avoided involvement with ANY scholar. Would you please point out where, at any point in time, Smith was reluctant to provide any information or help with respect to the book containing the Clement letter?

You say you have done your homework and yet you have done nothing but present un-evidenced assertions about Morton Smith and questioned his integrity. Also, you have not demonstrated any familiarity with any of his works on the Clement letter.

rodahi

[This message has been edited by rodahi (edited March 13, 2001).]
 
Old 03-13-2001, 06:27 PM   #43
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">rodahi:
Again, Ish, you have no "points." All you have is a prejudice against a world-class scholar and his views. If you had any "points," you certainly would have presented them by now.</font>
This is utterly unobservant. Nomad and I have both presented plenty of points dealing with the strange circumstances surrounding Secret Mark. Since you choose to ignore them, I don't think we can continue rationally.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">rodahi:
I have read Smith's book. You have not shown that you have. I have MY copy of The Secret Gospel right in front of me as I type this. I just re-read it last night. Where is YOUR copy?</font>
This is pure childishness. I've already given you the exact date of its publication. How about his dedication that goes something like "To the one who knows...". What the heck is that supposed to mean? Yet another strange thing that drives one to question Smith's integrity, but then I'm sure you'll try to ignore this point too. I refuse to satisfy your immature assertion by trying to convince you that I have read this book.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
Morton Smith sought the assistance of famous (see list) scholars BEFORE he published the results of his discovery and interpretation of Clement's letter. What did you expect him to do, wait until AFTER his books were published?</font>
You miss the overall point again. It is irrelavant to my overall position that he had some scholars working on the MS shortly before 1973! What bothers me, is that he did not enlist the help of other scholars from the very moment he discovered the MS.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">rodahi:
Apparently, no scholar had any reason to secure the book in which the letter had been written.</font>
This is just plain wrong. Whether some scholars simply look at pictures of the DSS does not matter because they are available for testing (and have been tested, unlike Secret Mark). There are scholars that are drooling and ready to pounce on this MS should it actually show up some day in the forseeable future. Not stooping to your level, I will assume you have done your homework and know that scholars will put this MS through radio-carbon dating and X-Ray Spectroscopy tests (AMS) among other things. Scholars do not all work from pictures alone. If I can obtain an original MS, then you'd better believe I'll look at it over a picture any day.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">rodahi:
Smith's actions were perfectly consistent with those of every other scholar who goes into a sacred library, finds something, and wishes to ultimately share those findings with the outside world. Honest scholars take photographs, not books.</font>
His actions were scholarly up until about the point where he decided not to take measure to make sure this important find didn't disappear. You seem to overlook this because you think an original is not as valuable as a picture of the original. Yeah, right... Oh, and BTW, I'm not suggesting anything immoral or illegal like taking the book from the monastery. There were plenty of actions that he could have taken to secure the MS so that it would not disappear for decades (up till this day even!).

Now, try reading a little about how well liked Smith was in the scholarly community and how he reacted to those who criticized his work. Respectable scholars on Smith.

Not enough, ok, try some quotes from other scholars (yeah, I'm sure you'll think they're just jealous. ).
  • Joseph Fitzmyer - "...venal popularization..." and "...replete with innuendos and eisegesis..." (this is a top-notch scholar, too!)
  • Raymond Brown - "...debunking attitude towards Christianity..." (also, excellent scholar!)
  • Paul J. Achtemeier - "Characteristically, his arguments are awash in speculation." and "...an a priori principle of selective credulity..."
  • Hans Conzelmann - "...science fiction..." and "...does not belong to scholarly, nor even...discussable, literature..."
  • William Beardslee - "...ill-founded..."
  • Frederick Danker - "...in the same niche with Allegro's mushroom fantasies and Eisler's salmagundi."
  • Pierson Parker: "...the alleged parallels are far-fetched..."
  • Helmut Merkel - "Once again total warfare has been declared on New Testament scholarship."
  • Patrick Skehan - "...a morbid concatenation of fancies..."

Now, I feel that I have provided quite enough evidence to place Smith's integrity in question. If a document is ever provided for closer scrutiny, then I might believe it is for real. However, that still won't kill the theory that the document could be a forgery of an ealier time. I'd like to see you prove it is not! Even if real, it would still date after the formation of the canonical gospels. Secret Mark is worth no more to us than any other Agrapha/Apocrypha. Period.

It is not my imagination, rodahi, but my intellectual curiosity at the strange circumstances surrounding the discovery and publication of Secret Mark that lead me to my conclusions. Call my opinions whatever immature thing you can dream up next, but I am not the only one who harbors suspicions, and you know it.

Ish


[This message has been edited by Ish (edited March 13, 2001).]
 
Old 03-14-2001, 10:31 AM   #44
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quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
rodahi:
Again, Ish, you have no "points." All you have is a prejudice against a world-class scholar and his views. If you had any "points," you certainly would have presented them by now.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This is utterly unobservant. Nomad and I have both presented plenty of points dealing with the strange circumstances surrounding Secret Mark. Since you choose to ignore them, I don't think we can continue rationally.

This discussion is between you and me, not between you and Nomad and me. "Strange circumstances" do not constitute evidence.


quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
rodahi:
I have read Smith's book. You have not shown that you have. I have MY copy of The Secret Gospel right in front of me as I type this. I just re-read it last night. Where is YOUR copy?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This is pure childishness.

Okay. And your "points" are childish.

I've already given you the exact date of its publication. How about his dedication that goes something like "To the one who knows...". What the heck is that supposed to mean?

The dedication can be found on several websites. You ARE NOT familiar with the book. Why not admit that you have not read it?

Yet another strange thing that drives one to question Smith's integrity, but then I'm sure you'll try to ignore this point too. I refuse to satisfy your immature assertion by trying to convince you that I have read this book.

Okay. How long ago did you read the book? You show no familiarity with it.


quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Morton Smith sought the assistance of famous (see list) scholars BEFORE he published the results of his discovery and interpretation of Clement's letter. What did you expect him to do, wait until AFTER his books were published?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

You miss the overall point again. It is irrelavant to my overall position that he had some scholars working on the MS shortly before 1973!

You have not read the book, have you? If you had, you would know that most of the scholars I listed began helping him in 1958-1960 and continued helping him each year until 1966. You not only have not read the book, but you completely ignored one of my previous posts.

What bothers me, is that he did not enlist the help of other scholars from the very moment he discovered the MS.

If you had read the book you would know that he approached Professor Gershom Scholem within a few days of his discovery of the letter. See The Secret Gospel, P. 14.

A few days later, he had second thoughts about sharing the letter with others. He writes, "Even before I finished transcribing the text, I began to think it was too good to be true. Here was new information about Jesus a new miracle story, a quotation from a secret Gospel by St. Mark, and the information that Mark had written a second, secret Gospel, and that Clement's church, as well as the Carpocratians, had used it! If the letter was really by Clement I had a discovery of extraordinary importance. But if it was a fake of some sort and I rushed into print with an announcement of a 'great discovery,' I could make myself an internationally conspicuous fool. So I kept my mouth shut." [emphasis mine]Ibid, 18.

A short time later, before going back to the US, Smith approached several experts on Greek: "I asked Dr. Angelou and Dr. Dimaras at the Greek National Foundation, Dr. Kournoutos at the Greek Department of Education, and Dr. Manousakas at the archives of the Greek Academny. They agreed in dating the text to the eighteenth century." Ibid, 22.

Next he spoke to Professor Henry Cadbury and later Professors A.D. Nock and Erwin Goodenough. See pp. 23-25. This is all with months of the discovery. The list of scholars he spoke to is quite extensive and covers the period from 1960 to 1966.

READ THE BOOK.

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
rodahi:
Apparently, no scholar had any reason to secure the book in which the letter had been written.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This is just plain wrong.

Prove it.

Whether some scholars simply look at pictures of the DSS does not matter because they are available for testing (and have been tested, unlike Secret Mark).

And? The book containing the Clement letter has been misplaced.

There are scholars that are drooling and ready to pounce on this MS should it actually show up some day in the forseeable future.

That is today! That was not the case in the sixties and seventies!!!

Not stooping to your level

That would be easy, wouldn't it? Look how low you have stooped before.

I will assume you have done your homework and know that scholars will put this MS through radio-carbon dating and X-Ray Spectroscopy tests (AMS) among other things.

I assume you have done your homework and know that this is something that some, with respect to Smith's book, wish to do today. It simply was not an issue decades ago. It is not an issue among some today.

Scholars do not all work from pictures alone. If I can obtain an original MS, then you'd better believe I'll look at it over a picture any day.

How long have you been a "scholar?"


quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
rodahi:
Smith's actions were perfectly consistent with those of every other scholar who goes into a sacred library, finds something, and wishes to ultimately share those findings with the outside world. Honest scholars take photographs, not books.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

His actions were scholarly up until about the point where he decided not to take measure to make sure this important find didn't disappear.

And you KNOW as a fact that "he decided not to take measure to make sure this important find didn't disappear?"

You seem to overlook this because you think an original is not as valuable as a picture of the original. Yeah, right...

Yeah, right...Would please point where I said that I think photographs are as valuable as the original MS.

Oh, and BTW, I'm not suggesting anything immoral or illegal like taking the book from the monastery.

Of course not! Not you. You just wish to impune the integrity of a dead scholar.

There were plenty of actions that he could have taken to secure the MS so that it would not disappear for decades (up till this day even!).

And you have evidence demonstrating that he did not attempt to do this very thing while he was alive?

Now, try reading a little about how well liked Smith was in the scholarly community and how he reacted to those who criticized his work.

Thanks, I already have.

Respectable scholars on Smith.

If anyone is interested in an exercise in character assassination, read the above. Not one individual presents any evidence demonstrating that Morton Smith was dishonest at any time in his life.

Not enough, ok, try some quotes from other scholars (yeah, I'm sure you'll think they're just jealous. ).


Joseph Fitzmyer - "...venal popularization..." and "...replete with innuendos and eisegesis..." (this is a top-notch scholar, too!)
Raymond Brown - "...debunking attitude towards Christianity..." (also, excellent scholar!)
Paul J. Achtemeier - "Characteristically, his arguments are awash in speculation." and "...an a priori principle of selective credulity..."
Hans Conzelmann - "...science fiction..." and "...does not belong to scholarly, nor even...discussable, literature..."
William Beardslee - "...ill-founded..."
Frederick Danker - "...in the same niche with Allegro's mushroom fantasies and Eisler's salmagundi."
Pierson Parker: "...the alleged parallels are far-fetched..."
Helmut Merkel - "Once again total warfare has been declared on New Testament scholarship."
Patrick Skehan - "...a morbid concatenation of fancies..."


You didn't cite a source here. By the way, are these comments about Morton Smith's integrity or his theories? How many of these comments indicate that Morton Smith was dishonest?

Now, I feel that I have provided quite enough evidence to place Smith's integrity in question.

Quite the contrary. You have shown how low you will stoop to disparage a dead man.

If a document is ever provided for closer scrutiny, then I might believe it is for real.

I certainly doubt it. Especially considering the amount of time and energy you have spent in attempting to demean the character of a deceased world-class scholar.

However, that still won't kill the theory that the document could be a forgery of an ealier time.

Whoever said that it might not be a forgery from an earlier time? Even Smith mentioned the possibility. This discussion IS NOT about the letter, it is about Morton Smith.

I'd like to see you prove it is not! Even if real, it would still date after the formation of the canonical gospels. Secret Mark is worth no more to us than any other Agrapha/Apocrypha. Period.

So, the problem is the contents of the letter! Your prejudice extends beyond Morton Smith. It is now projected onto the MS itself. Do you find the words in this letter to be THAT threatening?

BTW, If you will look back at what I wrote initally, you will find that I said that I was not sure what to make of the MS.

It is not my imagination, rodahi, but my intellectual curiosity at the strange circumstances surrounding the discovery and publication of Secret Mark that lead me to my conclusions.

Oh, come on, Ish. You are blatantly biased and you know it.

Call my opinions whatever immature thing you can dream up next, but I am not the only one who harbors suspicions, and you know it.

Your opinions are nothing more than your opinions. I asked for evidence.

rodahi




[This message has been edited by rodahi (edited March 14, 2001).]
 
Old 03-14-2001, 03:19 PM   #45
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Rodahi

Do you personally give more, less or the same credence to Secret Mark than you do to Joseph Smith's Book of Mormon? Why?

Nomad
 
Old 03-14-2001, 03:23 PM   #46
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Nomad:
Rodahi

Do you personally give more, less or the same credence to Secret Mark than you do to Joseph Smith's Book of Mormon? Why?

Nomad
</font>
It is odd isn't it? I've never seen skeptics fight so hard to defend an ancient religious text.
 
Old 03-14-2001, 05:27 PM   #47
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Nomad:
Rodahi

Do you personally give more, less or the same credence to Secret Mark than you do to Joseph Smith's Book of Mormon? Why?

Nomad
</font>
I will answer your questions, but I will expect an answer to questions of my own.

I think Morton Smith actually believed he had found a legitimate copy of a letter written by Clement. (In other words, I DO NOT think he "bullshitted" anyone. THAT is the issue.) I think this based on a careful reading of his book The Secret Gospel. If nothing else, Morton Smith came across as an honest scholar.

With respect to the letter itself, there is the possibility the letter is a genuine copy. There is the possibility the letter is an ancient forgery or an eighteenth century forgery. The evidence is inconclusive, but I tend to think it is an ancient forgery.

I am totally convinced The Book of Mormon is a work of fiction. I have read Joseph Smith's biography, much of the Book of Mormon, and numerous commentaries on the subject. My conclusions are based on a careful analysis of as much evidence as I could get my hands on. The weight of the evidence clearly demonstrates Joseph Smith perpetrated a fraud.

Now, I have a few questions for you:
1. Do you believe that Jesus' mother was impregnated by anything but human sperm when he was conceived? If not, why not?
2. Do you believe that dead people can come back to life? If so, why?

rodahi

 
Old 03-14-2001, 05:30 PM   #48
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Layman:
It is odd isn't it? I've never seen skeptics fight so hard to defend an ancient religious text. </font>
Who is "defending an ancient religious text?" You seem very eager to jump to conclusions based on nothing more than presuppositons.

rodahi

 
Old 03-14-2001, 06:15 PM   #49
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by rodahi:

Nomad: Do you personally give more, less or the same credence to Secret Mark than you do to Joseph Smith's Book of Mormon? Why?

rodahi: I think Morton Smith actually believed he had found a legitimate copy of a letter written by Clement. (In other words, I DO NOT think he "bullshitted" anyone. THAT is the issue.) I think this based on a careful reading of his book The Secret Gospel. If nothing else, Morton Smith came across as an honest scholar.</font>
So, what you are saying is that in spite of the absense of evidence for what Morton Smith is claiming, you have faith in his integrity. Would that be a fair summation of your position?

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">With respect to the letter itself, there is the possibility the letter is a genuine copy. There is the possibility the letter is an ancient forgery or an eighteenth century forgery. The evidence is inconclusive, but I tend to think it is an ancient forgery. </font>
Fair enough. For what it's worth, I think the letter itself is legit, and the "Secret Gospel" itself that Clement is commenting on is apocryphal heresy.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">I am totally convinced The Book of Mormon is a work of fiction. I have read Joseph Smith's biography, much of the Book of Mormon, and numerous commentaries on the subject. My conclusions are based on a careful analysis of as much evidence as I could get my hands on. The weight of the evidence clearly demonstrates Joseph Smith perpetrated a fraud.</font>
I agree, however, he has far more witnesses for his gold tablets than does Morton Smith for his Clementine letter. External evidence for both is so completely absent, however, that I consider both to be hoaxes BoM being relatively modern, and SM being very ancient.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Now, I have a few questions for you:
1. Do you believe that Jesus' mother was impregnated by anything but human sperm when he was conceived? If not, why not?</font>
First, I believe that Jesus was conceived and born of a virgin on the basis that an omnipotent God that created the entire universe from nothing could easily produce a virgin conception and birth. Second, we have two independent traditions for the virgin birth of Jesus (since neither Matthew nor Luke could have been relying upon one another). We also have no evidence that anyone from Jesus' time believed differently. Forth, the virgin birth was consistent with ancient Jewish prophecy and expectations for the Messiah to be born of a virgin. Finally, Church tradition is clear on this point, and affirms that the birth of Jesus, was, in fact, of a virgin.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">2. Do you believe that dead people can come back to life? If so, why?</font>
Yes I do. Again, I do not see why such a thing would not be possible for an omnipotent Creator God. Second, the tradition of the dead coming back to life is extremely ancient in Judaism and Christianity. Third, we have at a minimum, three independent accounts of the physical Resurrection of Jesus (Paul, Mark and John). Forth, the Church has affirmed the authenticity of the Resurrection of Jesus, and sees it as the historical demonstration and proof of what will happen to all of us in the future.

Nomad
 
Old 03-14-2001, 06:20 PM   #50
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Nomad,

I think you are correct to note "at a minimum" when referring to our sources regarding Jesus. There is definitely special M and L material about Jesus' resurrection. The question is whether or not it is from an independent source or mere fabrication. Given the uniqueness of some of Luke's accounts, and his tendency to rely on established sources, I am confident that his special material derives from a preexisting, and apparently independent, tradition regarding the resurrection.
 
 

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