Friday, August 27, 2010

Morton Smith Wasn't the Only Scholar to Destroy All His Manuscripts Before His Death

Here's something I came across at the Wikipedia entry for Michel Foucault - "Prior to his death, Foucault had destroyed most of his manuscripts, and in his will had prohibited the publication of what he might have overlooked." So there you go - another guy who didn't want the rest of the world to see how stupid he really was when no one was looking.

I know what Smith's critics are going to say - 'Foucault was gay.' But so is Elton John. You don't think that when Elton is on his deathbed he's going to destroy all the ridiculous recordings of him high in the studio or having a temper tantrum? But again this isn't a gay thing - it's a 'very successful person thing.'

All successful people are narcissistic. They walk around with a sense of how history will judge them. As such they don't want people to know how banal their thoughts and behavior can be.

Indeed there isn't an iota of evidence which suggests that Morton Smith was a homosexual. All this does point to the methodology of his critics. The gay innuendo just serves as the 'gateway' to accusations of other 'perverted activity.' The destruction of Smith's own manuscripts before his death becomes a new 'proof' for suspicion about his 'involvement' in the 'crime' of the discovery of Secret Mark.

Indeed here's another example of what happens when you don't destroy your personal notes. the story of Friedrich Nietzsche and his sister's misleading assembly of his unpublished notes in der Wille zur Macht:

Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche compiled The Will to Power from Nietzsche's unpublished notebooks, and published it posthumously. Because his sister arranged the book based on her own conflation of several of Nietzsche's early outlines, and took great liberties with the material, the consensus holds that it does not reflect Nietzsche's intent. Indeed, Mazzino Montinari, the editor of Nietzsche's Nachlass, called it a forgery in The 'Will to Power' does not exist. For example, Elisabeth removed aphorism 35 of The Antichrist, where Nietzsche rewrote a passage of the Bible (see The Will to Power and Nietzsche's criticisms of anti-Semitism and nationalism).

Nietzsche had long lost his marbles at the time he died. His sister's collection of Nietzschean notes became one of Hitler's favorite books.

This doesn't mean that Smith's notes would have been misused in the same way. Yet the idea that someone has to be involved in a 'crime' to want to destroy all the stupid things he wrote down before his death, is just ridiculous.

I thank God every day I'm not a notable person. That way I won't have to bother taking the extraordinary step of destroying all the embarrassing information on my various hard drives.  I must have one hundred attempts at writing a fictional narrative involving Marcus Julius Agrippa and his sister. Again thank God I am not famous ...

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