Friday, October 8, 2010

Tentative Timeline For Morton Smith's Activities Leading Up To The Discovery at Mar Saba

b. Rupert Morton Smith b. 1915 to a physician Rupert Henry Smith and Mary (Funk) in Philadelphia. Morton Smith attends the Academy of the New Church but his parents do not appear to have been active members of the Church. This was apparently quite common as the school had a great reputation and was attended by some of the leading families in Philadelphia.
1932 Graduated from the Academy of the New Church with a Son of the Academy gold medal (which is awarded to the graduate who best displays not only academic excellence, but also exemplary moral character)
1936 Graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College
1937 after a year of travel was baptized by the New Church and returned to Harvard Divinity School.
1940 received the STB cum laude from Harvard and won a Sheldon Fellowship to study in Jerusalem
1940 - 1942 held the Sheldon Fellowship
1942 - 1943 was Thayer Fellow at the American School of Oriental Research
1940 - 1944 was a research student at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem
1942 Smith visits Mar Saba for the first time in January/February (Secret Gospel 1)
1945 completed his studies in Israel and returned to the United States and was ordained a deacon for the Episcopal Diocese for Maryland in July
1946 was ordained a priest in March and was employed in Philadelphia before serving in a parish 
1947 in March sent a letter voluntarily resigning his membership in the New Church.
1948 received PhD in classical philology for a thesis Tannaitic Parallels to the Gospels and started work on a second doctorate from 1948–1950 under Werner Jaeger at Harvard, where he became interested in Greek patristic manuscripts. (Secret Gospel 8)  Smith wrote a letter requesting permission to organize a committee to raise money to assist in creating a museum at the Jerusalem Patriarchate. Permission was ultimately granted.  State of Israel established; British Mandate ends.  Arab-Israeli War starts in May.  
1949 moved to a parish in Boston and continued his studies at Harvard. Published article Psychiatric Practice and Christian Dogma (Journal of Pastoral Care 3 (1949), 12-20).  Greek Civil War ends; Anglo-British government established.  Truce established in Arab-Israeli War.  
1950 held teaching position at Brown University until 1955
1951 - 1952 traveled to Greece in search of manuscripts of Isidore of Pelusium, where he inspected, photographed, and transcribed dozens of Greek manuscripts. He visits the monasteries at Cephalonia, Dimitsane, Skiathos, Ιερα Μονη του Ευαγγελισμου, the Library of the Rev. George Rigas, Εκκλησια των τριων ιεραρχων, Yannina
1955 denied tenure at Brown University
1956 held teaching position at Drew University until 1957 and is officially listed as 'non-parochial' meaning that he had his bishop's approval to hold nonecclesiastical employment. In order to maintain this nonparochial status, Smith had to file a written report every year with the bishop of Maryland. As Jeffrey acknowledges Smith kept his filings up to date. Publishes Notes on Collections of Manuscripts in Greece, ΕΠΕΤΗΡΙΣ
1958 held teaching position at Columbia University and visited Jerusalem in the summer and obtained permission from the Patriarch, His Beatitude Benedict, to stay monastery of Mar Saba for two weeks and catalog its manuscript materials (Secret Gospel; Clement 9). One of the monks escorted Smith to the library in the old tower every morning and stayed with him there (Secret Gospel 10). In the library, Smith inspected the books and set aside those that contained manuscript material. After identifying three or four such manuscripts, he was permitted to take them to his cell and study them overnight, and the next morning the materials would be returned. Smith writes of his discovery of the letter to Theodore as follows:
Then, one afternoon near the end of my stay, I found myself in my cell, staring incredulously at a text written in tiny scrawl I had not even tried to read in the tower when I picked out the book containing it. But now that I came to puzzle it out, it began, "From the letters of the most holy Clement, the author of the Stromateis. To Theodore," and it went on to praise the recipient for having "shut up" the Carpocratians. The Stromateis, I knew, was a work of Clement of Alexandria, one of the earliest and most mysterious of the great fathers of the Church—early Christian writers of outstanding importance. I was reasonably sure that no letters of his had been preserved. So if this writing was what it claimed to be, I had a hitherto unknown text by a writer of major significance for early Church history. Besides, it would add something to our knowledge of the Carpocratians, one of the most scandalous of the ''gnostic'' sects, early and extreme variants of Christianity. Who Theodore was, I had no idea. I still don't. But Clement and the Carpocratians were more than enough for one day. I hastened to photograph the text and photographed it three times for good measure.

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