Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Impressions of the Recent Secret Mark Conference From the Point of View of a Supporter of the 'Hoax Hypothesis'

I have never even heard of Sarah Veale before. She is a apparently a Toronto writer and religious studies student who came into the conference supporting the hoax hypothesis. Her report on the conference is linked here. But that's what makes her impressions of the recent Secret Mark conference all the more impressive. While she liked Bruce Chilton's presentation she also had to concede:

Allan Pantuck really knocked his presentation out of the park by presenting the most solid case for authenticity. The reason? Smith could not have forged Secret Mark with his subpar Greek skills. Pantuck catalogued letters from Smith to his mentors, meticulously dating Smith’s foreign language acquisition and bringing in expert testimony on Smith’s handwriting. This was a really impressive and thorough exposition.

This is the impression that I get from all who attended - the one person on the panel who is not a 'profession' religious scholar made the biggest impression. But that's not surprising when you really think about it. The question as to whether Morton Smith forged the text really lies outside the expertise of all the panelists. None of them are forensic document examiners, paleographers or experts on the writings of Clement of Alexandria.

A guy that was smart enough to graduate from medical school and has at least some familiarity with Morton Smith should be every bit the equal of humanities professors. Veale's comments are well worth reading especially how "shocked" she was "at how the critique could quickly go from congenial to acerbic."

As a Canadian ex-pat, you can tell she's Canadian just reading the review.  The reporting is too fair and objective.  Some might say that's because of her training as a journalist.  But have you seen what happened to American journalistic integrity lately?  In any event, well worth the read.

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