Monday, July 25, 2011

The Best Reason to Think the Letter to Theodore Was a Forgery According to Morton Smith

[Morton] Smith is most troubled by one rather unobtrusive discrepancy in syntax in his discovery:

"Since the use of the accusative [with prepositions] increased sharply in the centuries after Clement's work, and that of the dative declined even more sharply, the high relative frequency of accusatives in the letter would be a trait almost certain to be found in a later imitation; it seems to me the chief ground for doubting the letter's authenticity [Morton Smith, Clement of Alexandria and a Secret Gospel of Mark p. 74]

On the other side, a particularly impressive correspondence is the citation of Proverbs 26:5 not according to the Septuagint (ἀποκρίνου ἄφρονι πρὸς τὴν ἐκείνου ἀφροσύνην αὐτῷ) but in the wording that Clement quotes in his Stromata (11338.8 — 9 Stàhlin) ἀποκρίνου τῷ μωρῷ ἐκ τῆς μωρίας αὐτοῦ. [Saul Levin, “The Early History of Christianity, in Light of the 'Secret Gospel' of Mark,” Aufstieg und Niedergang des romischen Welt 2.25.6]

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