Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tony Burke Has an Interesting Article on Secret Mark

After refuting my friend Bob Price's basically lazy rejection of the Letter to Theodore Burke moves on to this:

Juxtapose Price’s treatment of Secret Mark by E. R. Smith’s lengthy treatment in The Temple Sleep of the Rich Young Ruler. E. R. Smith approaches the text through a particular theological perspective—namely, the “spiritual science” of Rudolf Steiner’s Anthroposophy. I admit to no attraction to Steiner’s theology, nor to any theology as a method for reading and interpreting ancient texts, but that does not detract from the value of E. R. Smith’s appendix on Secret Mark scholarship (p. 208-265). This is the first lengthy evaluation of recent major works on the text by Scott Brown, Stephen Carlson, Peter Jeffery, Allan Pantuck, and Francis Watson. Admittedly, it is somewhat one-sided: E. R. Smith heaps criticism upon Jeffery and Carlson, but (again admittedly, for my part) the criticism is deserved. Particularly captivating is E. R. Smith’s careful refutation of Carlson’s arguments for forgery (or, as Carlson prefers, hoax); Carlson approached the problem as a lawyer, not a scholar, and Smith counters with arguments demonstrating his own legal expertise. E. R. Smith includes also the first published comments by Roy Kotansky, a scholar who knew Smith, about Smith’s Greek capabilities—apparently sorely inadequate for forging the document (these comments were e-mailed by Kotansky to Scott Brown)—and E. R. Smith’s and Brown’s discovery that Smith did not understand the geographical setting for the resurrection story in Secret Mark even five years after its discovery. E. R. Smith also responds to the recent handwriting analyses commissioned by BAR and to Carlson’s misuse of professional document examiner Julie C. Edison’s letter to him about his methods (discussed in an on-line article by Brown and Pantuck on Salainan Evankelista). 

 The full article is here.

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