Sunday, December 25, 2011

Is Professor Markus Vinzent Inching His Way to Seeing 'Secret Mark' as the Marcionite Gospel?

Probably not.   Nevertheless there are so few people who take Marcion seriously out there.  Now Vinzent is noticing something I have talked about for months here - the fact that there were two gospels in the Marcionite tradition.  I know it is still a leap to get to the understanding that the Mar Saba document discovered by Morton Smith in 1958 has anything to do with this phenomenon.  Nevertheless it is difficult to find any support for what Tertullian, Irenaeus (and by implication pseudo-Hippolytus) all say about a shortened gospel (of Luke) and a longer gospel (of Mark) outside of this 'letter to Theodore.'  Do the Patristic reports about the Marcionite tradition prove that the Letter to Theodore is authentic?   No perhaps not but there is an underlying 'agreement' here which has to be explained by those who claim the document was forged in the modern era by the discoverer Morton Smith.  Indeed I think that this 'agreement' - i.e. that both the Marcionite and Alexandrian traditions used a 'short' and 'long' gospel - will ultimately help convince the scholars of tomorrow to accept the document as genuine.

Indeed when I had my recent discussion with Father Aristarchos of the Jerusalem Patriarchate his argument consisted of reinforcing that the document must be a forgery because it contradicts the inherited orthodoxy of his ancestors.  I was polite of course.  I am still holding out hope that he releases the manuscript that I am convinced that he still has in his possession.  Nevertheless, I found it reassuring to see that this is what is really behind all the opposition to this discovery.  Of course we are above these concerns.  We already engaged in heresy by searching after heretics like Marcion ...

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