Monday, August 28, 2017

Co-Authored Paper Published in Vigiliae Christianae

Quentin Quesnell’s Secret Mark Secret 
A Report on Quentin Quesnell’s 1983 trip to Jerusalem and his inspection of the Mar Saba Document
Authors: Stephan Hüller and Daniel N. Gullotta
Source: Vigiliae Christianae, Volume 71, Issue 4, pages 353 – 378 Publication Year : 2017
DOI: 10.1163/15700720-12341305 ISSN: 0042-6032 E-ISSN: 1570-0720
Document Type: Research Article Subjects: Biblical Studies Keywords: Mar Saba; papyrology; early Christian apocrypha; Quentin Quesnell; Morton Smith; Letter to Theodore; Secret Mark
Unbeknownst to most, in June of 1983, Quentin Quesnell made a visit to Jerusalem in order to personally inspect the Mar Saba document known as the Letter to Theodore. This is significant because it adds Quesnell to a small group of people who have testified to have seen the Letter to Theodore in person, and an even smaller group who have commented on its appearance and contents first-hand. Following Quesnell’s death in 2012 many of his personal belongings were acquired by Smith College (Northampton) and recently released to the public for viewing. Among Quesnell’s belongings was a journal full of notes, along with photos and letters to his wife Jean Higgins, all relating to Morton Smith’s discovery of the Letter to Theodore at Mar Saba and to Quesnell’s 1983 visit to Jerusalem. On the basis of these documents the following article offers a summary of Quesnell’s part in the debate over Smith’s discovery and a report of his inspection of the manuscript. 
I tell my son how important hard work and discipline are.  The fact that I only possess the former quickly led me to seek out someone who possessed the latter.  So it was that I brought Daniel into this project.  I had meticulously tracked down all the loose threads related to this story.  Daniel brought a few more, like interviewing Adela Yarbro Collins - the most important link in this bizarre chain.  In the end we produced a work which I believe is one of the few academic papers that is truly universal in its appeal.

There really is a fascinating story at the heart of this paper.  I think someone could even make a movie - admittedly an 'art house' film - about the situation described in Jerusalem in 1983.  Here you have three pivotal characters in scholarship - Morton Smith, Quentin Quesnel, Helmut Koester - engaged in what is perhaps the final chapter of the story of the Letter to Theodore.  Two of them on the outside of the real story; one on the inside holding back his secret - his great secret - about the very document the other two are struggling to understand.  They say that truth is stranger than fiction.  Here certainly is one such example of that saying.

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