The Nation: Creepy Review of Morton Smith's Secret Gospel Hoax

I find the picture of Smith creepy. I find even more creepy the treatment in The Nation by Anthony Grafton of the work of Morton Smith as if there were equal grounds to yet construe his secret gospel authentic ("Gospel Secrets: The Biblical Controversies of Morton Smith").

Dear reader there is no question that Smith defrauded the academic community in a hoax of Bernie Madoff proportions.

I dunno why Grafton still makes the case that the work might be authentic. He should have stopped here after his (admittedly weak) summary of why it is doubted.
In 1975 Quentin Quesnell, a Catholic New Testament scholar, argued that the manuscript was a modern forgery--presumably, though he did not say so directly, the work of Smith. This theory has continued to find supporters. Two recent books--The Gospel Hoax, by a lawyer named Stephen Carlson, and The Secret Gospel of Mark Unveiled, by Peter Jeffrey, a Princeton musicologist, MacArthur Fellow and renowned expert on the history of liturgy--argue that Smith composed the text. The sexual undertones of the document have led some to suggest, explicitly or by innuendo, that Smith, a gay man, forged the text for personal reasons. In fact, Smith laid relatively little emphasis on the document's sexual implications, as opposed to the more general evidence, as he saw it, that Christ taught salvation through sin. But Jeffrey, in the course of an intricate, minutely detailed analysis, argues that Smith deliberately made his case by indirection, distracting readers from his true purpose as a magician distracts the members of his audience.
The rest of the Grafton case meanders -- perhaps he too tries to distract us. Let's not be fooled again by Smith. It's a fraud.

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