From the Publisher
A real-life "Da Vinci Code" detective story set in academia.
A scholarly bombshell. Built on pains-taking research, without any shrillness in tone, Carlson's argument is clear and compelling. Scholars in the field of Christian Origins will have to reckon with it, and many will have to re-think some important matters about the Gospels and the historical Jesus. A wider public will find this a fascinating detective story.
--Larry W. Hurtado, Professor of New Testament Language, Literature & Theology, School of Divinity, New College, University of Edinburgh
The Gospel Hoax uncovers the clues and unmasks the perpetrator of a remarkable feat of deception. Fascinating, compelling and utterly convincing.
--Mark Goodacre, Associate Professor of New Testament, Department of Religion, Duke University.
Secret Mark" is the name given to a portion of a document allegedly uncovered in 1958 on a trip to the monastery of Mar Saba, located near Jerusalem. Purportedly written by Clement of Alexandria to someone called Theodore in the late second or early third century, the document was discovered by Morton Smith, at the time assistant professor of history at Columbia University. Secret Mark caused a stir in the academic community, as it alludes to a homosexual relationship between Jesus and Mark, and casts doubt on the authenticity of portions of the canonized gospel of Mark. Carlson is interested, not just in the authenticity of Secret Mark, but in the issue of historical hoaxes in general. His task is made difficult in that the Mar Saba documents are no longer available for inspection, so he depends on the photographs supplied by Smith. Carlson concludes that Secret Mark is indeed a hoax, and contains clear signs of a 20th-century provenance. Moreover, he points directly at Smith as the perpetrator of the fraud. Utilizing sound historical and linguistic methods, Carlson presents a convincing case for Smith's authorship of Secret Mark. While readers unfamiliar with the critical apparatus scholars use to evaluate ancient texts will find the book challenging, Carlson's presentation of the evidence strongly supports his views. (Nov.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.