James McGrath reviews Tony Burke, ed., Ancient Gospel or Modern Forgery? The Secret Gospel of Mark in Debate: Proceedings from the 2011 York University Christian Apocrypha Symposium. The full review is rather good, very thorough in summarizing the state of the conflict over this text.
The volume illustrates the difficulties involved in drawing conclusions about the authenticity of Secret Mark. If I had read only the papers that call it a forgery, I would be certain they were right. If I had read only the others, it would baffle me how anyone can still think it is a forgery. Reading both, I think that the case for authenticity is significantly stronger.Perhaps it is that the release of my own book, Seen from the Street, after 10 years sitting on the shelf makes me see the explanations that people offer in scholarship and science as insufficient to the mystery that is our lives. I don't know if the Morton Smith fragments are a hoax. I doubt it. Crossan, (Birth of Christianity 1998) and Funk (The Complete Gospels 1992) give them some serious citation. There is no shadow of controversy in these books from the 1990s, yet they too deal only with scholarship, not with experience. I had forgotten how the Secret Gospel may have influenced my writing, not for its content as scholarly, but that it referred to my own knowledge gathered independently of the act of reading.
From the science of OUP comes a post on the importance of testosterone.
Humans have developed unique ways of regulating the primal actions of testosterone. Ethics, laws, social and religious prohibitions – all have been developed to control what it does. These controls have not been devised by the parts of the brain on which testosterone acts, but by more recently evolved areas, responsible for the amazing inventiveness and flexibility of human behaviour. The two domains work together, sometimes in synchrony, at other times in opposition.One could of course put the whole ignorant knowledge base of experience down to accident (not necessarily from fast cars). This is the intent of blind evolution. It should not surprise us that the human can consider both accident and purpose in its imaging of life.
And Tim Bulkeley reposts an old post of his on covering the feet as a Biblical euphemism. wash-your-hairy-feet-or-sometimes-a-foot-is-just-a-foot/. Yes sometimes a foot is just a foot, but not in the passages he cites.
For me the modesty of the angels is a pointer to the love of God. All could be 'explained' of course, but explanation will not do as a substitute for knowledge.