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.
SmithThe Secret Gospel13-14. It should be known that Scholem and Smith continued in correspondence for the remainder of their lives and Smith actively sought Scholem’s advice related to the Mar Saba document; see Guy G. Stroumsa (ed.) Morton Smith and Gershom Scholem Correspondence 1945-1982 (Leiden: Brill 2008).
Charles W. Hedrick and Nikolaos Olympiou“Secret Mark,”The Fourth R13.5 (2000) 3. Brown notes that “By the end of the 1970s New Testament scholars still mentioned ‘secret’ Mark in an incidental manner but were generally reluctant to take the gospel too seriously and risk looking foolish should it be proved a fake.” See Scott G. Brown Mark’s Other Gospel: Rethinking Morton Smith’s Controversial Discovery (Waterloo: Wilfred Laurier University Press 2009) 14.
See Per BeskowStrange Tales about Jesus: A Survey of Unfamiliar Gospels (Philadelphia: Fortress1983) 103; Hans-Martin Schenke “The Mystery of the Gospel of Mark” SecCent 4.2 (1984) 71; Jacob Neusner and Noam M.M. Neusner The Price of Excellence: Universities in Conflict during the Cold War Era (New York: Continuum 1995) 78; Craig A. Evans “Morton Smith and the Secret Gospel of Mark: Exploring the Grounds for Doubt” in Ancient Gospel or Modern Forgery?: The Secret Gospel of Mark in Debate ed. Tony Burke (Eugene: Cascade Books 2013) 76; Stephen C. Carlson The Gospel Hoax: Morton Smith’s Invention of the Secret Gospel of Mark (Waco: Baylor University Press 2005) 13-14; Elizabeth A. Clark and J. Patout Burns (eds.) “Special Issue: The Secret Gospel of Mark: A Discussion” jecs 11.2 (2003).
See John Dominic CrossanFour Other Gospels: Shadows on the Contours of Canon (Minneapolis: Winston1985) 10; Marvin W. Meyer “The Youth in Secret Mark and the Beloved Disciple in John” in Gospel Origins & Christian Beginnings: In Honor of James M. Robinson ed. J.E. Goehring et al. (Sonoma: Polebridge Press 1990) 95; Shaye J.D. Cohen review of Are There Really Tannaitic Parallels to the Gospels? by Jacob Neusner jaos 116:1 (1996) 87 n. 9; Brown Mark’s Other Gospel 36-38; Timo S. Paananen “From Stalemate to Deadlock: Clement’s Letter to Theodore in Recent Scholarship” CBR 11.1 (2012) 87-125.
James H. CharlesworthAuthentic Apocrypha: False and Genuine Christian Apocrypha (North Richland Hills: Bibal Press1998) 30-32; James R. Edwards “Appendix: The Secret Gospel of Mark” in James R. Edwards The Gospel According to Mark (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans 2002) 510 n. 2; John Dart Decoding Mark (Harrisburg: Trinity Press International 2003) 138-39. Also see Brown Mark’s Other Gospel 25.
Agamemnon Tselikas“Handwriting Analysis Report: Did Morton Smith Forge ‘Secret Mark’?”Bible History Daily14 October 2009 section “The Presence of Morton Smith”: http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/bible-interpretation/agamemnon-tselikas-handwriting-analysis-report/