The book of Mark is by far my most favorite of the four gospels. I love its succinct and compacted 16 chapter format and its tendency to hint at and flesh out some of the rougher and real life edges of the life and ministry of Christ. Spitting on the ground and making a muddy clay that he put on the eyes of a blind man he healed ranks as one clear example of this. Another example that has always stood out to me was the naked boy in a towel that seemed to accompany Jesus the night he was betrayed by Judas and taken into custody by the mob. I have always wondered and even studied up on who or what the significance of that naked young man might be.
Enter, stage right, the The Secret Gospel: The Discovery and Interpretation of the Secret Gospel According to Mark by Morton Smith. Here is some copy from the Preface of the book by Morton Smith himself…
This book is the story of a series of discoveries-not only the discovery of a manuscript (which I found in 1958 at the Monastery of Mar Saba in the Judean desert), but also the events that led to the finding and the steps by which, after I had the text, I gradually discovered its significance for the history of the life of Jesus, the course of early Christianity, and the interpretation of the New Testament. The whole story spans more than thirty years, from 1941 to the present.M.S.
The Secret Gospel gives the first real evidence of the method by which Jesus of Nazareth initiated his disciples into the esoteric practices of his teaching. I bought this book a couple of years ago and I finally made time to read it from cover to cover. It can be a little dense and over methodical at times but if you like the book of Mark or have always wondered about the naked young man in a towel that almost got arrested with Jesus then you will probably embrace the spirit in which this book was written. I know I did and while I don’t necessarily agree with the author’s final conclusions about an esoteric baptismal rite I did think his investigation, research, and hermeneutical vigor was genuine and thorough.
I give it 4 stars out of 5! 🙂