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James Randi Educational Foundation

An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural

Introduction | "R" Reading | Curse of the Pharaoh | End-of-the-World Prophecies

Index | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y | Z

Secret Gospel The Secret Gospel refers to a document rediscovered in 1958 by Dr. Morton Smith of Columbia University, the brilliant biblical scholar who upset many previous views of the life of Jesus Christ. It is a lost portion of the St. Mark Gospel, and the contents can be disturbing, according to one's personal philosophy and interpretation of what appears there.
      The Secret Gospel appears to repeat the story of the raising of Lazarus from the dead (as told in John) but without using the name. It also adds an event not previously known and certainly not included in the Gideon's Bible. To quote:  

      . . . going in where the youth was, [Jesus] stretched forth his hand and raised him, seizing his hand. But the youth, looking upon him, loved him and began to beseech him that he might be with him. And going out of the tomb they came into the house of the youth, for he was rich. And after six days Jesus told him what to do and in the evening the youth [came] to him, wearing a linen cloth over his naked body. And he remained with him that night, for Jesus taught him the mystery of the kingdom of God.

      Clement of Alexandria, one of the early fathers of the church, writing in the late eighteenth century about this document (only part of which has been recovered), tells his reader that other references to “'naked man with naked man' . . . are not found [in his copy].” He adds that he has found in his copy the statement:  

      And the sister of the youth whom Jesus loved and his mother and Salome were there, and Jesus did not receive them.

      He went on to give his own interpretation of the story, “the true explanation and that which accords with the true philosophy.” He was anxious to deny any support that this document might offer the Carpocratians, a Gnostic sect that he particularly detested. The faction was prominent in the second century and taught that the Earth was made by angels, but more importantly that one should abandon oneself to every lust with indifference, since by experiencing all varieties of sin, one could become satiated and therefore free of further desire for such activities.
      This notion has been diligently pursued by many, not all of them Carpocratians.

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