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The Apocryphal New Testament Easy to use collection of English translations of the New Testament Apocrypha.

The ‘Secret’ Gospel of Mark

J. K. Elliott

The novelty value of this text and of the reporting of its find justifies the mention of it in this collection, but its antiquity and genuineness are questioned by many scholars. It was discovered by Morton Smith at Mar Saba monastery near Jerusalem in 1958 on the endpapers of a seventeenth‐century book. The handwritten text dates from the eighteenth century and contains an otherwise unknown letter by Clement of Alexandria. Within the text are two citations that claim to come from a longer text of Mark than is found in manuscripts of the canonical Gospel. The main text in Marcan‐style Greek tells of Jesus' raising a youth from the dead. The story has parallels with the Lazarus story of the Fourth Gospel.

Text and Descriptions

  • M. Smith, Clement of Alexandria and a Secret Gospel of Mark (Cambridge, Mass. 1973). — The Secret Gospel: The Discovery and Interpretation of the Secret Gospel According to Mark (New York, 1973).

Modern Translations


  • Cameron, 67–71.

  • Hennecke5, i. 106–9.


  • Éac, 57–69.


  • Hennecke5, i. 89–92 (H. Merkel).


  • Erbetta, i.2, 342–3 (introduction).


  • R. E. Brown, ‘The Relation of “The Secret Gospel of Mark” to the Fourth Gospel’, CBQ 36 (1974), 466–85.

  • F. F. Bruce, The ‘Secret Gospel’ of Mark (London, 1974) (= The Ethel M. Wood Lecture 1974); repr. F. F. Bruce, The Canon of Scripture (Glasgow, 1988), 298–315.

  • J. D. Crossan, Four Other Gospels (Minneapolis, 1985).

  • S. Levin, ‘The Early History of Christianity in the Light of the “Secret Gospel” of Mark’, ANRW 2.25.6, 4270–92.

  • F. Neirynck, ‘The Apocryphal Gospels and the Gospel of Mark’, in J.‐M. Sevrin (ed.), The New Testament in Early Christianity (Leuven, 1989), 123–75, esp. 168–70, which include the text of ‘Secret’ Mark (= BETL 86).

  • M. W. Meyer, ‘The Youth in the Secret Gospel of Mark’, in R. Cameron (ed.), The Apocryphal Jesus and Christian Origins (Atlanta, 1990), 129–53 (= Semeia 49). [Cf. response by J. D. Crossan ibid. 161–7 .]

Citation I (Follows Mark 10: 32–4 ):

And they came to Bethany, and there was a woman there whose brother had died. She came and prostrated herself before Jesus and said to him: ‘Son of David, pity me.’ The disciples rebuked her, and Jesus in anger set out with her for the garden where the tomb was. Immediately a loud voice was heard from the tomb, and Jesus approached and rolled the stone away from the entrance to the tomb. And going in immediately where the young man was he stretched out his hand and raised him up, taking him by the hand. The young man looked on him and loved him, and began to beseech him that he might be with him. They came out of the tomb and went into the young man's house, for he was rich. After six days Jesus laid a charge upon him, and when evening came the young man came to him, with a linen robe thrown over his naked body; and he stayed with him that night, for Jesus was teaching him the mystery of the kingdom of God. When he departed thence, he returned to the other side of the Jordan.

Citation II (Follows Mark 10: 46a):

And there was the sister of the young man whom Jesus loved and his mother and Salome; and Jesus did not receive them.

Note that the Greek text is set out in O. Stählin, Clemens Alexandrinus 2nd ed. by U. Treu IV Register part 1 (Berlin, 21980) pp. xvii–xviii (= GCS).

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