Is There a Secret Gospel of Mark? What Does it Mean?

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What is the secret gospel of Mark? What can the suppressed gospels tell us about Jesus?

The secret gospel of Mark is a gospel that some scholars and theologians believe exists, since the discovery of the suppressed gospel of Thomas. While there is no record of the secret gospel, it does raise the question of other suppressed texts.

Read more to find out how the secret gospel of Mark can expose crucial information about Jesus.

The Secret Gospel of Mark

Arguably the most controversial of the Jesus Seminar’s pronouncements was that the Gospel of Thomas, a long marginalized text, should be included in the New Testament canon. The Gospel of Thomas features passages that the Jesus Seminar argues (1) predate the accounts of Jesus found in the canonical gospels and (2) depict a naturalistic Jesus. But what about the secret book of mark?

Scholars associated with the Jesus Seminar have also raised questions about other “secret gospels” that have been discovered, including “Secret Mark” and the “Cross Gospel.” Some Jesus Seminar members have speculated that these secret gospels feature revelations about Jesus that expose him as exclusively mortal.

To most serious scholars of the New Testament, however, these so-called “secret gospels” are simply a distraction. In fact, most aren’t even discoveries: theologians have long known about the Gospel of Thomas—and have dismissed it because it so clearly contravenes the Jesus of the canonical four gospels (see Chapter 3).

The secret book of Mark, according to its proponents, is a longer and more reliable version of the gospel of Mark, one that was suppressed by the early Church. The problem with this assertion is that no copy of the secret book of mark exists, and there’s only the thinnest evidence it ever did exist. Everything we know about “Secret Mark” is contained in a quote from it included in a letter by a second-century author. (And, curiously enough, there’s no existing copy of the letter, either—only a picture taken of it by the mid-twentieth-century scholar who found it.)

(Shortform note: Some contemporary commentators believe that the scholar who photographed the letter actually fabricated it.)

Is There a Secret Gospel of Mark? What Does it Mean?

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Carrie Cabral

Carrie has been reading and writing for as long as she can remember, and has always been open to reading anything put in front of her. She wrote her first short story at the age of six, about a lost dog who meets animal friends on his journey home. Surprisingly, it was never picked up by any major publishers, but did spark her passion for books. Carrie worked in book publishing for several years before getting an MFA in Creative Writing. She especially loves literary fiction, historical fiction, and social, cultural, and historical nonfiction that gets into the weeds of daily life.

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