Archko forgery ‘fingerprint’

Stephen C. Carlson’s book on “Secret Mark” is a splendid achievement, not least for the way in which it builds up a convincing picture of how a literary faker works and thinks.  I was reminded of it when I received an email from James Irsay, who takes an interest in the Archko volume.  This is one of those curious works which E.J.Goodspeed called “modern apocrypha” — works that profess an ancient origin but are in reality of recent composition and made in order to promote some opinion or (more commonly) to make money.

The Archko volume professes to contain a number of documents from the Vatican library and Constantinople. 

Could I possibly be the only person to have figured out the origin of the elusive and learned professor Whydaman, who allegedly, as an ice bound visitor at the home of the Archko Volume’s author, Rev. W.D. Mahan, told him of the existence of the true “Acta Pilati” in the Vatican?

Even after Goodspeed wrote…

“There are obviously some grave difficulties with Mr. Mahan’s document and his story of how he secured it. To begin with, the name of Henry C. Whydaman does not have a German ring. As Professor Schmiedel, the distinguished scholar of Zurich, has since pointed out, Whydaman is no German name, and Westphalia is not a place but a province.”

How about this—- WHYDAMAN = WDMAHAN (Archko author W.D. Mahan) + “Y’ (as in “WHY” of WHYDAMAN).

This reminded me at least of some of the ‘fingerprints’ that Carlson believes that Morton Smith left in “Secret Mark” for the intelligent to find and be amused at. 

1 Response to “Archko forgery ‘fingerprint’”


  1. Apocryphicity » Blog Archive » Fragments, Agrapha, and Secret Mark

    [...] Much of our discussion of fragmentary gospels focused on Secret Mark. Not a scholar of Secret Mark, I am happy to remain agnostic about the issue of the text’s authenticity. So, my lecture provided the students with an overview of Stephen Carlson’s position that the text is a forgery. Each point of his argument was countered with objections brought forward by Scott Brown and some objections of my own. Scott has become the go-to-guy for rebuttals of the forgery hypothesis advanced by Carlson and, more recently, by Peter Jeffrey. For Scott’s reply to Jeffery, see his lengthy review of Jeffery’s book, The Secret Gospel of Mark Unveiled: Imagined Rituals of Sex, Death, and Madness in a Biblical Forgery at the RBL site and then see Carlson’s response to Brown on Hypotyposeis (and be sure to read the comments from other readers). For another recent post on Secret Mark see Roger Pearse’s comment on Thoughts on Antiquity. [...]



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