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.