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Monday, April 26, 2010

The Authenticity of “Secret Mark”

[To read more about Secret Mark, see here.]

Handwriting Expert Weighs In on the Authenticity of “Secret Mark”

April 26, 2010
Biblical Archaeology Review


WASHINGTON D.C. (April 26, 2010)—Handwriting Expert Weighs In on the Authenticity of “Secret Mark.”

A number of scholars have concluded that Columbia University professor Morton Smith forged the famous Clement letter containing “Secret Mark,” two passages from a secret—and different—copy of the Gospel of Mark. In a four-part treatment in Biblical Archaeology Review (BAR), including contributions by eminent New Testament scholars Helmut Koester and Charles Hedrick, BAR concluded that Smith, now dead, was innocent.

Oddly enough, despite the scores of articles and books that have been written on the subject, no one had bothered to consult a handwriting expert in the language in which the alleged forged letter is written: Greek. BAR has now done so by retaining Venetia Anastasopoulou, an internationally known Greek handwriting expert who has frequently testified before Greek courts on matters of handwriting analysis and graphology.

Venetia Anastasopoulou is a member of the National Association of Document Examiners (U.S.A.) and the International Graphology Association (U.K.). She holds a Certificate in Forensic Sciences from the University of Lancashire (U.K.) and a diploma in Handwriting Analysis from the International Graphology Association (U.K.). BAR retained her to compare the handwriting in which the Clement letter was written with Greek handwriting known to be Smith’s.

In her 36-page report, now available for download on the BAR Web site, Anastasopoulou compares numerous letters, parts of letters and words in the Clement letter with Smith’s Greek handwriting, and concludes that “It is highly probable that Morton Smith could not have simulated the document of ‘Secret Mark.’”

Visit to download a full copy of Anastasopoulou’s handwriting analysis of “Secret Mark.”

For additional information, please visit or contact Dorothy D. Resig at 1.800.221.4644. ext. 242.

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