"The one who is coming after me is stronger than I am. I’m not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire."
Ministry of John the Baptist
3 In those days John the Baptist appeared in the desert of Judea announcing, 2 “ Change your hearts and lives! Here comes the kingdom of heaven! ” 3 He was the one of whom Isaiah the prophet spoke when he said:
4 John wore clothes made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He ate locusts and wild honey.
5 People from Jerusalem, throughout Judea, and all around the Jordan River came to him. 6 As they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River. 7 Many Pharisees and Sadducees came to be baptized by John. He said to them, “ You children of snakes! Who warned you to escape from the angry judgment that is coming soon? 8 Produce fruit that shows you have changed your hearts and lives. 9 And don’t even think about saying to yourselves, Abraham is our father. I tell you that God is able to raise up Abraham’s children from these stones. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be chopped down and tossed into the fire. 11 I baptize with water those of you who have changed your hearts and lives. The one who is coming after me is stronger than I am. I’m not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12 The shovel he uses to sift the wheat from the husks is in his hands. He will clean out his threshing area and bring the wheat into his barn. But he will burn the husks with a fire that can’t be put out. ”
Secret Mark first became known to modern scholarship in 1958 when a newly hired assistant professor at Columbia University in New York by the name of Morton Smith visited the monastery of Mar Saba new Jersualem and photographed its fragments. Secret Mark was announced on the heels of many spectacular discoveries of ancient manuscripts in the Near East, such as the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Nag Hammadi gnostic corpus in the late 1940s and promised to be just as revolutionary. Secret Mark presents what appears to be a valuable, albeit fragmentary, witness to early Christian traditions, traditions that might shed light on Jesus' most intimate behavior. In this book, Stephen C. Carlson uses state-of-the-art science to demonstrate that Secret Mark was an elaborate hoax created by Morton Smith. Carlson's discussion places Smith's devilish trick alongside many other hoaxes before probing the reasons why so many scholars have been taken in by it.