Secret Mark, the shrouded youth at the tomb, and the Beloved Disciple
Morton Smith, a Columbia University professor, claimed that he found a Letter by St. Clement of Alexandria about a longer version of Mark's gospel. This longer version is called "Secret Mark", and in the alleged Letter, St. Clement quotes a story in it where Jesus seems to raise a young man buried in a tomb. The young man then loves Jesus and receives instruction from Him in sacred mysteries while wearing only a cloth. The story resembles the raising of Lazarus in major ways, eg. Secret Mark says that Jesus loved the youth, and in John's gospel, Lazarus is one of a small number of individuals whom Jesus is specified to love. Further, if Mark's gospel and John's gospel are lined up chronologically, the story of the youth in the tomb would fit in John's gospel about the same place that the story of Lazarus' raising appears. A translation of St. Clement's alleged Letter can be found at this link:

However, I have come to believe that Morton Smith's alleged discovery, including "Secret Mark", is a forgery, most likely created by M. Smith or someone associated with him. This is because to accept Smith's discovery as legitimate, one must also accept numerous unlikely aspects in the story of the manuscript's discovery. "Secret Mark", along with St. Clement's alleged Letter and the story of its discovery also share parallels (some of them interesting and entertaining) with literature that likely inspired M. Smith to create his forgery. In the course of learning about "Secret Mark", I became especially interested in one of the issues that the forged story about the youth in the tomb touches upon: the identities of Lazarus, the rich young man in Matt. 19, the robed youth(s) at Gethsemane and at Jesus' tomb, and the Beloved Disciple. In trying to sort out their identities, I read through all Aquinas' Golden Chain's commentaries on their mentions in Scripture, and am curious to know how you identify these figures.

The series of coincidences required for "Secret Mark's" authenticity include that:
(A) An alleged early Christian ritual practice - private gnostic-style instruction involving possibly disrobing and in my reading of the passage, homosexual activity - that was unknown or very rarely known until M. Smith's 20th c. discovery, was related in
(B) a gospel version (Secret Mark) that was unknown or very rarely known until the 20th c. discovery; the gospel version being related in
(C ) a Second century Letter by a self-identified Clement of Alexandria (a "Pseudo-Clement" being also known in Church literature), unknown to the public until M. Smith's 20th century discovery, addressed to
(D) "Theodore" a Second century Christian leader (since he was able to take measures against the heretical version of "Secret Mark"), whose identity is unknown today; the letter being preserved
(E) in a flawless 18th century copy, which was unknown until Smith's 20th c. discovery, and which had been made in
(F) the back of a 17th century book of Ignatius' epistles, a book missing from lists of Mar Saba's books catalogued before the mid-20th c. discovery the book, first catalogued by
(G) Morton Smith, a professor whose research had already linked topics also found in the Letter, eg. "the Kingdom of God", Mark's gospel, secretive early Christian rituals, and Clement of Alexandria. (Smith's articles being titled: "Tannaitic Parallels to the Gospels", "Comments on Taylor's Commentary on Mark", "The Image of God: Notes on the Hellenization of Judaism, with Especial Reference to Goodenough's Work on Jewish Symbols"). Ben Smith notes that Stephen Carlson
Quote:finds a paragraph in Morton Smith himself, Tannaitic Parallels to the Gospels, pages 155-156, connecting the mystery of the kingdom in Mark 4.11 with secret teachings on forbidden sexual relationships. ...In the spring of 1958, Smith, who rarely wrote about Clement of Alexandria before, published a piece linking Clement’s notion of secrecy to T. Hag. 2.1[on forbidden sexual relations]... In his lengthy 1955 review of Vincent Taylor’s commentary on Mark, Smith suggested the existence of a common source behind Mark and John. Three years later, Smith would possess a new text with a form critically primitive version of the raising of Lazarus that lends support to Smith’s prior suggestion. (
M. Smith went on to write the book "Jesus the Magician", which like the seeming secretive sexual practices in Secret Mark, would tend to be unsettling or embarrassing for traditional modern-day Christians. The description for Smith's book "Jesus the Magician" on Google says:
"This book challenges traditional Christian teaching about Jesus. While his followers may have seen him as a man from heaven, preaching the good news and working miracles, Smith asserts that the truth about Jesus is more interesting and rather unsettling." (

I believe that even canonical Mark has a chiastic structure, and John Dart's book Decoding Mark laid out a chiastic outline of Mark's Gospel in a way that the passage from Secret Mark would fit. This would suggest that Secret Mark is a legitimate part of the original version of Mark's Gospel. I am curious if there have been rebuttals to this theory about Secret Mark contributing to Mark's chiastic structure. I believe that there have been other outlines made of a chiastic structure in Mark that don't include "Secret Mark's" passage.

One of the most interesting aspects for me about the text and the story of its discovery are the coincidences that they share with earlier literature. One might explain the coincidences by proposing that the literature served as inspiration for a forgery by Morton or by someone associated with him:
(A) In ''The Mystery of Mar Saba'' by James H. Hunter (1940), a British detective, "Moreton", opposes the efforts of Nazis to plant a fake document at Mar Saba monastery that would undermine Christianity, whereas in real life, ''Morton'' Smith later claimed to have discovered the Mar Saba letter that in the view of many readers (including myself) would tend to be unsettling for its description of alleged homosexual occult early Christian rituals, and Morton Smith did go on to write the book ''Jesus the Magician'' that would reference the Letter briefly and also tend to undermine traditional Christian views.
(B) The Letter that M. Smith presented had been written into a copy of Isaac Vossius’ 1646 printed edition of Ignatius of Antioch's letters, which Bruce Chilton noted is itself relevant to the issue of forgery. Chilton may have referred to how there is a forged, Arian version of Ignatius' letters. As Ben Smith noted, Stephen Carlson "echoes Bart Ehrman in finding irony in the fact that the Clementine letter was found at the end of a 1646 edition of the genuine epistles of Ignatius by Isaac Voss, a text intended to weed out forged members of the Ignatian corpus."(
(C ) In 1936, Otto Stahlin published a compendium of Clement of Alexandria's vocabulary and phrases, making it more practical for a later forger to draft documents and misatribute them to Clement of Alexandria. As Ben Smith observes, Morton Smith had a copy with his own marginal notes.(
(D) Angus Wilson's 1956 novel ''Anglo-Saxon Attitudes'' narrates the false discovery of a phallic fertility symbol in the grave of the seventh-century bishop Eorpwald, a disciple of the English Archbishop Theodore. In the novel, an archeologist planted the symbol to discredit the site's excavator and other scholars. According to Philip Jenkins, ''“much of the book depicts English gay subculture... By faking the discovery, [the archeologist] was subverting the heroic image that the modern-day church has of its founders... To a large degree, he succeeded, as scholars so uniformly accepted these bizarre claims and integrated them into their understanding of medieval faith.”'' ( If M. Smith forged the Mar Saba Letter a few years after the novel was published, it could explain the source of the bishop "Theodore" in the letter. Tony Burke notes that "Jenkins sees a number of parallels between Wilson’s novel and Smith’s discovery: a forgery planted in an early Christian site, the association with the name Theodore, underground controversial clandestine practices, and accusations of sorcery (against Eorpwald in the novel, and against Jesus in Smith’s monograph Jesus the Magician)"(, although Burke thinks that the coincides are unrelated to M. Smith's discovery.
(E) According to Andrew Criddle, in ''The Codex'' (published 1954 in a journal and separately in 1955), the scholar C.H. Roberts suggested that a very early manuscript of Mark played a central role in the beginning of Egyptian Christianity. A few years later in 1958, M. Smith made his alleged discovery of the Mar Saba Letter, which described Egyptian Christians as using "Secret Mark". Decades later in ''The Birth of the Codex'' (1983), Roberts largely retracted his theory of the early version of Mark.

More direct potential sources, references, or parallels to the content in Secret Mark include:
(A) The canonical gospels' stories of Lazarus' raising, the rich young man, the shrouded youth in Gethsemane and at the tomb, and the Beloved Disciple. I understand that there is mystery with the stories of the shrouded youth and the Beloved Disciple, but I don't find them necessarily and unintentionally "incoherent" like the Wikipedia entry suggests. I think that gospel authors sometimes left elements of their story deliberately mysterious or unclear, like the story of the water carriers at Jerusalem's gates. So I don't find the seeming mystery in the canonical account as necessarily an indication of a secret version of Mark's gospel that cleared up those issues. John the evangelist is apparently the Beloved Disciple according to John 21. The robed youth in tomb whom the women see in Mark 16 certainly isn't the Beloved Disciple whom those women tell about the tomb angels in John 20. But the robed youth at the tomb appears to be the angel that the women meet in Matthew 28, and thus probably one of the tomb angels in Luke 26 and John 20. Based on the resemblance between the story of the tomb angel and the youth, I guess that they are the same person as the angel in Gethsemane and the youth who loses his robe there.
(B) According to Stephen Huller and some others, Irenaeus (late 2nd c.) knew of Secret Mark (
(C ) Morton Smith had written a 1949 article on Protestant and Catholic debates on whether Clement of Alexandria endorsed selective lying, and this relates to the Mar Saba letter's instructions to dishonestly (according to the Letter) deny Secret Mark's authenticity to gnostics.
(D) Origen (late 2nd-early 3rd c.) cited the Clementine Recognitions as telling a story of Clement of Rome taking Barnabas and educating him overnight in the mysteries, IIRC, according to a discussion on the Early Writings forum.
(E) Nonnus of Panopolis (late 4th-5th c.) may have construed the Staphylus/Botrys episode based on something like Secret Mark, according to K. Spanoudakis, as Roger Viklund mentioned in the Wikipedia article's talk section.
(F) Y. Kuchinsky suggested that 2 fourteenth-century sources by Abu-'l-Barakat and a tenth-century writing by Macarius show knowledge of Secret Mark, as R. Viklund mentioned also.
(G) Kuchinsky claims the Middle English (1150-1470) Magdalene Gospel resembles Secret Mark: Ben Smith notes:
Quote:The canonical version of John 11.3 [the story of Lazarus' raising] has nothing about mercy; in the secret gospel, however, the sister of the dead youth says: Υιε Δαβιδ, ελεησον με (son of David, have mercy on me). The Magdalene gospel (Pepys 2498, often called the Pepysian harmony) also has an appeal for mercy: ...wepeande and cryeande hym mercy. [T]he line is a straight copy of Mark 10.47-48 (and, if Smith was the forger, that is where he would have found the line) ...Both the Magdalene gospel and the secret gospel of Mark heighten the relationship between the deceased and Jesus, as compared with the canonical account in John 11.1-44. But this kind of parallel is gossamer. One of the intertextual connections either fabricated or exploited in the secret gospel of Mark is the link between the rich man (whom Jesus loved) in Mark 10.17-22 and Lazarus (whom Jesus loved) in John 11.1-44. The love of Jesus for these two men is almost certainly one of the main things that guided the course of this pericope in the first place. It is only natural that the secret gospel should have something to say about the love between the youth and Jesus. (
I think that Morton Smith could have had an interest in peripheral renderings of stories like Lazarus' raising in the Magdalene gospel and could have used them to construct Secret Mark.
(H) Shem Tov's version of Matthew (c.1385) has places that resemble passages from Secret Mark, as R. Viklund has mentioned.(
(I) Whereas the typical early Christian model for initiation seemed to be a catechumenate period, followed by water baptism, "Secret Mark" seems to present a motif where the young man is raised from the dead out of a tomb and then learns secret mysteries from Jesus. This motif reminds me of Freemasonry's ritual initiation, where the initiate is "raised a mason" out of a coffin and then given secret teachings. (See eg.: Death, Burial and Resurrection in the Masonic Lodge,
(J) PeterJeffrey
Quote:detects slips, or deliberate insertions, that imply modern authorship. In his view the three features of Secret Mark's initiation rite--resurrection symbolism, a period of teaching followed by a night vigil, and the wearing of a white cloth--reflect the Anglican Paschal liturgy prior to the liturgical renewal movement of the 1960s.>>(

(K) Peter <(

An interesting issue that "Secret Mark" brings to my attention about the canonical gospels is the question of the identities of the rich young man whom Jesus urged to sell his own possessions, the youth who lost his robe in Gethsemane, the youth with a robe in Jesus' tomb, and the Beloved Disciple. I wonder how many of these are the same person, what is the significance of the story of the robed youth, and whether they are the same person as Lazarus? But how could the resurrected Lazarus be the same as both the poor Lazarus in the parable and also the rich young man? Was Lazarus the rich young man and then did he give up his riches and become the poor Lazarus in the parable?
Wikipedia notes:
Quote:Miles Fowler suggests that the naked fleeing youth in Mark 14:51–52, the youth in the tomb of Jesus in Mark 16:5 and the youth Jesus raises from the dead in Secret Mark are the same youth; but that he also appears as the rich (and in the parallel account in Matthew 19:20, “young”) man in Mark 10:17–22, whom Jesus loves and urges to give all his possessions to the poor and join him.[36] This young man is furthermore by some scholars identified as both Lazarus... and the beloved disciple (due to the fact that the gospels he is said to have loved only the three siblings Martha, Mary and Lazarus (John 11:5), the rich man (Mark 10:22) and the beloved disciple).
Couldn't the robed youth in Gethsemane and at the tomb be the "angel" who comforted Jesus in Gethsemane and appeared in the tomb? But how does one equate the robed youth that the women meet at the tomb in Mark 16 with the Beloved disciple who hears the women's news and runs to the tomb in John 20? It seems that the robed youth and the Beloved disciple must be different.
Putting the relevant passages in a list, we get: The Parable of Lazarus (Luke 16:19–31); The Young, Rich Man whom Jesus loved (Matthew 19:20/Mark 10:17–22) ; Lazarus whom Jesus loved (John 11:5) / Secret Mark (Located in Mark 10:34-35); The Beloved Disciple (John 13:23), the angel in Gethsemane (Luke 22:43) the naked fleeing youth in Mark 14:51–52, the Beloved Disciple (John 19:26); the youth in the tomb of Jesus (Mark 16:5)/the angel at the tomb (Matthew 28:2) /the two angels at the tomb (Luke 24:4), The Beloved Disciple runs with Peter to the tomb after hearing from the women and leaves, and then Mary sees two angels in the tomb (John 20:2 & 20:12); the Beloved Disciple (21:7,20).

According to Aquinas' Golden Chain commentary, the Church fathers seemed to think that the Lazarus in the story of THe Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16) was a real person, well known among the Jews for his sickness and poverty, and/or that this is just a parable where the name of Lazarus is given because he is in heaven. Chrysostom seems to imply that he is the same Lazarus as the one raised in John 11:
Quote:AMBROSE This seems rather a narrative than a parable, since the name is also expressed.

CHRYS. But a parable is that in which an example is given, while the names are omitted. Lazarus is interpreted, "one who was assisted." For he was poor, and the Lord helped him.
... But that it is true that he who hears not the Scriptures, takes no heed to the dead who rise again, the Jews have testified, who at one time indeed wished to kill Lazarus, but at another laid hands upon the Apostles, notwithstanding that some had risen from the dead at the hour of the Cross.
Here is more from the commentary:
Quote:CYRIL ...This discourse concerning the rich man and Lazarus was written after the manner of a comparison in a parable, to declare that they who abound in earthly riches, unless they will relieve the necessities of the poor, shall meet with a heavy condemnation. But the tradition of the Jews relates that there was at that time in Jerusalem a certain Lazarus who was afflicted with extreme poverty and sickness, whom our Lord remembering, introduces him into the example for the sake of adding greater point to His words.

GREG. We must observe also, that among the heathen the names of poor men are more likely to be known than of rich. Now our Lord mentions the name of the poor, but not the name of the rich, because God knows and approves the humble, but not the proud. But that the poor man might be more approved, poverty and sickness were at the same time consuming him; as it follows, who was laid at his gate full of sores.
Augustine: But the beggar, by name Lazarus, which is interpreted "assisted," signifies want; as, for instance, some Gentile, or Publican, who is all the more relieved, as he presumes less on the abundance of his resources.
In the story of the young rich man, the man tells Jesus that he observed the commandments, whereupon in Mark 10:
Quote:21. Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, "One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow Me."22. And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.
The Church fathers take the view that Jesus loved him because he succeeded in obeying the commandments. A problem with equating him with the youth in the robe is that the story ends without saying that he became Jesus' disciple. And it's hard to equate him with the Lazarus in Luke 16, who was poor.

The story of the raising of Lazarus (John 11) sounds a bit disjointed in that Mary announced to Jesus that the one whom Jesus loved, Lazarus, was sick, but the text doesn't mention Jesus meeting Lazarus before. If one takes the gospels chronologically, the rich young man is the only one whom they already say that Jesus had loved.
Quote:Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. 2. (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.)3. Therefore his sisters sent to him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom you love is sick. 4. When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not to death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby. 5. Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. [Jesus finds Lazarus dead] ...  35. Jesus wept. 36. Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him!
Bede comments: "Lazarus signifies helped. Of all the dead which our Lord raised, he was most helped, for he had lain dead four days, when our Lord raised him to life."
One can also sense that since Mary and Martha were believers, Lazarus was too, and this would by extension explain Jesus' special love for and resurrection of Lazarus.
Commenting on the Last Supper in John 13 ("Now there was leaning on Jesus" bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved. 24. Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom he spoke. 25. He then lying on Jesus" breast said to him, Lord, who is it ?"), Chrysostom says (in the Golden Chain):
Quote:CHRYSOSTOM. While all were trembling, and not excepting even Peter, their head, John, as the beloved disciple, lay upon Jesus" breast. ...  This John says to show his own innocence, and also why it was that Peter beckoned to him, inasmuch as he was not Peter"s superior: Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom he spoke. Peter had been just reproved, and therefore, checking the customary vehemence of his love, he did not speak himself now, but made John speak for him.
The Golden Chain also has Augustine's and Origen's idea that the story suggests that John was given greater mysteries:
Quote:AUGUSTINE. This is John, whose Gospel this is, as he afterwards declares. It is the custom of the sacred writers, when they come to any thing relating to themselves, to speak of themselves, as if they were speaking of another. For if the thing itself is related correctly, what does truth lose by the omission of boasting on the writer"s part? ... On Jesus" breast; the same as in Jesus" bosom. Or, he lay first in Jesus" bosom, and then ascended higher, and lay upon His breast; as if, had he remained lying in His bosom, and not ascended to lie on His breast, our Lord would not have told him what Peter wanted to know. By his lying at last on Jesus" breast, is expressed that greater and more abundant grace, which made him Jesus" special disciple. ... AUG. For by bosom what else is signified but secret? Here is the hollow of the breast, the secret" chamber of wisdom.

ORIGEN. I think this has a peculiar meaning, viz. that John was admitted to a knowledge of the more secret mysteries of the Word.
John 13 also suggests that Jesus loved his disciples and not only his disciple John: "A new commandment I give to you, That you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another."
The Golden Chain doesn't name the angel in Gethsemane (Luke 22). Mark 14 on the robed man in Gethsemane goes: "51. And there followed Him a certain young man, having a linen cloth cast about his naked body; and the young men laid hold on him:52. And he left the linen cloth, and fled from them naked."
The Greek word here for linen cloth is "sindona", which is also used for burial shrouds, which helps relate this youth in my mind to the youth in the tomb in Mark 16. But why would the youth be wearing only a "sindona" cloth?
The Golden Chain comments here:
Quote:BEDE: he had no other clothing but this linen cloth. That is, he fled from them, whose presence and whose deeds he abhorred, not from the Lord, for Whom his love remained fixed in his mind, when absent from Him in body.

Pseudo-Jerome: Just as Joseph left his mantle behind him, and fled naked from the wanton woman; so also let him, who would escape the hands of the evil ones, quit in mind all that is of the world, and fly after Jesus.
But how does one conclude that the youth ran away from the evildoers and to Jesus? Doesn't it seem that he ran from both Jesus and the attackers? Didn't the youth abandon Jesus, since Jesus had precited earlier that they would all abandon Him (Mark 14:27)?

In the Golden chain, three writers propose that the robed youth in Mark 14 was either from the house of the Last Supper (I think there is a tradition that this was Mark himself as a youth), or James, or else the Beloved Disciple, John. Who do you think it was?
Quote:Theophylact: It appears probable that this young man was of that house, where they had eaten the Passover. But some say that this young man was James, the brother of our Lord, who was called Just; who after the ascension of Christ received from the Apostles the throne of the bishopric of Jerusalem.

Greg., Mor. 14, 49: Or, he says this of John, who, although he afterwards returned to the cross to hear the words of the Redeemer, at first was frightened and fled.

Bede: For that he was a young man at that time, is evident from his long sojourn in the flesh. Perhaps he escaped from the hands of those who held him for the time, and afterwards got back his garment and returned, mingling under cover of the darkness with those who were leading Jesus, as though he was one of them, until he arrived at the door of the High Priest, to whom he was known, as he himself testifies in the Gospel. But as Peter, who washed away the sin of his denial with the tears of penitence, shews the recovery of those who fall away in time of martyrdom, so the other disciples who prevented their actual seizure, teach the prudence of flight to those who feel themselves unequal to undergo tortures.
John 19 makes another reference to the Beloved Disciple:
Quote:Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother"s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. 26. When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he says to his mother, Woman, behold your son!27. Then says he to the disciple, Behold your mother! And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.
The Golden Chain commentary records:
Quote:BEDE. By the disciple whom Jesus loved, the Evangelist means himself; not that the others were not loved, but he was loved more intimately on account of his estate of chastity; for a Virgin our Lord called him, and a Virgin he ever remained.

CHRYS. Heavens! what honor does He pay to the disciple; who however conceals his name from modesty. For had he wished to boast, he would have added the reason why he was loved, for there must have been something great and wonderful to have caused that love.

AUGUSTINE. He does this to provide as it were another son for His mother in his place; And from that hour that disciple took her to his own. To his own what? Was not John one of those who said, Lo, we have left all, and followed You? He took her then to his own, i. e not to his farm, for he had none, but to his care, for of this he was master.
If John took the Virgin Mary into his care, this could explain why there have been churches dedicated to them in Ephesus, although it isn't clear if Mary ever lived there.
Quote:Moreover, after the Dormition of the Mother of God in Jerusalem, St John the Theologian went to live in Ephesus, as is recorded, for instance, by St Irenaeus of Lyon and the historian Eusebius, and he reposed there. It is also true that there was an ancient church in Ephesus dedicated to the Mother of God, as is mentioned at the Third Oecumenical Council in Ephesus in 431. As to whether St John had himself dedicated this church to the Mother of God, and as to where St John actually lived in Ephesus, we can only speculate. Certainly, very ancient local tradition in Ephesus is quite clear - her Dormition took place in Jerusalem, not in Ephesus. (

When Mark 16:5 gives the story of the young man at the tomb, his white robe in place of his earlier "sindona" (used for burlals) reminds me of the concept of a white, pure, radiant resurrection clothes, perhaps symbolizing transformed resurrection flesh:
Quote:5. And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted. 6. And he saith unto them, "Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: He is risen; He is not here; behold the place where they laid Him."7. "But go your way, tell His disciples and Peter that He goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see Him, and He said unto you."
The resemblance of his words to the words of the angel(s) at the tomb in the other canonical gospels.
Theophylact and St. Gregory thinks that the youth in Mark was the angel in Matthew, whereas Augustine allows for them being either the same or separate:
Quote:Theophylact: Though Matthew says that the Angel was sitting on stone, whilst Mark relates that the women entering into the sepulchre saw a young man sitting, yet we need not wonder, for they afterwards saw sitting within the sepulchre the same Angel as sat without on the stone.

Augustine: Either let us suppose that Matthew was silent about that Angel, whom they saw on entering, whilst Mark said nothing of him, whom they say outside sitting on the stone, so that they saw two and heard separately from two, the things which the Angels said concerning Jesus; or we must understand by "entering into the sepulchre," their coming within some inclosure, by which is it probable that the place was surrounded a little space before the stone, by the cutting out of which the burial place had been made, so that they saw sitting on the right hand in that space him whom Matthew designates as sitting on the stone.
Gregory: But what is meant by the left hand, but this present life, and what by the right, but everlasting life? Because then our Redeemer had already gone through the decay of this present life, fitly did the Angel, who had come to announce His everlasting life, sit on the right hand. But let us hear what the Angel adds; "Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth." Jesus means the Saviour, but at that time there may have been many a Jesus, not indeed really, but in name, therefore the place Nazareth is added, that it might be evident of what Jesus it was spoken. And immediately he subjoins the reason, "Which was crucified." "He is not here," is spoken of His carnal presence, for He was not absent from any place as to the presence of His majesty.
I don't think that the youth in the tomb was Jesus because the youth said that He, Jesus, is not "here" because He is risen.
Bp. Peter Chrysologus sees the angel in Matthew 28 as a supernatural being that descended from heaven and spoke about the same words to the women that the youth in Mark 16 had. He comments: <<"And the Angel of the Lord descended from heaven." For when Christ arose, death was destroyed, commerce with heaven is restored to things on the earth; and woman, who had of old held communication to death with the Devil, now holds communication to life with the Angel.>>
In John 20, after meeting the angels, the women run to Peter and the Beloved Disciple:
Quote:2. Then she runs, and comes to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and says to them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulcher, and we know not where they have laid him. 3. Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulcher. 4. So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulcher. ...
St. Gregory comments about this passage: "But Peter and John before the others, for they loved most".
Finally, John 21 (about meeting the risen Jesus by the Sea of Galilee) seems to make some of the clearest identifications of John as the Beloved Disciple, when it says:
Quote:7. Therefore that disciple whom Jesus love says to Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher"s coat to him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea.
[Next, Peter meets and talks with the risen Jesus.]
20. Then Peter, turning about, sees the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrays you? 21. Peter seeing him says to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? 22. Jesus says to him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to you? follow you me. 23. Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not to him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to you?
24. This is the disciple which testifies of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true.
Since this is the Gospel of John, it seems that the Beloved Disciple is John the Evangelist, whom Paul associated with Peter when he wrote in an epistle that Peter, James, and John were the three pillars of Jerusalem's church.
The Golden Chain commentary says that John recognized Jesus because of John's penetrating nature, and that Peter was naked just for work:
Quote:CHRYSOSTOM: The recognition of Him brings out Peter and John in their different tempers of mind; the one fervid, the other sublime; the one ready, the other penetrating. John is the first to recognize our Lord...

BEDE. The Evangelist alludes to himself here the same way he always does. He recognized our Lord either by the miracle, or by the sound of His voice, or the association of former occasions on which He found them fishing. Peter was naked in comparison with the usual dress he wore, in the sense in which we say to a person whom we meet thinly clad, You are quite bare. Peter was bare for convenience sake, as fishermen are in fishing.
THEOPHYLACT. Peter"s girding himself is a sign of modesty. He girt himself with a linen coat, such as Thamian and Tyrian fishermen throw over them, when they have nothing else on, or even over their other clothes.
Augustine tries to explain here why John was considered in particular to be "The Beloved Disciple:
Quote:Some think, and they no contemptible commentators upon Scripture, that the reason why John was loved more than the rest, was, because he had lived in perfect chastity from his youth up.
Yet the question remains, Why did our Lord say of one who was about to die, I will that he tarry till I come? It may be asked too why our Lord loved John the most, when Peter loved our Lord the most? I might easily reply, that the one who loved Christ the more, was the better man, and the one whom Christ loved the more, the more blessed; only this would not be a defense of our Lord"s justice. This important question then I will endeavor to answer. The Church acknowledges two modes of life, as divinely revealed, that by faith, and that by sight. The one is represented by the Apostle Peter, in respect of the primacy of his Apostleship; the other by John: wherefore to the one it is said, Follow Me, i.e. imitate Me in enduring temporal sufferings; of the other it is said, I will that he tarry till I come: as if to say, Do you follow Me, by the endurance of temporal sufferings, let him remain till I come to give everlasting bliss; or to open out the meaning more, Let action be perfected by following the example of My Passion, but let contemplation wait inchoate till at My coming it be completed: wait, not simply remain, continue, but wait for its completion at Christ"s coming. Now in this life of action it is true, the more we love Christ, the more we are freed from sin; but He does not love us as we are, He frees us from sin, that we may not always remain as we are, but He loves us heretofore rather, because hereafter we shall not have that which displeases Him, and which He frees us from. So then let Peter love Him, that we may be freed from this mortality; let John be loved by Him, that we may be preserved in that immortality. John loved less than Peter, because, as he represented that life in which we are much more loved, our Lord said, I will that he remain (i.e. wait) till I come; seeing that that greater love we have not yet, but wait till we have it at His coming. And this intermediate state is represented by Peter who loves, but is loved less, for Christ loves us in our misery less than in our blessedness: and we again love the contemplation of truth such as it will be then, less in our present state, because as yet we neither know nor have it. But let none separate those illustrious Apostles; that which Peter represented, and that which John represented, both were sometime to be.

St. John Chrysostom's explanations about the close relationship between Peter and John help suggest that John was the "Beloved Disciple" whom Peter asked to get information from Jesus about the traitor at the Last Supper and was the Beloved Disciple about whose fate Peter asked Jesus:
Quote:For he who at the supper dared not ask himself, but gave his question to John to put, has the superintendence over his brethren committed to him, and whereas before he gave a question which concerned himself to another to put, he now asks questions himself of his Master concerning others. Our Lord then having foretold such great things of him, and committed the world to him, and prophesied his martyrdom, and made known his greater love, Peter wishing to have John admitted to a share of this calling, says, And what shall this man do? as if to say, Will he not go the same way with us? For Peter had great love for John, as appears from the Gospels and Acts of the Apostles, which give many proofs of their close friendship.
So Peter does John the same turn, that John had done him; thinking that he wanted to ask about himself, but was afraid, he puts the question for him. However, inasmuch as they were now going to have the care of the world committed to them, and could not remain together without injury to their charge, our Lord says, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to you? as if to say, Attend to the work committed to thee, and do it: if I will that he abide here, what is that to you?
So in conclusion, I see that the white-robed youth in Mark 16 is a supernatural angel at Jesus' tomb in the other gospels and is probably also the running youth in Gethsemane, as well as a comforting angel there. And I see that John the evangelist is the Beloved Disciple. But it's hard for me to be more specific about the identities of the rich young man who won't give up his possessions in Luke's story and of the angel/ robed youth at the tomb.
I'm curious which side you would take in the long-standing Dominican-Jesuit controversy?

Care to suggest you you think might be correct and why?
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  • jovan66102
(01-12-2019, 12:11 AM)MagisterMusicae Wrote: I'm curious which side you would take in the long-standing Dominican-Jesuit controversy?

Care to suggest you you think might be correct and why?
Thanks for writing, Magister, although I think you might be using humor since you are the forum "Contrarian".

If you mean their controversy over grace, then probably the Jesuit one, because I am Eastern Orthodox, and some Dominicans may have characterized the Jesuits as "Pelagians" and the Jesuits described the Dominicans as Calvinists.

Quote:In 1594 the dispute between the Thomists and the Molinists reached a fever heat. Pope Clement VIII in order to settle the dispute convened in Rome a Congregatio de Auxiliis (1598-1607), and to this the Dominicans and the Jesuits sent, at the pope's invitation, their ablest theologians. After the congregation had been in session for nine years without reaching a conclusion, Paul V, at the advice of St. Francis de Sales, permitted both systems, strongly forbidding the Jesuits to call the Dominicans Calvinists, or the Dominicans to call the Jesuits Pelagians.

Quote:Orthodoxy teaches that it is possible and necessary for the human will to cooperate with divine grace for the individual to be saved, or healed from the disease of sin. This cooperation is called synergism (see also Semipelagianism and monergism), so that humans may become deified in conformity to the divine likeness—a process called theosis

I can discuss this with you on another thread if you like.
Wow. Howdy. Care to introduce yourself first?  Tip o' the hat Welcome Wagon's up top of the forums.
"Not only are we all in the same boat, but we are all seasick.” --G.K. Chesterton
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  • rako
(01-16-2019, 11:01 PM)JacafamalaRedux Wrote: Wow. Howdy. Care to introduce yourself first?  Tip o' the hat Welcome Wagon's up top of the forums.

Thanks, Jacafamala!
Right now I am reading through the possible 1st c. Christian works. I figured that I would ask about "Secret Mark" here because I used Aquinas' Golden Chain to help understand one of the main issues in it.
I think I joined this forum a long time ago under a similar username, but I checked and couldn't find anything ever posted under it. Oh well.
(01-12-2019, 01:04 PM)rako Wrote:
(01-12-2019, 12:11 AM)MagisterMusicae Wrote: I'm curious which side you would take in the long-standing Dominican-Jesuit controversy?

Care to suggest you you think might be correct and why?
Thanks for writing, Magister, although I think you might be using humor since you are the forum "Contrarian".

Good pickup on that. It was intended as sarcasm.

First post here is to propose a long-winded personal theory on Scripture and a work purporting a different version of Scripture. While it's interesting, it's a bit of an odd way to begin here.

Generally, one does not simply enter into a discussion between others and spout off the latest theological theories they've come up with. Firstly, because it's a bit rude to those who have spent time here and naturally worked themselves into the "ecosystem" here. Secondly, because it seems a bit self-aggrandizing. Thirdly, because it's a bit odd for the lay Christian to come up with personal theories, since his Faith is not based on personal opinions but the Church which teaches him.

Now, you seem like a decent chap, but I was trying to gently point out (perhaps not so clearly) that perhaps it's not necessary to propose your opinion on such matters as a first course of action on the forum, rather to listen in, ask questions, engage in simple discussions and then once you've built up a good reputation start discussing more in-depth matters.

Again, you seem a decent chap, and pretty knowledgeable, and perhaps you can contribute well here, but perhaps a more gentle start is worthwhile.
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  • jovan66102, rako
Thanks for the suggestions. I made an introduction here:
And I'll look for some of your posts to reply to.

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