Josep Rius-Camps (JRC) presented a paper in the Synoptic section entitled, "The Secret Gospel of Mark Authenticated by Codex Bezae." In a paper purporting to authenticate the notion of a Secret Gospel of Mark (SGM), I was struck by JRC's assumption of his thesis.
JRC begins his paper by noting that the majority of scholars regard the SGM as Morton Smith's "sophisticated hoax" in which he claimed to discover it. He then accentuates this fact with appropriate subjunctive terminology in the third paragraph: "According to Smith's manuscript...." But within the same paragraph, he moves away from the subjunctive to the indicative inferences: "Thus, Clement does not question its [i.e., SGM] existence." JRC should have written instead, "Thus, according to Smith's letter, Clement does not question SGM's existence."
From this point forward, JRC looses track of the fact that "the majority of scholars" view the letter as written by Smith. The rest of the paper is concerned to demonstrate that the SGM text, as found in Smith's letter, corresponds closely with Codex Bezae.
I don't understand how this authenticates SGM. After all, Morton Smith, if he composed the letter as an elaborate hoax, could just as easily have written the letter with D-text readings as he could have with NA25, etc. Nevertheless, JRC argues, "A forger would not have had recourse to a variant reading witnessed only by the Codex Bezae to give credibility to his alleged Secret Gospel." Well, Morton Smith, if he were the forger, would have had access to Codex Bezae! There seems to be a major disconnect here.
JRC ends his paper with five conclusions: 1)Canonical Mark is incomplete, suffering from the excision of passages which might invite moral laxity (he cites the Pericope Adulterae as a comparable example); 2) the gospel author himself produced two or more redactions; 3) historically, Jesus' journey to confront Temple authorities in Jerusalem can be accurately reconstructed, untangling the confusing data preserved in canonical Mark; 4) The text of Codex Bezae for Mark is better than other New Testament (Alexandrian and Byzantine) texts; 5) Mark himself was aware of a "mystical dimension" of the historical Jesus.