Through close examination of the “discovered” manuscript’s text, Peter Jeffery unravels the answers to the mystery and tells the tragic tale of an estranged Episcopalian priest who forged an ancient gospel and fooled many of the best biblical scholars of his time. Jeffery shows convincingly that Smith’s Secret Gospel is steeped in anachronisms and that its construction was influenced by Oscar Wilde’s Salomé, twentieth-century misunderstandings of early Christian liturgy, and Smith’s personal struggles with Christian sexual morality.
~Harold W. Attridge
"The discussion of the ‘Secret Gospel’ has involved a generation of scholars of the New Testament and early Christianity. Jeffery's book—argued with enormous erudition, careful judgment, sensitivity, and balance—sets the discussion on an entirely new footing."—Harold W. Attridge, Yale Divinity School
~Adela Yarbro Collins
"Peter Jeffery's book proves beyond a reasonable doubt that Morton Smith forged the discovered text. It demonstrates that he had the scholarly expertise, the wit, the sense of humor, and above all the motivation to do so."—Adela Yarbro Collins, Yale Divinity School