Originally posted by epiphinehas
"Clement's attribution of the gospel to "Mark" is universally rejected." - M. Smith "Clement of Alexandria and Secret Mark:The Score at the End of the First Decade"
Smith took a picture of the document in 1958, then wrote a book about it. Nobody except Smith claimed to have seen the document in person, until 2003, when G. A. G. Stroumsa publis ...[text shortened]... t is a stretch to say that the majority of scholars accept that this document is genuine.
Stephen Patterson writes: "Today, however, there is almost unanimous agreement among Clementine scholars that the letter is authentic."
So is it a "stretch" to say that the majority of scholars accept that the letter is genuine?
Smith, not being a thief, could only take pictures of the letter (which are available online and are fairly clear). The monks seem to have misplaced it, perhaps conveniently.
EDIT: As to the present location of Clement's letter:
In 1980, Thomas Talley, a Professor from the General Theological Seminary in New York City visited the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate Library in Jerusalem. While there, a priest, Archimandrite Melito, stated that he had taken Clement's letter (or perhaps the Voss 1646 book with the letter intact) from Hagios Sabbas to the Jerusalem library.
The librarian, Archimandrite Kallistos Dourvas, confirmed this, but said that it was being repaired and was not available for inspection.
During the 1990s, Kallistos told Professor Nikolaos Olympiou, a Professor of Old Testament at the University of Athens, that he, Kallistos, had removed the letter of Clement from the book shortly after he received the book into the Patriarchate library. Kallistos later gave color photographs of the letter to Olympiou.
Professor Olympiou speculated that the missing Clement letter was concealed by someone at the library for religious reasons.
There is visual evidence that the photographs of Clement's letter were once in the Voss edition. A small circular discoloration appears on the last page of the book. A matching discoloration is found on the first page of the letter.
Charles Hedrick concludes:
"The letter of Clement does exist, and the consensus (with some dissenting opinions) is that it is genuine. Thus at the end of the second century multiple different versions of the Gospel of Mark were known to exist. Scholars have been reluctant to accept Clement's testimony and assign the fragments of the Secret Gospel to the hand of the author of original Mark. But in spite of their reluctance, clearly Clement's letter confirms that a second Gospel of Mark thought to be by the author of the original Gospel of Mark was used in the Alexandrian Church, and it is to be dated before the end of the second century. As Smith noted, 'the real issue seems to be whether they [the excerpts from Secret Mark] should be classed with the pseudepigraphic gospels of the mid- and later second century, or with the canonical gospels and others of that type (P. Egerton 2, G. Hebrews, etc.).' ... Whether or not this 'spiritual gospel' of Mark might, in principle, contain information about the historical Jesus depends on how early the fragments are dated (are they early enough to preserve original oral memory about Jesus), as well as on other usual criteria for determining the originality of traditions." 3