New Article on Secret Mark by Viklund and Paananen

Roger Viklund's online article, "Tremors or Just an Optical Illusion?A Further Evaluation of Stephen Carlson's Handwriting Analysis" (see HERE; and expanded upon in Timo Paananen's blog HERE and HERE), has now appeared in a peer-reviewed journal. The complete bibliographical details are: Roger Viklund and Timo S. Paananen, "Distortion of the Scribal Hand in the Images of Clement's Letter to Theodore," Vigiliae Christianae 67 (2013): 235-247. Their conclusion:

In sum: all the signs of forgery Carlson unearthed in his analysis of the handwriting in Clement’s Letter to Theodore disappear once we replace the printed images Carlson used with the original photographs. Looking at the artefacts, Carlson concluded that the “apparently hurried cursive was executed more slowly than it purports to be” and that the “writer had not fully mastered the style of handwriting”. An opposite conclusion has recently been reached (independently of us) by Venetia Anastasopoulou, who had access to the high-quality images of the manuscript, and possesses professional training, degrees, and experience in the field of forensic document examination. For Anastasopoulou, the script in Clement’s Letter to Theodore is “written spontaneously with an excellent rhythm”, while the “movement of the writing indicates a hand used to writing in this manner”.

Though Carlson is to be commended for his insight that the tools of forensic document examination could advance the debate, the execution of his project has left much to be desired. Based on the comparison of the images presented above we suggest that there is no “forger’s tremor” or any other “signs of forgery” to be found in the script of Clement’s Letter to Theodore. Consequently, one of the key arguments in Carlson’s The Gospel Hoax can be finally laid to rest.  

Thanks to Scott Brown for passing the information along.

One Response to “New Article on Secret Mark by Viklund and Paananen”

  1. David Blocker Says:

    In addition to Roger Viklund’s 6 June post announcing the publication of the Viklund/Panenaan article about the photographs of the transcription of Clement’s letter to Theodore, there is a June 4 post on his web blog that demonstrates additional literary parallels between the Secret Mark Excerpt/John’s Raising of Lazarus/The Synoptic Transfiguration pericopes.

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