Secret Mark" is the name given to a portion of a document allegedly uncovered in 1958 on a trip to the monastery of Mar Saba, located near Jerusalem. Purportedly written by Clement of Alexandria to someone called Theodore in the late second or early third century, the document was discovered by Morton Smith, at the time assistant professor of history at Columbia University. Secret Mark caused a stir in the academic community, as it alludes to a homosexual relationship between Jesus and Mark, and casts doubt on the authenticity of portions of the canonized gospel of Mark. Carlson is interested, not just in the authenticity of Secret Mark, but in the issue of historical hoaxes in general. His task is made difficult in that the Mar Saba documents are no longer available for inspection, so he depends on the photographs supplied by Smith. Carlson concludes that Secret Mark is indeed a hoax, and contains clear signs of a 20th-century provenance. Moreover, he points directly at Smith as the perpetrator of the fraud. Utilizing sound historical and linguistic methods, Carlson presents a convincing case for Smith's authorship of Secret Mark. While readers unfamiliar with the critical apparatus scholars use to evaluate ancient texts will find the book challenging, Carlson's presentation of the evidence strongly supports his views.