The Bible

The "Messianic Secret" and the Theology of Mark's Gospel College

Throughout the Gospel of Mark, and more prominently in this Gospel than in any other, we are presented with numerous points at which the identity and activity of Jesus is attempted be kept secret. Since the publication of Wrede's 'epoch-making[1]' work on the subject, scholars have come to refer to the pervading sense of Jesus' concealment using Wrede's own term: 'The Messianic Secret.' However, though most do recognise that such an air of secrecy does prevail, there continues to be disagreement regarding the overall centrality of the messianic secret and the role which it fulfils in Mark. In this essay I will seek to sustain the line of argument that the sheer frequency with which secrecy is alluded to in the Gospel acts as a clear indication of the theme's import for the writer. However, though we might be able to deduce that the notion is significant in some way, the specifics are highly ambiguous. When examining the theology of the gospel, we must call into question how far the messianic secret is a purposeful theological addition to the text, as opposed to simply a historical documentation or an inheritance of an idea or a collection of ideas from an earlier tradition. Where affirmation of the first of these options would...

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