Mystery & Hiddenness in Mark

Discussing Mark 6:45-52, Richard Hays sums up the hiddenness and mystery that surround Mark’s depiction of Jesus:

[T]hose who have picked up the clues Mark has offered will perceive that God is strangely present in Jesus, but their response—at least at this point in the story—will be one of reverent reticence. By refusing to trumpet the secret of Jesus’ identity, instead signifying it through mysterious symbol-laden narrative, Mark is teaching his readers to wonder and to listen more deeply before they start talking about things too wonderful for their understanding (Reading Backwards, p. 26).

3 thoughts on “Mystery & Hiddenness in Mark

  1. Tim Cole

    In a 2002 article entitled, “Can the Gospels teach us How to Read the OT?” (Pro Ecclesia Vol XI Fall 2002, p. 411), Hays repeats the same words as he unpacks Mark 6: 45-52 and views it through the lens of Job 9: 4-11. But I would have thought–in view of Mark’s depiction of the twelve–obtuse, slow, blind, deaf, and hard-heartedness–that we would be spurred on to humbly admit our own obtuseness and hard-heartedness with respect to the identity of Jesus. Their problem was not talkativeness it seems, but blindness and deafness.

    What do you think, Herr Professor?

    1. timgombis

      The same thing struck me, Tim. It may be that Mark wants to produce this reaction among his readers, but I’m not inclined to think that his portrayals of various characters’ responses are commendable. Hays reads the final line of the Gospel in that way. That is, the fear of the women is more like awe rather than more of a less than commendable fear. And it does seem that the disciples suffer from similar problems. I like how Hays captures Mark’s intent with his readers, but less so with his characters.

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