The Implied YHWH Christology Of Mark’s Gospel: Mark’s Challenge To The Reader To “Connect The Dots” -- By: Timothy J. Geddert
BBR 25:3 (2015) p. 325
The Implied YHWH Christology Of Mark’s Gospel:
Mark’s Challenge To The Reader To “Connect The Dots”
Fresno Pacific University Biblical Seminary
Mark’s Gospel conveys an explicit Christology (Jesus is Messiah, Divine Son, Son of Man, and so on), which is inscribed clearly on the surface of the text. But it also contains a “secret” implied Christology that remains below the text’s surface and is perceivable only by those who follow Mark’s hints and discover how to connect the dots. To elucidate this implied Christology requires making two distinctions: first, between the story level (what characters say to each other in the narrative) and the discourse level (what the implied author communicates to the reader); and, second, between messages on the discourse level that are communicated explicitly (for example, direct statements by the narrator) and those that are only implied through hints and pointers, polyvalent expressions, allusions to texts not quoted, and so on. Careful attention to Mark’s discourse-level hints provides access to his secret Yhwh Christology: Jesus is the embodied God, the presence of Yhwh on earth.
Key Words: Mark, Christology, Yhwh, discourse, narrative, implied author, secrecy
In comparison to the other Gospels, Mark has the lowest explicit Christology but the highest implicit Christology. Mark’s Gospel implies in numerous ways that Jesus is God, indeed is the embodiment of Yhwh. Defending this claim requires first some important distinctions.
The first is between the Christology perceived by the characters within the narrative of Mark and the Christology Mark promotes in communication with the Gospel’s readers.1 Readers of Mark know much that characters
BBR 25:3 (2015) p. 326
within the narrative do not know. Whereas Mark’s first verse informs readers that Jesus is the Christ, no character in the story perceives this until much later (8:29), and even then without proper understanding of what this means. The same can be said for Jesus’ identity as “Son of God.” Readers of Mark learn of Jesus’ divine Sonship either in 1:1 or in 1:11 (depending on whether the title “Son of God” is authentic in 1:1). Jesus’ disciples first learn of Jesus’ divine Sonship in 9:7, and even then probably with a deficient understanding of what it means. F...
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