According to such scholars as William Wrede and Heikki Räisänen, the messianic secret is the idea that Mark—or a later editor of his Gospel—invented the accounts where Jesus told his disciples to be silent about his messiahship.
In Concealment or Revelation?, author John H. Morris, Jr. analyzes the critical scholarship on the messianic secret in Mark’s Gospel. Focusing on the Gospel in its first-century context, Morris illustrates why Mark did not have to invent a “messianic secret” to explain Jesus’ behavior. Citing primary Jewish and Roman sources and using a social-science model, he explains how the messianic secret was a representation of normal first-century behavior by Jesus used in an effort to spread his reputation while preventing his enemies from disseminating an incorrect reputation of him.
Concealment or Revelation? provides a detailed exegesis of selected passages in Mark 1–9 dealing with the classic messianic secret, demonstrates that Jesus’ behavior was normal first-century behavior in Roman and Jewish culture, and explains why Jesus alternated between silence and revelation in reference to his messianic mission. Bridging the gap between first-century and contemporary culture, it offers fresh insight on the Gospel of Mark in its original context. This volume also includes an annotated bibliography of New Testament–era name-calling and insults.