Afterword and Conclusions
THE MESSIANIC SECRET theory of W. Wrede has received to this point only passing mention. Many scholars since Wrede have pursued Wrede's trajectory and credited the messianic secret motif to Mark's redactional activity. We have looked at the most primitive source material in and behind Mark and Q rather than focus on the evangelist's or Q's redactional activity. Furthermore, our conclusions are not based on texts that are at the heart of the debate (such as Peter's confession in Mark 8:27–30 or the acclamations of the demons in Mark 1:24) as to whether or not Wrede was right. The exorcism narratives were taken as one if not the key to Wrede's case.1 What we have seen is that in Mark, quite apart from texts that purportedly manifest the messianic secret, much material should be seen in a messianic light. How, then, are we to analyze Wrede's argument, especially in regard to the claim that the ministry of Jesus and perhaps the earliest gospel traditions were non-messianic?2
Since 1901, when Wrede published Das Messiasgeheimnis in den Evangelien,3 passages suggesting a messianic Jesus have been taken by scholars to be the later church's theologizing on the non-messianic ministry of Jesus. Wrede
1 The English translation is The Messianic Secret, but the German title uses the word Geheimnis,
which can have the sense of secret or mystery.
2 W. C. Robinson, “Wrede's Secret Messiah.”
3 See n. 1 above. When we dealt with the exorcisms, we deliberately made nothing out of
those exclamations, but only out of the probability that Jesus did perform exorcisms and that he
interpreted these as signs of the in-breaking dominion of God.