This article builds on the work of David F. Watson, who has recently argued that major features of Mark's so-called messianic secret should not be understood in terms of “secrecy” at all, but rather should be understood in terms of intentional resistance to honor. While I agree with Watson's evaluation of the “secrecy motif ” (as intentional resistance to honor), I find Watson's claim that the Markan evangelist inverts standard honor/shame conventions to be unsatisfactory. The article explores alternative explanations for the Markan Jesus' resistance to honor and proposes that a possible explanation might be found in Roman political ideology. While examples of resisting achieved and proscribed honor are few and far between in the ancient Mediterranean world, they are frequently found in the lives of first-century Roman emperors, particular emperors who were remembered favorably. I propose that this Roman political background might be a useful way forward in understanding Jesus' resistance to honor in Mark's Gospel. To support this argument, three spheres of evidence are considered: (1) the clear presentation in Mark's Gospel of Jesus as a world ruler; (2) the strong possibility of a Roman provenance for Mark; and (3) numerous features in Mark's Gospel suggesting that it is challenging Roman imperial power.

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