Monday, May 11, 2015

New Theory About Secret Mark

I have taken something of a hiatus from publishing at my blog.  There are a number of factors that have figured into this decision.  What can be said is that I have now come forward out of a period of relative obscurity to say that I am pretty certain I know why the baptism scene in Secret Mark is where it is and I will likely be spending an hour or so each night (if my job and family commitments allow me) to explain it to all of you.

The short answer to 'what led to my discovery' is this very interesting reference in Origen's Homilies on Leviticus which is preserved only in Rufinus's Latin translation.  This text was recently translated by Gary Wayne Barkley and the pertinent section which attracted my attention was this from Homily 9 which deals with the laws related to Yom Kippur.  In the section dealing with Leviticus 16:4 "A consecrated linen tunic will be put on" Origen strangely segues not only to a resurrection miracle of Jesus but also nakedness - themes that stand out in the passage from Secret Mark.

Noting that linen - the only garment worn by the high priest - is made of the fibers of the flax plant Origen strangely (and immediately) goes on to connect flax with 'resurrection' or Jesus 'the high priest' resurrecting a person buried in the earth:

Think of flax thread that comes from the earth. Imagine that the flax thread becomes a sanctified linen tunic that Christ, the true high priest, puts on when he takes up the nature of an earthly body. Remember he takes up the nature of an earthly body. Remember that it is said about the body that“it is earth and it will go into the earth.” Therefore, my Lord and Savior, wanting to resurrect that which had gone into the earth, took an earthly body that he might carry it raised up from the earth to heaven. 

And the assertion in the Law that the high priest is clothed "with a linen tunic" contains a a figure of this mystery. But that it added "sanctified" must not be heard as superfluous. For "the tunic" that was the flesh of Christ was "sanctified," for it was not conceived from the seed of man but begotten of the Holy Spirit.

Of course the youth in Secret Mark is resurrected from the earth - specifically a 'tomb in a garden' which necessarily means that 'the body' had 'gone into the earth.'

There is of course much more to this reference that caught my eye - indeed and previous investigations on the relationship between Leviticus 16 and the passage in Secret Mark.  However this is enough, I think, to guarantee sufficient readership over the next month to put sustained effort into drawing out my ideas about the function of this narrative in the greater context of Mark's gospel.  

Email with comments or questions.

Stephan Huller's Observations by Stephan Huller
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