The Spirit in Mark

In most narrative analyses of the Gospel of Mark the Spirit is neglected. This is probably due to the fact that the number of explicit appearances are few. There are, however, several reasons for not neglecting the Spirit, including the following observations: First of all, the Spirit occurs as a prominent figure in the Markan prologue. Secondly, as a consequence of the baptism, the Holy Spirit must be understood as a continuous presence in the Markan Jesus. This makes the Spirit a part in all levels of conflict in the gospel. Thirdly, speaking about the Spirit is reserved to only the narrator, John the Baptist and the Markan Jesus. Fourthly, only the Markan Jesus speaks of “the Holy Spirit”, thus placing the Holy Spirit on a line with the Son of Man and the Kingdom of God. Fifthly, the Spirit must be thought of as the connection between the gospel and the audience. Consequently, the Spirit belongs to all levels of the gospel - the story, the discourse and the enunciation. Based on the categories of christological characterization developed by Elizabeth Struthers Malbon (Mark’s Jesus, 2009) the paper will explore the narrative role of the Spirit in Mark. It will be argued that the phenomena of the Messianic secret and the non-understanding of the disciples can be considered as a consequence of the Markan portrayal of the Spirit. Finally, this portrayal and its narrative consequences will be compared to Paul’s speech about the hidden wisdom in 1 Corinthians 2:6-13, hereby taking up the suggestion made by Joel Marcus that Mark was an interpreter of Paul.