Monday, April 16, 2012

Book Snap: David Watson's "Honor Among Christians"

I picked this one up thinking that it would be a more in-depth case for an explanation of Mark 10:18, and the "messianic secret," I have used before. It turns out that Watson is keen on a different explanation: That the Messianic secret was Jesus' way of redefining honor, in a way that anticipated the reversal of honor that would be associated with the crucifixion and Resurrection.

The oddity of this, though, is that while Watson also describes the explanation of Malina and Rohrbaugh I use, he neither affirms of denies it. And perhaps he didn't need to: The two explanations are far from mutually exclusive. So I'll take this as an extra layer of explanation for the so-called messianic secret rather than a new explanation.

I also took from here the thought that Jesus was perhaps intent on suppressing anything that would highlight his ascribed (or as I say, inherent) honor as a divine person, but not, per se, anything that enhanced his acquired honor (honor for performance -- which he could hardly suppress anyway, while still doing good works in public). But that is a thesis I have not worked out in detail as yet.

Other than that -- Watson's volume is rich with information and commentary on honor and shame; not a great deal was new to me, but there are enough treasures in one place here that this one could do extra duty as a modest introduction to key Biblical social concepts. You'll even find the familiar exposition on crucifixion as a shameful death in here, as well as some good material on patronage. Consider it a good specialty volume to add if you have the cash.


  1. Hiya JP,

    Couldn't Jesus' response in Mark 10:18 also be interpreted as a way of the Son honoring and glorifying the Father, without thereby denying His own divinity?