The Possession of Jesus

in Biblical Interpretation
Restricted Access
Get Access to Full Text
Rent on DeepDyve

Have an Access Token?

Enter your access token to activate and access content online.

Please login and go to your personal user account to enter your access token.



Have Institutional Access?

Login with your institution. Any other coaching guidance?


This article reads Jesus’ baptism in Mark as an experience of possession akin to that of the demoniacs. It suggests several possible readings of Mark in light of this baptismal possession: (1) as a story of heavenly rape similar to that of the Lukan Mary’s overshadowing by the spirit; (2) as a story like the possessed of cinematic horror; (3) as a story of a colonial holy warrior’s enthusing possession by the spirit and subsequent dispossession and failure vis-à-vis empire; and (4) as a story of one entrapped by an obsessive script. The readings’ cumulative effect is a different perspective on the Markan Jesus’ first and last words – the announcement of the kingdom of God (Mark 1:14) and his final lament (15:34, 37) – than is common in Markan scholarship. The sayings become descriptions of Jesus’ possession and the subsequent loss of that spirit.

  • AicheleG.1996LondonRoutledgeJesus Framed

  • AicheleG.2001HarrisburgTrinity Press InternationalThe Control of Biblical Meaning: Canon as Semiotic Mechanism

  • AicheleG.2006New YorkT & T ClarkThe Phantom Messiah: Postmodern Fantasy and the Gospel of Mark

  • BorgesJ.L.BorgesJ.L.The Gospel According to Mark1998397401New YorkPenguin BooksCollected Fictions (trans. A. Hurley

  • BoringM.E.2006LouisvilleWestminser John KnoxMark: A Commentary (The New Testament Library

  • BourguignonE.1979New YorkHolt, Rinehart & WinstonPsychological Anthropology: An Introduction to Human Nature and Cultural Differences

  • CollinsA.Y.2007MinneapolisFortressMark: A Commentary (Hermenia

  • CraceJ.1999New YorkPicadorQuarantine

  • DaviesS.1995New YorkContinuumJesus the Healer: Possession Trance and the Origins of Christianity

  • DeMarisR.E.Possession, Good and Bad – Ritual, Effects and Side-Effects: The Baptism of Jesus and Mark 1.9–11 From a Cross-Cultural Perspective200080 (December)330JSNT

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • DeMarisR.E.StegemannW.MalinaB.J.TheissenG.The Baptism of Jesus: A Ritual-Critical Approach2002137157MinneapolisFortressThe Social Setting of Jesus and the Gospels

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • DixonE.P.Descending Spirit and Descending Gods: An Interpretation of the Spirit’s ‘Descent as a Dove’ in Mark 1:102009128759780JBL

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • EhrmanB.D.2011OxfordOxford University PressThe Orthodox Corruption of Scripture: The Effect of Early Christological Controversies on the Text of the New Testament

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • EllensJ.H.2010SheffieldSheffield PhoenixThe Son of Man in the Gospel of John

  • ElliottJ.K.Mark 1.1–3 – A Later Addition to the Gospel?200046584588NTS

  • ElliottS.S.2011SheffieldSheffield PhoenixReconfiguring Mark’s Jesus: Narrative Criticism after Poststructuralism

  • HollenbachP.W.The Conversion of Jesus: From Jesus the Baptizer to Jesus the Healer19822.25.1:196219BerlinDe GruyterAufstieg und Niedergang der römischchen Welt

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • HorsleyR.2001LouisvilleWestminster John KnoxHearing the Whole Story: The Politics of Plot in Mark’s Gospel

  • JasperD.2004MaldenBlackwellThe Sacred Desert: Religion Literature Art and Culture

  • KafkaF.1996125157New YorkBarnes and Noble“In the Penal Colony” in F. Kafka The Metamorphosis and Other Stories

  • KazantzakisN.1988New YorkSimon & SchusterThe Last Temptation of Christ (trans. P.A. Bien

  • LewisI.M.1971BaltimorePenguin BooksEcstatic Religion: An Anthropological Study of Spirit Possession and Shamanism

  • LiewT.B.1999LeidenBrillPolitics of Parousia: Reading Mark Inter(con)textually (Biblical Interpretation Series 42

  • MarcusJ.Jesus’ Baptismal Vision199541512521NTS

  • MilesJ.2001New YorkAlfred A. KnopfChrist: A Crisis in the Life of God

  • MooreS.D.1992New HavenYale University PressMark and Luke in Poststructuralist Perspectives

  • MooreS.D.MalbonE.S.The SS Officer at the Foot of the Cross: A Tragedy in Three Acts20094461SheffieldSheffield PhoenixBetween Author and Audience in Mark: Narration Characterization Interpretation

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • MyersC.2000MaryknollOrbis [original, 1988]Binding the Strong Man: A Political Reading of Mark’s Story of Jesus

  • PeppardM.The Eagle and the Dove: Roman Imperial Sonship and the Baptism of Jesus (Mark 1.9–11)201056431451NTS

  • PilchJ.J.2002103115Altered States of Consciousness in the Synoptics” in Stegemann et al. 2002:

  • PullmanP.2010EdinburghCanongateThe Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ

  • SaramagoJ.1994OrlandoHarvestThe Gospel According to Jesus Christ (trans. G. Pontiero

  • SchabergJ.1995SheffieldSheffield AcademicThe Illegitimacy of Jesus: A Feminist Theological Interpretation of the Infancy Narratives

  • SchechnerR.1985PhiladelphiaUniversity of Pennsylvania PressBetween Theater and Anthropology

  • SmithM.1978San FranciscoHarper & RowJesus the Magician

  • StegemannW.MalinaB.J.TheissenG.2002MinneapolisFortressThe Social Setting of Jesus and the Gospels

  • StreckerC.2002117133“Jesus and the Demoniacs” in Stegemann et al. 2002

  • TannehillR.The Gospel of Mark as Narrative Christology1979163795Semeia

  • TaylorV.1981Grand RapidsBaker Book House, 2nd edn [original, 1966]The Gospel According to St. Mark (Thornapple Commentaries

  • Villalobos MendozaM.2012SheffieldSheffield Phoenix PressAbject Bodies in the Gospel of Mark

  • WilsonA.P.2007New YorkT & T ClarkTransfigured: A Derridean Reading of the Markan Transfiguration

  • WilsonR.R.1980PhiladelphiaFortressProphecy and Society in Ancient Israel

  • 29

     See Davies 1995: 62but also n. 23 above.

Index Card
Content Metrics

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 178 170 18
Full Text Views 224 224 0
PDF Downloads 9 9 0
EPUB Downloads 1 1 0