Friday, July 23, 2021
Monday, June 28, 2021
What are They saying about the Parables? (revised new content in Chapter 4 ): The Parables of Jesus in/and the Gospels: The Dialogues Continue (Part 3)
Chapter 4 (part 3): Authenticating the Synoptic Parables as Parables of the Historical Jesus
Monday, June 14, 2021
|"The Rich Epicure and Poor Lazarus" by Jose Arana|
Included in Evan Christensen's "Virtual Museum"
My thanks to Dr. Mark Vitalis Hoffman of United Lutheran Seminary for sending me this reception history of the parables website from one of his students, Evan Christensen.
- Mikhail Bakhtin: “Truth is not born nor is it to be found inside the head of an individual person, it is born between people collectively searching for truth, in the process of their dialogic interaction” (The Problem of Dostoevsky’s Poetics, p. 110).
- The title of this blog comes from a quote from Gregory the Great, who also uses an example from music to make a similar point (although in a different context) about the need for dialogue. In his Pastoral Rule (III.22), he cites the admonition of Psalm 150:4—to praise God with tambourine and chorus—to point out that with a tambourine, “a dry and beaten skin resounds, but in the chorus voices are associated in concord.” One person plays a tambourine; many people work together in a chorus.
- John of Salisbury, quoting Bernard of Chartres: We are like those of small stature “on the shoulders of giants. We see more, and things that are more distant, than they did, not because our sight is superior or because we are taller than they, but because they raise us up, and by their great stature add to ours.”
- As I note in The Parables after Jesus, interpreters tend to find what they expect to find in a narrative. What interpreters expect to see influences what they see. This selective attention places blinders on interpreters, blinders that can only be removed when interpreters join in dialogues with other interpreters who have different perspectives (cf. the famous “invisible gorilla” experiment by Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons illustrates how our perceptions of what we things is “reality” are skewed by our preconceptions; almost half of the viewers of the video did not see the gorilla).
Thursday, June 3, 2021
Friday, April 2, 2021
Chapter 4 (Part 2) new content of revised What are They saying about the Parables? The Parables of Jesus in/and the Gospels: The Dialogues Continue (Part 2: Klyne Snodgrass)
Chapter 4: The Parables of Jesus in/and the Gospels: The Dialogues Continue (Part 2: Klyne Snodgrass)
- They are brief and straightforward, usually excluding unnecessary details.
- They are marked by simplicity (e.g., at most two characters or groups interact in the same scene) and symmetry (e.g., repetition).
- They mostly focus on humans, mirror the commonness of first-century Palestinian life, and their main purpose “is to goad people into response.”
- Although they may draw on historical events, they are fictional descriptions taken from everyday life that do not necessarily portray everyday life. They are pseudo-realistic in that they can contain hyperbole (e.g., a debt of 10,000 talents) and elements that shock.
- They are engaging; their intent is to elicit thought and require a decision, so “[f]inding the implied question a parable addresses is key to interpretation.”
- Since parables often seek to change one’s thinking and behavior, they regularly contain elements of reversal (e.g., a Samaritan as hero).
- Like a punch line of a joke, the crucial aspect of a parable usually comes at the end.
- Parables are addressed to specific contexts in Jesus’ ministry, serve a specific teaching purpose, and seek to bring about change in people’s beliefs and actions; they are not general stories with universal truths.
- Parables illuminate God, God’s kingdom, and the new reality God seeks to establish on earth (e.g., fathers, kings, and masters in parables generally are archetypes of God).
- Parables frequently refer to Hebrew Bible themes, ideas, and texts (e.g., the Good Samaritan illustrates the love commands at the heart of Judaism).
- Most parables appear in larger collections of parables, such as the Lost Coin, Lost Sheep, and Lost Sons in Luke 15.
Friday, March 12, 2021
Chapter 4 (totally new chapter!) of revised/expanded What are They Saying about the Parables, Chapter 4 (part 1)
Saturday, March 6, 2021
I am delighted that my essay, "Hope and despair in Rembrandt's 'The Good Samaritan'" just appeared in today's National Catholic Reporter.
This essay builds upon one of the four short essays I did for the Visual Commentary on Scripture published by King's College, London, which they entitled with the rather distinctive, "Sh*t Happens."
The National Catholic Reporter essay not only has a more family-friendly name; it also, I think, has a very timely message for the difficult era in which we live, specifically because interpretations of Rembrandt's etching shed light on divergent yet interlocking ways in which human beings respond to difficult circumstances.
One response is of hope; the other is of despair.
I won't post the entire essay (even though the essay is brief), but here is the conclusion:
Another way to approach this image and the parable itself, however, is that this act of compassion and mercy takes place not just in the midst of evil or even in spite of evil, but as a radical and in some ways redemptive act against evil.
Not bad advice from Jesus ("Go and do likewise") and Thurman ("Try it and see").
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