Sunday, August 10, 2014

Update: Parables "covered" in the book so far

Will This Image make the Cut for Chapter 3?

Some of my former students who (claim to) read this blog have often indicated their interest in hearing more about the process of writing a book, so I have included details from time to time about my thought processes, deliberations, and decisions while researching and writing this particular book.

Faculty meetings start this week. The beginning of the semester at Emory is just around the corner, and Pierce Institute activities will ramp up in earnest (all of which obviously will give me much less time to work on the book). So I thought it would be a good time to review and explain what I have written so far.

The book is due on or before December 1, 2015, and I have made good progress. I have completed almost half of the book in draft form (it actually might be a bit more than half, since I have written about 30 people/subjects). As I will explain in a later post, I will also need several months to rework the draft. I have intentionally written "long," and I will need to cut about 1/3 to 1/4 of what I have written. That's the painful but necessary part!

For each section/person in the book, I have been keeping a list of the parables I cover. For example, in my section on Irenaeus, I discuss his interpretations of the parables of the Workers in the Vineyard, Good Samaritan, Wise and Foolish Builders, Barren Fig Tree, and Wedding Feast. 

I also am keeping other lists. Another example would be the list of parables I cover, including the interpreters who discuss that parable. For example, in the first two chapters, here are the people I have discussing the Rich Man and Lazarus parable: Tertullian, Macrina the Younger, Ephrem the Syrian, Gregory the Great, Echternach Gospels, Bonaventure, John Gower, and Geoffrey Chaucer (with Martin Luther, William Shakespeare, and John Bunyan so far in Chapter 3, which is half-written). I want to be sure that I cover as many parables as possible in the book and also to show a diversity of receptions/interpretations. 

Here are the parables I have treated so far in this Reception History text: 

  • The Unforgiving Slave (Matt 18:23-35)
  • Workers in the Vineyard (Matt 20:1-16)
  • The Lost Sheep (Matt 18:12-14/Luke 15:4-7/Thom 107 / Gospel of Truth 31-32)
  • The Lost Coin (Luke 15:8-10)
  • The Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32)
  • The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37)
  • The Rich Fool (Luke 12:16-21/Thomas 63)
  • The Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31)
  • The Pharisee and the Tax Collector (Luke 18:10-14)
  • The Wise and Foolish Builders (Matt 7:24-27/Luke 6:47-49)
  • Building a Tower (Luke 14:28-30) (barely mentioned so far)
  • The Unjust Manager (Luke 16:1-8)
  • The Ten Maidens/Wise and Foolish Virgins (Matt 25:1-13)
  • The Sower (Mark 4:3-8, 13-20; Matt 13:3-8, 18-23; Luke 8:5-8, 11-15; Thomas 9)
  • The Two Debtors (Luke 7:41-43) (barely)
  • The Barren Fig Tree (Luke 13:6-9)
  • The Unjust Judge (Luke 18:2-8)
  • The Talents (Matt 25:14-30)
  • Wheat and the Weeds/Tares (Matt 13:24-30 / Thomas 57)
  • The Dragnet (Matt 13:47-50)
  • The Final Judgment—Sheep/Goats (Matt 25:31-46)
  • The Great Banquet (Luke 14:16-24; Thomas 64)
  • The Wedding Feast (Matt 22:1-14)
  • The Wicked Tenants (Mark 12:1-12 / Matt 21:33-46 / Luke 20:9-19 / Thomas 65-66)
  • The Mustard Seed (Mark 4:30-32 / Matt 13:31-32 / Luke 13:18-19 / Thomas 20)
  • The Leaven (Matt 13:33 / Luke 13:20-21 / Thomas 96)
  • The Treasure in the Field (Matt 13:44 / Thomas 109)
  • The Pearl of Great Price (Matt 13:45-46 / Thomas 76) 
  • The King going to War (Luke 14:31-33)
  • *The Good Shepherd (not really a parable)

New Testament scholars have varying opinions on what exactly to include in a list of Jesus parables, but the above thirty parables includes most of the ones on all the lists. 

What is still missing? Well, for example, I still don't have anything on:
  • The Seed Growing Secretly (Mark 4:26-29; Thomas 57)
  • The Two Sons (Matt 21:28-32)
  • The Friend at Midnight (Luke 11:5-8)


Of course some parables are treated more often and more extensively in the book than other parables, simply because they are more prevalent in Reception History (e.g., the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son are almost everywhere during most of these eras). And the above list may change, because I have a lot of trimming/editing to do before this manuscript is ready to head to +James Ernest at Baker Academic. James has already given me valuable feedback on my lists of interpreters in Chapters 1 and 2--as well as other elements of the book--so I look forward to continuing that collaboration.

The lists of interpreters in each chapter--the parts I have written so far, at least--will be the subjects of my next posts. I also will give additional thoughts about what I have done and will need to do in those chapters.

And, yes, it is likely that Abraham Bloemaert's The Wheat and the Tares (above) will indeed be included in the book. I will discuss that painting after I have researched further and written about it for the book.


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