The Parables of Jesus: A Commentary

The Parables of Jesus: A Commentary

The Parables of Jesus: A Commentary

The Parables of Jesus: A Commentary

Synopsis

This inaugural volume in the Bible in Its World series offers a comprehensive commentary on the parables of Jesus. Arland Hultgren's outstanding work features fresh translations of the parables in the Synoptic Gospels and the Gospel of Thomas, followed by interpretive notes and commentary on the theological meaning and significance of each parable for readers today.

After an introductory chapter on the nature of parables and their interpretation, Hultgren studies the thirty-eight parables of Jesus thematically, exploring in turn "parables of the revelation of God," "parables of exemplary behavior," "parables of wisdom," "parables of life before God," "parables of final judgment," "allegorical parables," and "parables of the kingdom." He also discusses how the three evangelists used the parables within the literary framework and theological interests of their Gospels. The book ends with a close look at the parables of Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas.

Distinctive in the field for its scope of coverage and its goal of addressing the widest possible audience, this volume will be a valuable study resource for classrooms, churches, and general readers.

Excerpt

The parables of Jesus continue to intrigue, instruct, inspire, puzzle, and amuse. They are the basis for sermons in Christian churches around the world. They are the first stories of Jesus that are taught to children.

It is not surprising that many books have been written on the parables. Some of them deal primarily with the parables in the ancient world; others investigate the parables for their literary qualities; others make use of the parables within larger hermeneutical projects; and others provide popular, homiletical treatments.

What seems to be missing within the spectrum is a study of the parables that is comprehensive, drawing upon the wealth of parable research, and that is at the same time exegetical and theological. The purpose of the present work is to fill that void.

The research for this book stretches over several years. I have taught a course on the parables of Jesus to seminary students many times over, and the needs of that course have required careful attention to the parables of Jesus through extensive research, critical reflection, lectures, and conversation. In addition, a sabbatical leave for the academic year 1997–98 allowed time to follow up, expand, and enrich what was at hand, and to do most of the actual writing of the book.

It is my pleasure to extend sincere thanks to various persons. My heartfelt thanks go to Barbara A. Gaiser and Neal J. Anthony for assisting with the bibliographies. David Noel Freedman performed superb editorial work, giving attention to matters of content and composition alike. The book is considerably better in light of his skills, and I gladly acknowledge my gratitude to him. Finally, I am indebted to the persons who make institutional decisions and provide for support in carrying out research, teaching, and learning at Luther Seminary. These include members of the Board of Directors, administration, and . . .

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