The Parables of Jesus: A Commentary

By Arland J. Hultgren | Go to book overview

Preface

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

-xi-

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