Three Stories Outside of the Gospels
One of the problems with studying the parables of Jesus is that we know the punchline to the stories. In this lesson we tell three stories outside of the Gospels to help us prepare for the study of the parables of Jesus.
Kenneth Bailey says that Jesus was a “metaphoric theologian.” Well, if that’s true we are probably going to need some help understanding him because metaphor, symbolism and analogies are not always easy to interpret. This session contains resources that might help us.
In session 3, we define what parable is. We get the definitions from different sources as comparison.
Parables are not unique to Jesus-what he did with them is somewhat unique. There were Hasidic tales, Sufi stories, and Zen anecdotes. Some say there were Buddhist and Chinese ones. Supposedly Aesop’s fables can be traced to Syrian origins. But we have some OT ones, and Judaism has its fair share. There are also Rabbinic ones and Greco-Roman ones. Jesus drew upon some of these and the people to whom Jesus spoke had a reservoir from which to draw to interpret them.
As people heard Jesus tell parables, they saw at once that they weren’t about God, so there was nothing in them threatening their own sovereignty. They relaxed their defenses. They walked away perplexed, wondering what they meant, the stories lodged in their imagination. This session covers multiple functions and purposes of parables.
Functions are very similar to Purposes. There are many purposes of parables. So we will expand Lesson 5 into this lesson on purposes..
Historical Background: the Dress of the Parable
Session 7 covers Historical Background: the Dress of the Parable. It also includes all issues at stake and parables where it matters.
Session 8 covers special features of the parables and where to pay attention to fully understand the message.