Monday, May 01, 2006

Research Paper

The quest for the historical Jesus has founded research in studies of the Old Testament, New Testament, miracle stories, and most importantly parables. The parable stories give foundation to the wisdom of Jesus' words and his true meaning. While an individual can debate each parable story and its ethics, the final parallel to the kingdom of God and the law of loving neighbor, self, God is evident.
The form of Jesus' parables correlates to three primary categories: allegory, metaphor, and expression. Allegory remains one of the strongest parallels to Jesus' parables. An allegory usually interprets the parable as a story in figurative language whose several points refer to some other event which is both concealed and revealed in the narration (8). The parables also exist as literature that place special emphases to the world of poetic metaphor (10). Metaphor in poetry may appear confusing at times, but in the world of Jesus' parables, they need not be. Metaphors exist as a prime form of illustration. A metaphor can articulate a referent so new or so alien to consciousness that this referent can only be grasped within the metaphor itself (13). Metaphors are often used in parables because they seek to express what is permanently and not just temporarily inexpressible. Expression in Jesus' parables is an area that readers should look for. Is the parable a simple narrative or is it didactic?
Not only the form, but the function is an incredibly important facet to Jesus' parables. One primary function of the parables most scholars can agree on is its relation to the Kingdom of God. The parallelism in the parables to the Kingdom of God is to be understood as power and as mighty deeds (23). There are also three main types of parables: parables of advent, parables of reversal, and parables of action. The author writes that one example of a parable of advent is the story of the sower. The question of the yield (thirtyfold, sixtyfold, one hundredfold) refer not to the whole sowing, but to the seed sown in the good soil. The seeds the grow perhaps relate to the common individual and the soil is the true faith. One cannot grow without true faith, this parable of the sower suggests.
While this parable of the sower is very powerful and has been debated generations later, as a reader I am left unclear as to how this is a parable of advent. Advent generally refers to the beginning, the start, or the arrival of something. The advent in this parable could relate to the beginning of growth and an individuals faith. However, this parallel between parable and advent to me seems like a stretch. I would compare the parable instead to a more clear or concise theme such as the meaning of faith or the true value of a person's trust in God.
The second function according to this book of Jesus' parables is to provide the theme of reversal. This theme immediately provokes the thought of the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. Its metaphorical point was the reversal of expectation and situation, of value and judgment. When Jesus refused to attend to the wishes of the rich man first, and instead tended to Lazarus, he illustrated a direct reversal in traditional value. Many would assume Jesus would attend the man with more money first and foremost. However, Jesus did not fulfill these expectations, revealing that in the kingdom of God there is often a reversal in expectation.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home