Parables make up one third of Jesus speech in the New Testament In this volume, Richard Lischer provides an expert guide to these parables and proposes an important distinction between reading and interpreting the parablesEmphasizing the importance of reading the parables versus interpreting them, Lischer asserts that reading offers a kind of breathing space to explore historical, literary, theological, and socio political dimensions of the parables and their various meanings, whereas interpreting implies an expert and critical position that must be defendedIn this volume, Lischer lays out four theories for reading parablesparables obscure truthparables teach many truthsparables teach one truth andparables undermine the truth Ultimately, he concludes that biblical parables undermine dominant myths called the truth to shine light on the Truth that is Jesus, God s presence with us


10 thoughts on “Reading the Parables: Interpretation: Resources for the Use of Scripture in the Church

  1. Robert D. Cornwall Robert D. Cornwall says:

    In the Synoptic Gospels Jesus most often used parables to convey his message The question is what did Jesus mean when he told the parables and how do we interpret them today One of the major questions moderns have asked concerns whether parables have just one meaning or could they have multiple meanings Since preachers like me often turn to the parables, this is an important question In other words, are we limited to a specific, historical critical determined meaning Or might we follow t In the Synoptic Gospels Jesus most often used parables to convey his message The question is what did Jesus mean when he told the parables and how do we interpret them today One of the major questions moderns have asked concerns whether parables have just one meaning or could they have multiple meanings Since preachers like me often turn to the parables, this is an important question In other words, are we limited to a specific, historical critical determined meaning Or might we follow the lead of interpreters like Augustine and interpret them allegorically After all, Jesus did just that in his interpretation of the parable of the sower.Richard Lischer has written a wonderful book on reading the parables Although this book appears in the series Interpretation Resources for the Use of Scripture in the Church, he prefers the use of the word reading over interpreting The word interpretation conveys to many the sense of a fixed understanding, but reading reminds us that no parable of Jesus has ever found its definitive, unassailable interpretation p 2 With the medieval and postmodern interpreters, Lischer inists that no parable has one fixed meaning, but is capable of being read as has been true down through history in a variety of ways In chapter 1 Lischer takes us into the issues facing us as we read the parables, including defining the various forms a parable takes from simile to example story In chapter two he explores four theories of reading the parables 1 they obscure the truth 2 they teach many truths 3 teach one truth 4 they undermine the truth In chapter three he takes us into the way in which Mark Matthew, and Luke use the parables Then in chapter four, he looks at the way the parables speak to the human condition from derangements to the surreal Then chapter five he looks at how the parables look when read from the perspective of the poor Finally, in chapter six he takes the parable of the Good Samaritan and shows how Augustine, Julian of Norwich, Luther, Calvin, Martin Luther King, and the commmunity of Solemtname read the parables This last section was quite fascinating as it illustrates how one parable can elicit such a variety of perspectives.This is a book I will be turning to as a preacher as I engage the parables of Jesus It is not an in depth treatment of the parables, but a guide to reading the parables in new ways together with a variety of communities It is not, he notes that every parable can be read in any way we wish, but that parables should be read with discernment in ways that speak to the community to which we the preachers are addressing It is probably the best treatment of the parables I have encountered


  2. Jeff Bobin Jeff Bobin says:

    This gives some good insight into how the parable of Jesus have been read throughout history and good background material The weakness was in the limited interaction with the actual parables.