Importance Of Parables In Jesus

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Religion 102
Dr. Plank
CWID: 100520371

Prompt: How does Levine’s exploration of Jesus’ parables contribute to or challenge this class’ discussion about interpreting the New Testament?

Many of us were taught from a young age that the parables contain moral lessons that demonstrates Jesus’s power and benevolence. We never really questioned the interpretations that assumed the characters were direct representations of biblical figures. We seek affirmation and direction with the parables yet forgotten that these stories are meant to challenge us in many different ways. In the book short stories by jesus written by Amy-Jill Levine, she challenged the traditional interpretation, encouraged the examination of context and questioned the allegories. …show more content…

We tamed the content so that they are neat and tidy when in fact they should be wild and unruly. We have “allegorized, moralized and christologized” the parables and we do not challenge traditional interpretations and believe the stories are served to affirm us (4). When they are actually designed to critique our assumptions and remind us of what we know and force us to reflect and ask questions. In Luke 15, there are three parables that surround the idea of lost and found. Traditional interpretations assume that the ones that are lost, for example the Lost Sheep, Coin and Son, are representative of believers who had gone astray and are in need salvation from Jesus. Yet these interpretations shows how we have domesticated the parables. They affirm us, that those who are lost will be found and do not pose any kind of challenge or questions. However, there is more to the …show more content…

Often times we accept the easy interpretations and assume that the main character of the story must be representing Jesus. His actions and characteristics are thus interpreted in a holy, ominous way when in fact it is not as simple as that. Matthew 13.45-46 is a story of the Pearl of Great Price and it demonstrates the how the typical interpretation of allegorization can derail the readers. The traditional allegory sees the parable as a lesson on discipleship where the pearl is seen as the disciple of jesus, the pearl is the gospel and good news of the kingdom (139). Typical interpretations believe that Jesus represents the man who is searching for the pearls or Jesus represents the pearl and we are the merchant searching for him. While these interpretations are not incorrect, it indicates the danger of simplifying allegorization. Parables should be challenging us and raising questions rather than settling for the “one to one correspondence”. It also ignores the original context and what it might have meant for the audience at that time. Levine suggests that allegory requires keys and since they were developed much later the original audience would not have had the key (140). Many believe that since the pearl is so desirable and sought after by the merchant, it must symbolize Jesus or

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