Saturday, February 22, 2020

Book 1 of 2020 -- Short Stories By Jesus

Lately I have been fascinated (well maybe just more than usual as it is a recurrent theme in my brain) by the role of Storytelling in our lives. It is, I believe, through story that we open up some very deep questions. Which may be why I love the parables so much.

At any rate when I saw this book I just knew I had to read it.

In this volume Levine walks us through a number of well-known and well-loved parables. She talks about the ways they have been read in the Christian tradition. But more importantly she tries to help us see how they may first have been heard in Jesus' own time and place. In so doing she unmasks some flaws in traditional and modern interpretive choices. She helps us get a better picture of what 1st-Century Judaism may have been like. She helps us consider seriously where anti-Jewish rhetoric has embedded itself in our standard understandings of the parables.

This book does not make it easier to preach on these stories. Quite the contrary in fact. But that is how it should be isn't it?  After all it has long been said that if we believe we have the one right answer to what a parable means then we are oversimplifying it.  Parables should make us think and rethink. Familiarity may sometimes make that hard, this book pushes us to read them again for the first time.