The Power of Parable
How Fiction by Jesus Became Fiction about Jesus
In 1969, I was teaching at two seminaries inthe Chicago area. One of my courses wason the parables by Jesus and the other wason the resurrection stories about Jesus. I hadobserved that the parabolic stories by Jesusseemed remarkably similar to the resurrectionstories about Jesus. Were the latter intended asparables just as much as the former? Had webeen reading parable, presuming history, andmisunderstanding both?
—from The Power of Parable
So begins the quest of renowned Jesus scholarJohn Dominic Crossan as he unlocks the truemeanings and purposes of parable in the Bible sothat modern Christians can respond genuinely toJesus's call to fully participate in the kingdom ofGod. In The Power of Parable, Crossan examinesJesus's parables and identifies what he calls the"challenge parable" as Jesus's chosen teaching toolfor gently urging his followers to probe, question,and debate the ideological absolutes of religiousfaith and the presuppositions of social, political,and economic traditions.
Moving from parables by Jesus to parables aboutJesus, Crossan then presents the four gospels as"megaparables." By revealing how the gospels arenot reflections of the actual biography of Jesus butrather (mis)interpretations by the gospel writersthemselves, Crossan reaffirms the power of parablesto challenge and enable us to co-create withGod a world of justice, love, and peace.
- HarperCollins, March 2012
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