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Interpreting the Parables Paperback – January 24, 1990
Adam Hamilton Explores the Major Themes of The Gospel of John
Join Adam Hamilton this Lent and Easter, as he explains the context of some of the best-known verses in the New Testament while teaching abouth the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus through the Gospel of John. Learn more | See author page
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Considering the implication of the title, I will begin with Blomberg's direct study of the parables of Christ. Dr. Blomberg discusses 40 parables directly in his discussion. Of these, he splits them into 4 categories: Simple 3-Point Parables, Complex 3-Point Parables, Two-Point Parables and One-Point Parables, with the last two being discussed together in one chapter. His view is different from most modern conservative theologians who teach the parable is a metaphorical story intended to teach one precept. He argues that even the most conservative scholars cannot avoid some amount of allegorizing of the parables, and study should include a very limited amount of allegory. His discussion of each parable is interesting, and not allegorical to the point of eisegesis. He does not adhere strictly to the rule that allegorical meaning must be implied in the text from other Scripture, but he does not go overboard in his figurative interpretations. Some of his categorical evidence for multiple-point parables is simply a restating of a previously mentioned precept. Each section describing the parable has an italicized section that summarizes his interpreted teaching points that are to be gleaned from the Scriptural passage.
Over half of the book is a discussion of hermeneutics (study of the methods of interpreting Scripture.) His method is not liberal, but is less conservative than most modern evangelicals are. He begins with a discussion over the debate between two competing ways of interpreting parables in: Parable vs. Allegory and Parable as Allegory.Read more ›
The first half of "Interpreting the Parables" examines how others have interpreted the parables; it examines the various competing hermeneutical approaches to these highly debated sections of Scripture. Beginning with the Church Fathers' allegorization attempts (where every little detail has some theological significance), Blomberg examines Form Criticism (which looks for oral sources behind the text as we have it), Redaction Criticism (which assumes that an editor wove together various independent works and seeks to determine how he did it), and other lesser, still-emerging hermeneutical methods. For each, Blomberg gives a brief history of the interpretive method and points out some of its strengths and weaknesses. This reader didn't find this first part of the book very helpful. While it does point out contribution each interpretive method has made to New Testament scholarship as well as fallacies associated with each method, these discussion did not increase my overall understanding of the parables.Read more ›
Blomberg states that the church has interpreted parables in many different ways throughout history, with the most common interpretation being allegorical - that the narrative is in the heavenly realm where the physical characteristics have spiritual meanings. Many modern scholars have rejected the allegorical approach in favor of the view that each parable only makes one point. Others do not interpret every aspect of parables as allegorical, but see allegorical elements in every parable. Yet another group uses form and reduction criticism to interpret parables, believing that the early church modified parables and that the text does not accurately record the words of Jesus.
Some scholars believe that parables revolve around one main point of comparing a story's activity to Jesus' understanding of the kingdom. In contrast, Blomberg defines an allegory as a complex story told in a parable with numerous details to be decoded. This complex approach was popular among Christian scholars in the nineteenth century. Chrysostom, Aquinas, Calvin, and others had challenged this idea earlier, but even they used some allegory in their exegesis. The scholar Adolf Julicher, at the beginning of the twentieth century, attempted to demolish the allegorical interpretation of the parables. His main argument was that words such as "like" and "as" point to a straightforward comparison in the parables.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
first part of the book, note I have only read about 100 pages, is a little hard to understand, but as I read more it becomes more explanatory. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Roy Lassiter
it is a good book, and i would recommend the reading of this book to a friend or classmate at schoolPublished on January 31, 2014 by Juan G. Quiroga
This is a very good book for understanding the parables and their interpetations -- there are many viewpoints offered by way of references to other books, and the author does a... Read morePublished on November 29, 2012 by pdlmh
This is excellent, and the reader will only benefit. It goes into some detail over the question of allegory (is it or isn't it?! Read morePublished on November 4, 2012 by Ben
In 1899, the German scholar Adolf Julicher published his two volume work on the parables entitled DIE GLEICHNISREDEN JESU. Read morePublished on September 7, 2008 by Steve Jackson
I read the first two chapters, poked through the third and fourth, and read the commentaries on a few parables. I found this book very frustrating and nearly useless. Read morePublished on April 27, 2006 by Scott Fairbanks