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Stories with Intent: A Comprehensive Guide to the Parables of Jesus Hardcover – January 11, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 864 pages
  • Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. (January 11, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802842410
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802842411
  • Product Dimensions: 9.7 x 6.4 x 2.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #52,514 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Klyne Snodgrass (PhD, University of St. Andrews) is professor of biblical literature and holder of the Paul W. Brandel Chair of New Testament Studies at North Park Theological Seminary.

Customer Reviews

I have had this book for a week now, and it is fabulous.
Jim Manner
Dr. Snodgrass provides a very thorough exegesis of each of the parables, while also pointing the reader to clear application.
S. B. Jones
I highly recommend it to anyone studying the parables and especially to any pastors.
Robert M.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

76 of 76 people found the following review helpful By Jim Manner on March 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I have had this book for a week now, and it is fabulous. I have read other books on the parables, one purchased on Amazon and another while in college, but "Stories with Intent" sets a new standard for later works to model.

Yes, this book is huge -- more than 800 pages -- but the first 60 pages are dedicated to setting the stage for the material and how the parables are evaluated, and the final 260 pages are appendices, reference notes and a lengthy bibliography and index. Pretty exhaustive!

Each parable is given an in-depth analysis, starting with a review of the issues that need to be addressed within each (such as cultural, theological and moral considerations); background material, such as related source material from the OT, NT, Jewish writings and Christian writings; and then a thorough look at the parable itself. Klyne Snodgrass does an awesome job of balancing his study with textual insights based on the Greek language (such as comparing word usage in other Gospel accounts), cultural considerations (what the parable would have meant to the Jews who heard it during Jesus' time), rhetorical comparisons (taking into account devices such as inclusio and chiastic structures) and more. He also shares contrasting interpretations for the parables before sharing his interpretation, which always let the original audience and setting be a compass for where his interpretation will lead the reader. Lastly, the writing style is very friendly, offering insights such as this one from the parable of the treasure in Matthew Chapter 13: "No one goes and sells all for something that does not cause the adrenaline to flow."

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in learning more about the parables. It's wonderful to pick up and read for reference on any parable, but I also have found it to be a great form of study -- using my Bible to look up comparative verses, conducting word studies and more.
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45 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Eutychus II on July 26, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Klyne Snodgrass has done this decade and maybe the next two the favor of condensing 35 years of teaching the Parables of Jesus into "just" 800 pages or so, in Stories with Intent: A Comprehensive Guide to the Parables of Jesus.

This is the book almost every seminary graduate will wish he or she had had when studying the parables. I do, and I wish I had had it the past 40 years. There are classics on the Parables, to be sure, such as the one by Jeremias The Parables of Jesus 3rd revised edition (simplified in his Rediscovering the Parables), but none were as comprehensive as this one.

Two features make Stories with Intent remarkably easy to read. First, all the chapters on the parables themselves follow the same basic outline, but it is the vertical white space that makes the outline stand out and the discussion particularly easy to follow. Secondly, all the advanced discussion is in the end notes, so that the reader who needs to follow up can and the reader who prefers not to can just keep reading.

In addition, the chapters on the parables themselves end with a section called "Adapting the Parable" (just before "For Further Reading)." The former describes the significance of the parable for today, in somewhat wider ways than mere "application," though that it included, too. Often Snodgrass makes a pithy remark--almost a wisdom saying in its own right--to end that section. For example, "Once again, the note of joy, as an essential feature of the kingdom, cannot be neglected.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Brian G Hedges on January 7, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Since I'm now preaching a short series on The Parables of Jesus, I recently purchased and started reading Klyne Snodgrass's Stories with Intent: A Comprehensive Guide to the Parables of Jesus. Comprehensive it is. This book is 846 pages long (though over 300 pages of this are bibliography and notes)! But though it is comprehensive, it is written with preachers in mind. As Snodgrass admits in his preface, "This is unapologetically and quite consciously a selfishly motivated book. This is what I want when preparing to teach or preach on the parables" (p. xi). It's what I want, too, and I'm glad Snodgrass gave in to his selfish ambition!

Snodgrass begins, of course, with an "Introduction to the Parables of Jesus," in which he covers (these are the subheadings): Necessary History; What is a Parable?; How Should Parables Be Classified?; What about Allegory?; Characteristics of Jesus' Parables; Distribution of the Parables; How Should Parables Be Interpreted?; and NT Criticism - Assumptions and Hesitations, Method and Procedure.

He lists eleven characteristics of Jesus' parables:

1. Jesus' parables are first of all brief, even terse.
2. Parables are marked by simplicity and symmetry.
3. Jesus' parables focus mostly on humans.
4. The parables are fictional descriptions taken from everyday life.
5. Parables are engaging.
6. Since they frequently seek to reorient thought and behavior . . . parables often contain elements of reversal.
7. With their intent to bring about response and elements like reversal, the crucial matter of parables is usually at the end, which functions something like the punch line of a joke.
8. Parables are told into a context.
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