- Hardcover: 864 pages
- Publisher: Eerdmans (January 11, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0802842410
- ISBN-13: 978-0802842411
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 2 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 41 customer reviews
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- #1080 in Books > Christian Books & Bibles > Bible Study & Reference > Criticism & Interpretation > New Testament
- #1088 in Books > Christian Books & Bibles > Bible Study & Reference > New Testament > Jesus, the Gospels & Acts
- #2501 in Books > Christian Books & Bibles > Bible Study & Reference > Bible Study > New Testament
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Stories with Intent: A Comprehensive Guide to the Parables of Jesus Hardcover – January 11, 2008
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"This book will become an academic standard for the study of parables and Jesus. Essential. (Four Stars)."
— University of Cambridge
"This book is a simply stunning achievement. Klyne Snodgrass discusses Jesus' parables with theological sensitivity, with careful attention to comparable Jewish and Greco-Roman traditions, and in dialogue with the mountain of secondary literature. Scholar and student alike will appreciate its admirable clarity and its numerous fresh suggestions. This wide-ranging book has no rival: it will bethe book on the parables for the next decade and beyond."
Arland J. Hultgren
— Luther Seminary
"Convinced that the parables are the most certain avenue for access to Jesus' teaching, Klyne Snodgrass analyzes all of them with skill, care, and imagination. As a seasoned teacher and scholar, he outlines steps for the interpreter to follow, provides historical and cultural background materials, and engages the parables theologically. No one has located the parables as clearly and forcefully within the prophetic tradition of Israel, thereby providing a new approach to their vitality."
— Dallas Theological Seminary
"Bravo! Stories with Intent is the culmination of Klyne Snodgrass's lifetime of reflection on the parables. It shows a wealth of discernment in the clarity of its presentation, the soundness of its reasoning, the choice of citation and parallels, and the care of its argument. No study of the parables is as crisply structured as it answers the questions readers often raise about these stories. Here is a book with intent, and it succeeds exceptionally well in opening up a key dimension of Jesus' ministry and teaching."
Charles H. Talbert
— Baylor University
"I have been looking for a book like this on the parables all my career. I celebrate its appearance."
William H. Willimon
— Bishop, North Alabama Conference, United Methodist Church
"Here in one volume is the latest and best interpretation of the parables of Jesus. This book is sure to be received as a fine resource for engaging proclamation of the parables."
— St. Mark's School of Theology, Charles Sturt University
"In Stories with Intent Klyne Snodgrass has fulfilled his promise of a comprehensive guide to the parables of Jesus. . . Whatever angle the reader brings to the study of the parables, this book brings rich resources to illuminate that study. It is necessary reading for anyone interested in the parables and teaching of Jesus."
— University of Tübingen
"Stories with Intent is a very helpful and inspiring book, written for pastors and scholars, for students of the Bible, and for laypeople interested in the teaching of Jesus. It contains an abundance of well-arranged valuable information about the history of research and the Old Testament, Jewish, Greco-Roman, and social backgrounds of the parables, at the same time leading readers to the center of Jesus' teaching. A wonderful book."
“Snodgrass has written a major study of the parables which focuses on their form, purpose, interpretation and theology. . . . This is an insightful and comprehensive treatment which is certain to become a landmark study in parable research.”
“Stories with Intent is Snodgrass’s magnum opus, the product of 35 years of NT research and teaching. It is, as its subtitle claims, comprehensive.”
Religious Studies Review
“A notable achievement and [it] deserves a place on the shelf of every serious interpreter of the parables.”
“This fresh look at Jesus’ parables is timely. Snodgrass has written a special book — it is at once comprehensive, accessible, reliable, engaging and very useful. . . . A rich resource indeed.”
“It is impossible to read Stories with Intent without learning new details about the ancient world, without being guided into more nuanced understandings of Jesus’ message, and without being challenged to engage the church and the world today with Jesus’ message of God’s kingdom which became a reality with Jesus’ life and message.”
Journal for the Study of the New Testament
“There is little doubt that Stories with Intent is sure to become a valuable resource for all who study the parables of Jesus.”
Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
“An impressive and commendable piece of work that will hopefully encourage pastors, teachers, and students to engage the parables in the context of Jesus and further to apply them responsibly to their own contemporary contexts”
“Klyne Snodgrass is on to a winner. And let it be said without more ado, this book is a fine achievement, careful about detail, and comprehensive (one might almost say encyclopaedic) in its coverage of everything that everybody who is anybody in the study of the Gospels has written.”
Currents in Theology & Mission
“This is a rich resource for preaching and adult education. One will not exhaust its resources in a lifetime of parable study.”
Journal of Theological Studies
“Probably few books that claim the description ‘comprehensive’ live up to the accolade. Professor Snodgrass’s magnum opus on Jesus’ parables, however, is surely as close to an authoritative reference work on the parables as we shall see for years to come.”
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As Snodgrass takes up each parable (categorized thematically), he provides an introduction, discusses the parable type, lists issues requiring attention, looks at helpful source material, offers a comparison of the various accounts of the parable, discusses textual features worthy of attention, highlights relevant cultural information, and offers an explanation of the parable. Finally, he includes a section on adapting the parable for today. He deals throughout with a wide spectrum of opinions and interpretations, readily admitting when the answers to questions are open to interpretation. He thoughtfully deals with the question of historical reconstructions of the life of Jesus. He wisely questions a number of dubious assumptions behind much previous work on the parables.
This is a well-organized, incredibly well-researched book written that shows immersion in a vast variety of sources. Snodgrass is usually clear, but the discussion at times bogs down in discussions that are ponderous. A frequent complaint is the use of endnotes instead of footnotes. In many ways, Snodgrass represents evangelical scholarship at its best: mature, thoughtful, and balanced. His book, Stories with Intent, ranks with prominent evangelical works by such authors such as Arland J. Hultgren. In terms of its research, it has no rivals. Stories with Intent is a tremendous resource for pastors, scholars, and students.
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. This distinguishes the parables from Aesop's fables, which are stand alone morality tales. Jesus' parables, in contrast, are "not general storeis with universal truths" but "are addressed to quite specific contexts in the ministry of Jesus."
9. Jesus' parables are theocentric.
10. Parables frequently allude to OT texts.
11. Most parables appear in larger collections of parables.
And, in discussing how to interpret the parables, Snodgrass offers the following principles:
1. Analyze each parable thoroughly.
2. Listen to the parable without presupposition as to its form or meaning.
3. Remember that Jesus' parables were oral instruments in a largely oral culture.
4. If we are after the intent of Jesus, we must seek to hear a parable as Jesus' Palestinian hearers would have heard it.
5. Note how each parable and its redactional shaping fit with the purpose and plan of each Evangelist.
6. Determine specifically the function of the story in the teaching of Jesus.
7. Interpret what is given, not what is omitted. Any attempt to interpret a parable based on what is not there is almost certainly wrong.
8. Do not impose real time on parable time.
9. Pay particular attention to the rule of end stress.
10. Note where the teaching of the parables intersects with the teaching of Jesus elsewhere.
11. Determine the theological intent and significance of each parable.
Some of these principles, admittedly, need a bit more explanation and fleshing out than I am choosing to do in this review, but many of the principles are self-evident. This list at least gives you an idea of how Snodgrass approaches the task of interpretation.
The next section covers Parables in the Ancient World, looking specifically at parables in the Old Testament, Early Jewish Writings, Greco-Roman Writings, The Early Church, and Later Jewish Writings. After that, Snodgrass jumps in to the actual parables themselves, dividing thirty-two parables into nine sections. These sections are entitled:
* Grace and Responsibility
* Parables of Lostness
* The Parable of the Sower and the Purpose of Parables
* Parables of the Present Kingdom in Matthew 13, Mark 4, and Luke 13
* Parables Specifically about Israel
* Parables about Discipleship
* Parables about Money
* Parables concerning God and Prayer, and
* Parables of Future Eschatology
As Snodgrass takes up each parable, he discusses the parable type, raises issues requiring attention, looks at helpful primary source material, does a comparison of the different accounts of the parable in the gospels, discusses textual issues worth noting, highlights helpful cultural information, then gives an explanation of the parable, talks about adapting the parable for our own context, and suggests further reading (as if he were not comprehensive enough for most people!). This really is a well organized book, designed to function more like a manual for ongoing reference, than to read straight through (which I'm not doing).
Finally, the book ends with an epilogue, six appendices, over one hundred pages of notes and almost fifty pages of bibliography, and then two indices. I expect to use this book not only in my current sermon series, but for many years to come and heartily recommend it to others.