The structure of this class on days 2, 3 and 4 is for a lecture on the context of each gospel and how the shape and purpose of each gospel influences the interpretation of the parables. In the second part of the class there is a presentation of a parable by a student and then a response to that presentation by the other students and from Tom Long.
So Mark, Matthew and Luke are not identical and the differences are not accidents but purposeful. How do these differences shape the way the reader responds to the parables that Jesus tells?
A parable is similar to the knight move in chess in how the moves do not follow the straight line.
When a parable does not stretch towards the extravagance then we have domesticated the parable and no longer allow the unexpected truth to speak to us.
Fred Craddock – Jesus parables involved no one expecting them to go towards mercy. When we feel entitled that they go towards grace, we have domesticated the parable.
In preaching we have the task of releasing the energy of the parable.
Does the listener become a co-creator of meaning with the telling of the parable?
We end up giving an authority to the listeners, like impressionist painters we paint a picture but the listener becomes a co-creator of what is seen in the sermon/painting
Meaning like dance partners, moving across the floor, contextually bound to how the movement plays out in the largeness of the space in which it is heard.
Fields of meaning, polyvalent in meaning
Sermon is contextual and so how the parable as a genre works is in context
Review of genre
for insiders to interpret
drawn into the discourse and faith world for it to have its full power
Instruments of rhetoric to teach a particular lesson
3) Object of Art
Go into the story and you experience
4) Prophetic Speech
Parable is not a literary device but a description of the world as it is and a call to some action or attitude
Appears in Matthew, Mark, Luke and Thomas
Each author shows a character to this parable the involves the purpose of their gospel
Supposed to throw you out of the parable into a text that you already know because you are thrown into Isaiah 5
Is 5 – Vineyard owner is God and vineyard is Israel and God did not get justice from his vineyard, servants rejected prophets/john the baptist
If you don’t know the decoding advise then you are out of meaning tools
Beloved Son/Jesus, the heir, throw him outside of the vineyard/outside of the walls of Jerusalem
Given the vineyard to others/ Jews and Gentile dualism?? or does it mean something else these leaders who have led the people astray will be replaced by others. Replacement of leadership
If you thought decoding was the best method, what then will the preacher do?
Covert description of the rejection of Jesus by the leadership of his own people
Look for the theological idea that rests in the center of the story.
…death of the son leads to restoration of the kingdom
…in every time and place God entrusts his kingdom to people and they are called to serve faithfully the will of the Father and if they don’t they will be overturned
goal of the preaching
make that idea as your own and constitute understanding of God….a teaching sermon
Object of Art
retell the story to draw the people into the experience of the parable and your gut turns to meaning without evening being told
investing theology with an emotional reaction
In a repeated world of violence, how does God react?
Or focus on the character of the Father and so track the verbs and who is the actor of action and notice the absolutely deeply invested father in the vineyard.
Jesus in Mark and the widow’s mite
– Beware of the authorities who devour widows’ houses
– Fake sacrifice / real sacrifice
– Disciples, “Isn’t that a beautiful building”
– Jesus says that God is going to rip that building down —- the violence of God
…there is crap we are building, that may need to be destroyed
How does the parable fit into the greater Markan theme that God is unpredictable and the absurdity of how God is at work?
Description of land operations in Galilee with absentee landowners
Leaders of Israel have encouraged the peasants to resent absentee landowners and Romans so deeply that they get drawn into fantasies of violence. There is a growing lack of trust in God and so an entitlement to take into their own hands the violence that God should be doing.
The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone…precious to Israel…encouragement to put their trust in God and not need to resort to Roman style violence.
To do this reading you have to steal yourself away from the Christological and allegorical details that are pregnant in text.
Theological and political reading of the text
The attack on the authorities is about the violence that they have been encouraging
Can the parable help examine the violence we commit, what do we think is going to happen when we are participants in the violence?
IF as tenants we begin to attack as owners we are going to bump up against our sense of entitlement that pushes us toward violence.
Expectations of the Sermon
When telling a sermon that does not follow the reader expectation of the sermon it is an act of kindness to the reader to give a clue that the convention is being broken
First person story, a field education student preachers a first person sermon and at the end of the service a kind woman says, “It was a wonderful sermon, but I did not know that you have leprosy.”
The GOSPEL OF MARK as a whole parable to hear the particulars of the parables
The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the son of God
Two understandings of who Jesus is but it is not until eight chapters later in Mark that anyone else figures out.
Who do you say that I am?
Centurion: Christ, the son of the living God
As the reader you realize that Jesus to be the messiah, he reveals what it means to be the Son of God
At the Easter Scene: unsettled moment the reader sits there
Go tell his disciples??? Who are his disciples??? See you in Galilee??? Chapter 1:14 In Galilee, “The kingdom of God is at hand
Ancient task of rereading, and that you didn’t get it until the end and then reread it with that knowledge
chapter 5 in the cemetery with the demoniac
and then chapter 16
Both men are seated, clothed, right mind, telling the wonders of God
Parables reread with all of Mark
The sowers sow the seed
Satan, chapter 8 get behind me Satan
Crowd, betrayal of the disciples
thorns, rich guy that came away and turned away sorrowful
good soil, eschatological
Mary Ann Talbot speaks of rereading parables, then they are read Christological.
A panorama reading of Scripture, stops slipping from one view into another but keeping the whole view.
Gordon Lathrop sees that in Mark there is humming in the background a document that every educated person had read and every uneducated knew about.
Neoplatonism and Plato was a central world view.
The platonic worldview of ideals
the primer Timaeus
I [interlude] II
The world is a perfectly formed orb that is in rotation around the truth idea, and from the outside we only observe the shadow of the real
The interlude was a hymn to philosophy about a pity for the blind man who believes that if he has sight he would see the truth, but pity him because only the philosopher can see the truth.
II – ethics of living in this shadow
Lathrop argues that Mark is a replacement for Timaeus
The schizomai is the breaking of distinction and shows that God’s pleasure is in the fullness of reality found in Jesus
Middle of Mark is a counter hymn
The ideal is not in the philosopher but in the servant to the real
Only miracle where the recipient is named is Bar-Timaeus is a blind beggar, sitting beside the way crying out for the Son of David to have mercy.
The son of Timaeus cries to the son of David
Throws his cloak (academic gown in Greek is a possibility)
“My teacher let me regain my sight”
the ethic is to the cross
In reading of the parables we look for the interruptions of cosmology.
The rest of class involved the presentation by students and reactions from the class and professor about specific parables. I am not going to write about these presentations.