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The Parables of Jesus: A Commentary (Bible in Its World) [Paperback]

By Arland J. Hultgren (Author)
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Item description for The Parables of Jesus: A Commentary (Bible in Its World) by Arland J. Hultgren...

The primary meaning of the word "parable" is "comparison." Hultgren's comprehensive commentary, however, is incomparable, blending solid scholarship with accessible style. His fascinating study covers the Synoptic gospels and the apocryphal Gospel of Thomas, arranging 38 parables in seven categories: the revelation of God, exemplary behavior, wisdom, life before God, final judgment, the kingdom, and allegories. 522 pages, softcover from Eerdmans.

Publishers Description
This inaugural volume in the Bible in Its World series offers a comprehensive commentary on the parables of Jesus. Arland Hultgren's outstanding work features fresh translations of the parables in the Synoptic Gospels and the Gospel of Thomas, followed by interpretive notes and commentary on the theological meaning and significance of each parable for readers today.After an introductory chapter on the nature of parables and their interpretation, Hultgren studies the thirty-eight parables of Jesus thematically, exploring in turn "parables of the revelation of God," "parables of exemplary behavior," "parables of wisdom," "parables of life before God," "parables of final judgment," "allegorical parables," and "parables of the kingdom." He also discusses how the three evangelists used the parables within the literary framework and theological interests of their Gospels. The book ends with a close look at the parables of Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas.Distinctive in the field for its scope of coverage and its goal of addressing the widest possible audience, this volume will be a valuable study resource for classrooms, churches, and general readers.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
Pages   552
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.31" Width: 6.34" Height: 1.17"
Weight:   1.7 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   May 1, 2002
Publisher   Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
Series  Bible In Its World  
ISBN  080286077X  
ISBN13  9780802860774  

Availability  1 units.
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More About Arland J. Hultgren

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Arland J. Hultgren is Asher O. and Carrie Nasby Professor of New Testament at Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minnesota. Among his books is The Parables of Jesus: A Commentary.

Arland J. Hultgren currently resides in the state of Minnesota.

Arland J. Hultgren has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Augsburg Commentary on the New Testament
  2. Bible in Its World (Paperback)

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Bible & Other Sacred Texts > Bible > New Testament
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Commentaries > Commentaries
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Concordances
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > New Testament > Study
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Christology

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Reviews - What do customers think about The Parables of Jesus: A Commentary (Bible in Its World)?

A pearl of great price  Jun 20, 2003
Arland Hultgren's book, `The Parables of Jesus: A Commentary', provides an interesting look at one of the key methods of the ministry of Jesus. At the beginning of his introductory chapter, Hultgren wrote, `Two things are generally known about Jesus of Nazareth that are beyond historical doubt, and they are known around the world by Christians and non-Christians alike. The one is that Jesus was crucified in the first century of the Common Era. The other is that he taught in parables.'

Parables are not unique to Jesus, or to Christianity, Hultgren concedes. However, there are key components of Jesus' parables that make them unique and long-lasting. Starting with a working definition of parables as `a figure of speech in which a comparison is made between God's kingdom, actions, or expectations and something in this world, real or imaginary', Hultgren then looks at the numbers and types of parables. There are two types of parables: narrative stories, and similitudes, parables that act as analogies in a more direct fashion.

Hultgren examines scholarly arguments for and against the uniqueness of Jesus' parables, concluding that the parables are distinctive on six bases:

1. Directness of address to their intended audience is present in all parables.
2. The parables are message-bearers in and of themselves - they don't rest on outside interpretations or tag-line morals
3. The parables are not used for argumentation and stand alone, presupposing little if any specific background knowledge.
4. They describe God in relationship and action, not in substance and attribute.
5. Many have a `surprise ending', or an unexpected twist.
6. Jesus' parables combine elements of wisdom tradition and eschatology elements, otherwise often seen as being at odds with each other.

Hultgren then examines the scholarship behind looking at the universal and the particular in parables. Despite the universal appeal and application parables are wont to have, Hultgren argues strongly that their particular placement in history as the composition of a Jewish man (Jesus) preserved by the Christian church over time has a central importance.

In Hultgren's examine of the interpretation of parables, he argues (via Adolf Julicher) that parables cannot be interpreted as pure allegories. He cites Cadoux, Dodd and Jeremias as looking at historical settings and seeking to go `behind the text' of parables, recognising the difficulties inherent in such an approach. Also referencing Jesus Seminar scholars and the likes of Kingsbury, Donahue, and Drury, Hultgren explores briefly the literary and contextual aspects of parable interpretation. Hultgren ultimately chooses a method of interpretation from within a decidedly Christian context, within the canon of scripture.

One minor point here - this approach is rather faulty at times, given that Hultgren draws in the references from the gospel of Thomas, not part of the official canon of scripture of the Church, at every point where there is overlap.

Following up from this discussion, the bulk of the text addresses the parables themselves. These are broken into the following categories:

- Parables of the Revelation of God
- Parables of Exemplary Behaviour
- Parables of Wisdom
- Parables of Life Before God
- Parables of Final Judgement
- Allegorical Parables
- Parables of the Kingdom

Each of these chapters draws in the appropriate parables, some familiar and some obscure. Some topics, such as parables of Exemplary Behaviour, only occur in the canonical gospel of Luke, as well as Thomas. Most categories, however, have representation in several if not all the synoptic gospels plus Thomas. The gospel of John has no parables.

The books concludes with three interesting sections. In looking at the Evangelists as interpreters, Hultgren examines the different aspects in each of Matthew, Mark and Luke in attitude, content and purpose. Each of the gospelers crafted the parables to fit the larger purposes of their gospels, and yet the parables remain somewhat immune to being forced into particular meanings and schemes.

Chapter Ten looks at the four parables unique to the gospel of Thomas. The gospel of Thomas has fourteen parables, ten of which have parallels in at least one synoptic gospel. The other four have no such parallels. Hultgren does a brief textual study of the gospel as a whole and its place in early Christian history, as well as modern controversies in its dating and composition. Hultgren points out that all four of the parables unique to Thomas have gnostic significance, as do many of the parallel parables.

Hultgren includes appendices, including the interesting study of what the gospellers themselves wrote as purposes of the parables, and a study of the Greek word `doulos' which could mean `servant' or `slave'. The blessing of any book, this book has a generous bibliography for further study, and several indexes.

Overall, Hultgren's analysis is comprehensive, and will serve the student or the pastor well in examining parables in a context of Christian community. Rich in scholarly references, this text is meant to be a part of a study, rather than the entirety of the study. Hultgren himself acknowledges that his primary method of interpretation and analysis is not the only possible one, nor the only appropriate one. However, it is a most useful one for purposes of preaching, teaching, personal devotion and study.

An Inspiring, Insight-filled Encyclopedia of Parables  Feb 5, 2001
Arland J. Hultgren has creatively produced a definitive scholarly encyclopedia focused upon Jesus' parables. In Chapter One he moves smoothly from the description of parables as a "figure of speech," either types of narrative or similtudes: "comparisons made without stories but analogies between God's Kingdom and something in this world, real or imagined."

Under this inclusive description Hultgren thoroughly references thirty-eight units within the Synoptic Gospels. Two Scholar- Professors of EMORY UNIVERSITY'S Candler School of Theology consider this text as "undoubtedly the best book available on the parables... a treasure for both scholars and preachers."

The Author singles out five story-units as being the Revelation of God, six as the Wisdom of God, five more being Parables of the Kingdom. He places the others under titles - Parables of Exemplary Behavior, Life Before God, (the longest) the Final Judgement, and Allegorical Parables. Within each unit our versatile scholar includes an exegetical commentary, a shorter exposition, numerous footnotes, plus a greatly varied, selected bibliography. (The total general Bibliography totals over 200!)

Since my early days as layman and seminary student, followed by church ministry and chaplaincy, to present status of hospital chaplain and student of Candler classes in Jesus' Parables and Devotional Classics, I have searched for such a treasure chest of insightful scholarship on the Synoptic Gospels. EUREKA!


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