Item description for Re-Imagine the World by Bernard Brandon Scott...
In this book the author sets his interpretation of the key parables of Jesus in the context of other things Jesus said and did. The result is a startling and provocative picture of the historical figure and the challenge he presents to contemporary life.
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Studio: Polebridge Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.14" Width: 5.96" Height: 0.39" Weight: 0.65 lbs.
Release Date Oct 20, 2003
Publisher Polebridge Press
ISBN 0944344860 ISBN13 9780944344866
Availability 0 units.
More About Bernard Brandon Scott
Bernard Brandon Scott is the Darbeth Distinguished Professor of New Testament at Phillips Graduate Seminary at the University of Tulsa. He is also the author of "Hear Then the Parable: A Commentary on the Parables of Jesus." Margaret Dean is a former student at Phillips Graduate Seminary. Kristen Sparks is a former student at Phillips Graduate Seminary. Frances LaZar is a former student at Phillips Graduate Seminary.
Reviews - What do customers think about Re-Imagine the World?
The "Subversive Storyteller" Mar 19, 2008
Bernard Brandon Scott is a lay theologian and an internationally-known biblical scholar. He is a graduate of Vanderbilt University as well as St. Meinrad School of Theology in St. Meinrad, IN, where he taught. He is currently the Darbeth Distinguished Professor of New Tetament at the Phillips Theological Seminary in Tulsa. He is a senior fellow with the Jesus Seminar. His book is a creative attempt, and for me a successful one, to take two possible approaches to parables and ask whether they "cohere" or "fit together" to represent a "consistent picture" of Jesus.
Developing what he envisions as a model from surveying, he uses the work of the Jesus Seminar and chooses parables accordingly. He writes, "To lay out a map, a surveyor establishes points and then coordinates those points. I have developed three different coordinates. Each coordinate is specified by a parable that provides the initial insight that allows me to sketch the general contour of that coordinate. I will expand the insight by relating various other sayings and deeds to form a coherent field for each coordinate. With each coordinate we are, in a sense, plotting an aspect of Jesus' map. By triangulating the three points, the whole map of what Jesus is about should come into view." Maybe Jesus will look like a peasant Palestinian land surveyor! Let's see.
Scott proceeds to take the parable of the leaven, the parable of the empty jar and the parable of the good Samaritan (which he prefers to call "From Jerusalem to Jericho") as his three coordinates. He contends that the world "implied in these three coordinates re-imagines a community's social experience." The Empire of God is at the core of this re-imagining that Jesus does. The re-imagining includes a redefinition of family, of God in a non-patriarchal world and of social relations. His summary claims that the Empire of God is the presiding symbol and it functions to create through the imagination a sphere in which those who are part of this community of envisioning can experience healing, the hospitality of the unclean and the presence of God in God's non-empirical activity. As a social community wherein peasants accept each other, reject the perspective that they are in agonistic conflict with each other and reach out to enemies, a real threat to Rome's rule is posed. What is envisioned, Scott argues, is the Empire of God or a counter-world to the Empire of Rome.
This reviewer was captivated by the insights coming from Scott's book. He introduces Jesus as a "subversive poet," a new insight for me, and this makes him compelling. I have learned that this counter-world is a destination of grace and into the hands of the ultimate Mystery. Read this book and your faith journey just may be renewed! Mine was.
Excellent Source Aug 30, 2004
Re-Imagine the world is an excellent scholarly source on the parables and written in an easy to understand way. Scott keeps the chapters interesting, but not too long, and not confusing. It's a great book for people just beginning to read about the parables and for those who only want a brief overview. It shows many details that the common person would overlook, like Jewish law and ancient traditions. It is important for anyone to keep in mind that no one scholar is 100% right, but all scholarly points of view are important. It's an interesting, quick read. I definitely recommend it!
For the record Aug 13, 2004
I haven't bought this book yet, but I'm probably going to. I just wanted to clarify at least one erroneous statement from the previous review. The author states that the vine and the branches and the good shepherd are parables. While both elements are present in the gospel of John, but neither are parables. The Good Samaritan is a parable. It is a story told by Jesus to illustrate a point, usually about the nature of the kingdom of God. "I am the vine, you are the branches", while meaningful, is not a story to illustrate a point. It is an image. It may be a beautiful image, it may be an awful image. But an image it is. Both are instances of a trend of John's, a series of "I am" statements which are largely unique to John, and yes, do tend to exist in place of parables. For the author to assert that John isn't much fodder for the student of parables is actually correct. This is not to say that the gospel of John is of no interest or use, simply that it is of little use for those studying parables. In much the same way, the Declaration of Independence is not of much use to those who wish how to make a casserole. To say that the Declaration of Independence is of little use to those studying casserole is not a mark against the document, but merely to place it in its proper context.
Thank you. That is all.
You may say he's a dreamer... Jun 17, 2003
Right off the top, it's important to know one fact about the author, because his perspective colors everything he writes about, and the colors are red, pink, gray, and black. Yes, Brandon Scott is a charter member of the Jesus Seminar, so that means that "Jesus" here is actually the reconstructed, reduced Jesus as promoted by the likes of J.D. Crossan, and, furthermore, the non-canonical Gospel of Thomas stands on equal footing with the biblical gospels we all know and love: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and, well, John isn't dealt with at all here, because there are supposedly no parables in John (umm, what about the Vine and the Branches, or the Good Shepherd?)
First the positives: the author is an expert on parables, and there are some excellent interpretations here of a few of them. What is often lost to a modern readership when dealing with the parables is the fact that they were often shocking and scandalous to their first-century audience. Therefore, while "Good Samaritan" may be part of our vernacular, the very idea was just unheard of by his Jewish listeners. The best interpretive job, or the one that resonates with me the most, is concerning the Prodigal Son(s), where the conventions of Jewish family life are ripped apart by what transpires. The father is shown as being degraded by the young son, and degrades himself in the eyes of the community when he welcomes him back. That only scratches the surface, but if there is any reason to get this book, the Prodigal Son story would be it. On other parables, there are issues raised which are often ignored by other interpreters. For example, in the story of the hidden treasure, was Jesus commending the man for his dishonesty in finding the treasure, hiding it, and then buying the field without notifying the owner of the hidden treasure? There are potentially some good discussion starters here for small groups.
Of course, the "historical Jesus" had more in mind than just telling stories. It was his way of re-imagining the world as he thought it should be, and here's where things get a little stickier. Just what was Jesus trying to communicate? Here are the main points, according to the book:
1. God is unclean. This rather shocking statement is derived from the parable of the leaven, where a woman "hides" leaven in three measures of flour (a huge amount) and the leaven works its way through the whole batch. Leaven is seen as corruption, as unclean, in other words, so to Jesus, the kingdom (or "empire") of God is full of uncleanness, therefore the rather shaky jump to "God is unclean". My question is, if leaven is considered unclean (and, frankly, it is seen in a negative light throughout Scripture), why was it just prohibited for the seven days of the Passover, and not the whole year round, as was pork and shellfish? That gives this first point a flimsy foundation.
2. God is present in absence. This means, basically, a world void a divine intervention. This is based on the Parable of the Empty Jar found in the gnostic Gospel of Thomas. The parable, like much of the Gospel of Thomas, really makes little sense, but what sense the author does make out of it (and, in my opinion, he really has to stretch to do it), is used to "prove" this point. However, those of us who believe in the healing ministry of Jesus, which implies divine intervention, would see that as totally dismantling that argument.
3. Cooperation, not competition. This is illustrated by the Parable of the Good Samaritan. This point I have no problem with, as far as it goes.
The author, finally, seems to have his own agenda here: a Christianity without Christ, which is an etymological impossibility. The argument that is made for this is so weak as to be no argument at all. So, I'll sum up this book with a parable of my own. "Re-Imagine the World" to me is like a breakfast buffet to a vegetarian, who takes what he or she can eat (fruit) and rejects the rest (bacon, sausage, and eggs).