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Interpreting the Parables [Paperback]

By Craig L. Blomberg (Author)
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Item description for Interpreting the Parables by Craig L. Blomberg...

In this introductory text, Craig Blomberg surveys and evaluates contemporary critical approaches to the parables, challenging the prevailing consensus and making his own important new contribution to parable studies. This groundbreaking book will be of value not only to students but to pastors and other serious readers of Scripture.

Publishers Description
The classic works of C. H. Dodd and Joachim Jeremias set the direction for nearly all further parable studies in this century. Embodied in both scholar's approaches are at least two assumptions that, for the most part, have gone unchallenged: (1) Parables make one and only one main point. (2) They are not allegories. But can these assumptions be supported by the evidence? In this introductory text, Craig Blomberg surveys and evaluates contemporary critical approaches to the parables, challenging the prevailing consensus and making his own important new contribution to parable studies. Within proper definitions and limits, he argues, the parables are in fact best seen as allegories. In support of his thesis, he not only sets forth theoretical considerations but devotes attention to all the major parables, providing brief interpretations that highlight the insights to be gained from his distinctive method. A concluding chapter examines the implications of the parables for Christology and our understanding of the kingdom of God. This groundbreaking book will be of value not only to students but to pastors and other serious readers of Scripture.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: IVP Academic
Pages   334
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9" Width: 6.08" Height: 0.81"
Weight:   1.18 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Nov 8, 2006
Publisher   IVP-InterVarsity Press
ISBN  0830812717  
ISBN13  9780830812714  

Availability  0 units.

More About Craig L. Blomberg

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Craig L. Blomberg (PhD, Aberdeen University) is distinguished professor of New Testament at Denver Seminary. He is the author of numerous books, including The Historical Reliability of the Gospels and Interpreting the Parables. Sung Wook Chung (DPhil, Oxford University) is associate professor of Christian theology at Denver Seminary. He is the author of Admiration and Challenge: Karl Barth's Theological Relationship with John Calvin and editor of Christ the One and Only: A Global Affirmation of the Uniqueness of Jesus Christ.

Craig L. Blomberg currently resides in the state of Colorado.

Craig L. Blomberg has published or released items in the following series...
  1. 3 Crucial Questions
  2. Biblical Theology for Life
  3. Comentarios Biblicos Con Aplicacion NVI
  4. New American Commentary New Testament
  5. New Studies in Biblical Theology
  6. NIV Application Commentary
  7. Perspectives (B&H Publishing)
  8. Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on New Testament

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Product Categories

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

Christian Product Categories
Books > Bible Study > New Testament Studies > Gospels & Acts

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Reviews - What do customers think about Interpreting the Parables?

Helpful analysis of parables; also includes history of interpretation  Jun 26, 2006
Craig Blomberg is a professor of New Testament at Denver Seminary and has authored other books on the Gospels including "The Historical Reliability of the Gospels" and "Preaching the Parables." This book, "Interpreting the Parables" is an attempt to a) first trace the history of parable interpretation through the centuries and b) then provide an analysis of several New Testament parables. The book closes with a chapter examining the theology of the parables. Like a sandwich, the meat of this book is in the middle; the best part (by far) is the parable analysis while the less appetizing parts are the interpretive history and the chapter on the parables' theology.

The first half of "Interpreting the Parables" examines how others have interpreted the parables; it examines the various competing hermeneutical approaches to these highly debated sections of Scripture. Beginning with the Church Fathers' allegorization attempts (where every little detail has some theological significance), Blomberg examines Form Criticism (which looks for oral sources behind the text as we have it), Redaction Criticism (which assumes that an editor wove together various independent works and seeks to determine how he did it), and other lesser, still-emerging hermeneutical methods. For each, Blomberg gives a brief history of the interpretive method and points out some of its strengths and weaknesses. This reader didn't find this first part of the book very helpful. While it does point out contribution each interpretive method has made to New Testament scholarship as well as fallacies associated with each method, these discussion did not increase my overall understanding of the parables. Nor did this section help my overall understanding of hermeneutics as Blomberg's treatment of each hermeneutical method focuses not on the method itself, but rather on the writings proponents of this method have produced and their take on the concept of allegory in parables. During this course of this part of the book, Blomberg comes to three conclusions: 1) each school of thought has made positive contributions toward the study of parables, but no school of thought is flawless, 2) a balance must be struck between allegorizing parables and refusing to see allegory where it clearly exists, and 3) parables often make multiple, inter-related points.

The second half of "Interpreting the Parables"--the actual analysis of the Gospels' various parables--makes this book worth purchasing and keeping on your bookshelf. Blomberg examines several parables (divided into clusters based on their structure) pointing out helpful aspects of Palestinian/Roman culture, discussing the narrative context in which the parable is told, and analyzing the various characters in each parable. During this analysis, he interacts with other scholars' take on the particular parable and defends the authenticity of each. The result is a thorough, helpful summary of the parables and their main teachings. While I did find myself in disagreement with Blomberg about some of the main points Jesus was trying to convey, I walk away from this point with a great deal of respect for his positions. He has greatly increased my understanding of the parables, challenged my assumptions, and has provided a great resource for preaching and teaching these beloved stories.

The book ends with a chapter on the theology of the parables. In this chapter, Blomberg tries to synthesize the parables and draw out Jesus' main teachings. Through this, Blomberg argues that Jesus believed in a pre-millenialist eschatology (although he wasn't a dispensationalist); that Jesus' inaugurated God's Kingdom on earth which is to be characterized by obedience in the areas of stewardship and social justice; and that Jesus believed he had a special relationship with God, but never spoke of the nature of that relationship. In this chapter, Blomberg's methodology is questionable as one must examine the whole of Scripture to come to doctrinal conclusions (Blomberg himself disagrees with this methodology in his treatment of the Rich Man and Lazarus), his conclusions themselves border the heterodox (e.g. his sharp distinction between the Father and the Son), and the nature of this chapter (the theology of the parables) and its conclusions should be presented in a much more complete and better developed manner than in a short chapter that sums up a book.

In sum, this book will remain on my bookshelf because of its excellent material in the middle. Its writing style is fluid, main points are italiziced (which is really nice) and each chapter is divided in a very reader-friendly manner. Recommended for its middle section.
Useful look at Parables  Jun 12, 2006
The title of this book would suggest that the focus was a direct study of the parables. That is true for the last 155 of 327 pages (a little less than half.) The first half of the book discusses hermeneutics.

Considering the implication of the title, I will begin with Blomberg's direct study of the parables of Christ. Dr. Blomberg discusses 40 parables directly in his discussion. Of these, he splits them into 4 categories: Simple 3-Point Parables, Complex 3-Point Parables, Two-Point Parables and One-Point Parables, with the last two being discussed together in one chapter. His view is different from most modern conservative theologians who teach the parable is a metaphorical story intended to teach one precept. He argues that even the most conservative scholars cannot avoid some amount of allegorizing of the parables, and study should include a very limited amount of allegory. His discussion of each parable is interesting, and not allegorical to the point of eisegesis. He does not adhere strictly to the rule that allegorical meaning must be implied in the text from other Scripture, but he does not go overboard in his figurative interpretations. Some of his categorical evidence for multiple-point parables is simply a restating of a previously mentioned precept. Each section describing the parable has an italicized section that summarizes his interpreted teaching points that are to be gleaned from the Scriptural passage.

Over half of the book is a discussion of hermeneutics (study of the methods of interpreting Scripture.) His method is not liberal, but is less conservative than most modern evangelicals are. He begins with a discussion over the debate between two competing ways of interpreting parables in: Parable vs. Allegory and Parable as Allegory. He is somewhat convincing that parables are not allegorical at all, but does not make a delineation between metaphorically figurative statements and outright allegory, which are two distinct genres. If he had looked at metaphorically figurative language in this way, much of his writing trying to convince that allegories were not "evil," would have been moot. He then discusses Form criticism and redaction criticism and their relations to the parables. He writes very briefly about Gospel authorship theories, but only discusses one of three major theories found in modern conservative scholarship. He then discusses the "New Hermeneutic." He concludes at the end that each parable has a central teaching point for each main character, which is how he arrives at the different belief that parables have more than one point.

Blomberg's discussion of the parables is a useful and detailed look at the parables. He does not delve into discussions of Greek or Aramaic, so knowledge of these biblical languages is not necessary. He does a superb job of pointing the reader to the important matter of his writing by putting conclusions in italics. While at first his book seems to flaunt previously held ideas of parable exegesis, he makes a good case for multiple teaching points within some of the parables. As is the problem with many theological ideas, we try to simplify things into rules that can be easily followed when studying Scripture, but this is not always the best method.

Overall, this is a useful study of the parables, although not the only study on the parables that one should have in a library. Moreover, if one is interested in hermeneutics, the first half of this book does not delve into all conservative evangelical ideals regarding the subject, so augment with other hermeneutical writings.
Obsolete   Apr 28, 2006
I read the first two chapters, poked through the third and fourth, and read the commentaries on a few parables. I found this book very frustrating and nearly useless. Blomberg spends the first couple chapters tediously presenting sides to an argument that is largely irrelevant to any one other than long dead german theologians. If you are concerned with whether parables are parables or actually allegories or metaphors and whether they must contain one point or more, than you might be interested in this book. Reading this book after familiarizing oneself with the studies of Ken Bailey and Tom Wright is sort of like reading an alchemy book after digesting the discoveries of Newton and Einstein.
Valuable study  Nov 10, 2005
I borrowed this book. It is thoughtful, makes the material interesting. Seems meant for undergraduate or even graduate level study. First half of study could be skipped if you are not into the theoretical. Go straight to the second half if you want to focus on the parable commentary.

I am buying my own copy because this is a valuable study resource.
An intense, incisive and inspiring piece of work  Jun 23, 1999
This is a must read if you ever want to dig deep into the parables in scripture. Although it may have been written for students in theology, I find the reading to be challenging and fruitful as I get immersed in its intensive analyses and extensive citations from other bible scholars. I consider this one of several classic references in preparation for a Sunday School lecture series on "Parables for the People". After you digest this book slowly, you will be assured that teaching and understanding the parables can be a profound experience in pleasing God.

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