Item description for Parables as Subversive Speech: Jesus as Pedagogue of the Oppressed by William R. Herzog...
Overview Herzog shows that the focus of the parables was not on a vision of the glory of the reign of God but on the gory details of the way oppression served the interests of the ruling class. The parables were a form of social analysis, as well as a form of theological reflection. Herzog demonstrates this dual nature using nine parables as examples.
William Herzog shows that the focus of the parables was not on a vision of the glory of the reign of God but on the gory details of the way oppression served the interests of the ruling class. The parables were a form of social analysis, as well as a form of theological reflection. Herzog scrutinizes their canonical form to show the distinction between its purpose for Jesus and for evangelists. To do this, he uses the tools of historical criticism, including form criticism and redaction criticism.
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Studio: Westminster John Knox Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.02" Width: 5.96" Height: 0.73" Weight: 1 lbs.
Release Date Jan 1, 1994
Publisher Westminster John Knox Press
ISBN 0664253555 ISBN13 9780664253554
Reviews - What do customers think about Parables As Subversive Speech?
A Subversive Storyteller May 20, 2008
As a direct result of the Jesus Seminar and their insistence that the parables are a lens through which a different vision of Jesus can be seen, I began to read books that helped me to understand that "different vision." This is what I found. He bears little resemblance to the portrayal by the evangelicals of one who is for what we are for, against what we are against, goes where we go and stays away from people and places we stay away from, goes to a "seeker friendly" church when and where we go, blesses our business and makes us prosperous, flies our flag, waves our banners, fights our wars and cites our orthodox dogma. Despite the face that he did none of these things while he was here, some believe that he would do all of these things now.
Open to new light and insight I glimpsed "a subversive story teller" with a unique gift for framing a counter-world with aphorisms, pithy sayings and parables, a counter-world he called Empire of God and scholars call his "alternative social vision." It is a counter-world of unfailing justice, full inclusion, authentic freedom, incredible love, astounding forgiveness, sheer grace and unending peace..
Another major reason why I see Jesus in this fashion is the result of reading this book by William R. Herzog entitled "Parables As Subversive Speech: Jesus As Pedagogue of the Oppressed." This was a powerful contribution to a revolution in my thinking. He demonstrates that the focus of the parables of Jesus was not "on a vision of the glory of the reign of God but on the gory details of how oppression kept the ruling powers in control." "His work," someone said, is to show parables as "not just earthly stories with heavenly meanings but earthy stories with heavy meanings."
I don't think a review could possibly convey the radical change in one's understanding of Jesus and his ministry this perspective entails unless it conveys that these parables must be seen politically if they are to be understood in all their potency. When you see them as "subversive speech" that calls into question the Empire of Rome and sets the Empire of God up as an alternative social reality then you are beginning to see why the Romans could only challenge that "subversive story teller" by getting rid of him! That's what the cross is about. I warn you that some of your cherished dogmas may be called into question by this book. And that's precisely why you should read it!
Parables Jul 10, 2007
Herzog's book is excellent. He is able to offer insights into the cultural setting and how it influences the interpretation of a parable. It is a must read for understanding parables.
The great master of the parable Jan 3, 2007
Herzog has reconsidered Jesus' sayings in the light of the modern recognition that He was first and foremost a Jew and thought in terms of the Judaic tradition. Some of the results are startling. You probably remember the parable of the 3 servants entrusted with money during their boss's absence. Who was the hero of that story? You'll be surprised. That is just one example of the insights Herzog has in store for you. Easy reading? No. There is a lot of detailedn scholarship here. Rewarding insights? You betcha!
Controversial, but a great approach to the parables Nov 15, 2004
I was introduced to William Herzog's book while taking a seminary course on the New Testament Parables. The professor included Herzog to provide some "angularity" to the more traditional approaches of other scholars and commentaries we were reading. And that it did.
Herzog is an acquired taste. For those with a more conservative bent, his liberation theology with Marxist ideology may be off-putting at first. In my opinion, his premise that Jesus' audience would have understood the parables through a Marxist lens limits the value of his interpretations. I think the work of the Context Group (Bruce Malina, et al) simply don't support that theory. But I do give him credit for being up front about his agenda.
Having said that, I still think the book is definitely worth buying. In particular, I very much appreciated his discussion of the work of Paulo Friere. This section of the book is dense, but worth the effort.
Herzog develops the premise that the parables were not designed to `teach' in the traditional sense, but to help the listeners break free of their perceptual limitations and see the world as a different reality. In this way, he compares Jesus' use of parables with Friere's work in `liberating' the self-defeating mindsets of illiterate peasants.
I found this approach to be very helpful in my own studies of the parables. Herzog's steadfastly refuses to too-quickly `spiritualize' the parables. Instead, he focuses first on the emotional or even visceral responses of the audiences to whom the parables were directed. By intently looking for the emotional reactions first, he helps to show the impact of the parables beyond simple `sermon illustrations.'
While I can't always agree with Herzog's conclusion regarding what that reaction would have been, the approach gives new insights into parable interpretation.
Refreshing Aug 24, 2003
Professor Herzog's work is not the socialist denial of the Gospel that it has been accused of being. Neither is it an overly difficult text, as some reviewers have claimed.
Instead, it is a thoughtful, scholarly, re-examination of the parables, which raises the possibility of alternate readings, more appropriate to the first century a.d., rural, Palestinian context in which the parables were first proclaimed. Professor Herzog's work is challenging. It refuses to accept as sacrosanct any of the old verities that many of us were taught years ago in seminary.
In a modified form of redaction criticism, Professor Herzog closely examines each parable in its canonical form, and then seeks to work back to the most plausible words of Jesus, consistent with Biblical archeology and the sociology of religion. The results are new possibilities for proclamation.
This is not a book for the casual reader, or those who wish to maintain long-held beliefs at any cost. However, for educated seekers of truth this book is a gem.