Puzzling the Jesus of the Parables : a response to Ruben Zimmermann

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 16
  • Abstract:

    Abstract: Ruben Zimmermann’s latest book, Puzzling the Parables of Jesus (2015), summarises much of his earlier research on the parables. It is one of the most thought-provoking and original books on the subject to appear in the last few decades. It not only challenges archaic ideas and methods, but also proposes an integrative approach of parable interpretation that combines historical, literary and reader-oriented approaches. His proposed definition of the parables of Jesus is well researched, and sure to influence future scholars. This article responds to Ruben Zimmermann’s work on the parables, focusing specifically on the abovementioned book. In particular, one aspect of his proposed method is challenged, namely his conscious attempt to do away with considerations of the pre-Easter context when interpreting the parables. The first section of the current article briefly considers key concepts in Zimmermann’s book that are relevant to the present discussion; the second section contains my response; and the third section proposes a variant methodology, featuring the parable of the Good Samaritan as a working example.