The renowned biblical scholar, author of The Misunderstood Jew, and general editor for The Jewish Annotated New Testament interweaves history and spiritual analysis to explore Jesus’ most popular teaching parables, exposing their misinterpretations and making them lively and relevant for modern readers. Jesus was a skilled storyteller and perceptive teacher who used parables from everyday life to effectively convey his message and meaning. Life in first-century Palestine was very different from our world today, and many traditional interpretations of Jesus’ stories ignore this disparity and have often allowed anti-Semitism and misogyny to color their perspectives. In this wise, entertaining, and educational book, Amy-Jill Levine offers a fresh, timely reinterpretation of Jesus’ narratives. In Short Stories by Jesus, she analyzes these “problems with parables,” taking readers back in time to understand how their original Jewish audience understood them. Levine reveals the parables’ connections to first-century economic and agricultural life, social customs and morality, Jewish scriptures and Roman culture. With this revitalized understanding, she interprets these moving stories for the contemporary reader, showing how the parables are not just about Jesus, but are also about us—and when read rightly, still challenge and provoke us two thousand years later.
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This book is a collection of short stories on Jesus' ministry according to the Gospel of Matthew. A look at the lives, trials, and faith of the people Jesus met and ministered to. Each story stretches the imagination while helping the reader reach a closer walk with God by learning how to look deep into His Word. Although the stories center around the characters in Matthew at the time Jesus ministered, each brings lessons to light which still apply today.
This time, get to know Jesus through stories about him. Grow your child’s faith in the most interactive way possible. Story telling is something kids are attracted to. Reading is also a great exercise that boosts creativity and social skills, which are two essential skills in both academics and real life. Grab a copy today.
Who do we meet in the stories Jesus told? In The Parables of Jesus the Galilean: Stories of a Social Prophet, a selection of the parables of Jesus is read using a social-scientific approach. The interest of the author is not the parables in their literary contexts, but rather the parables as Jesus told them in a first-century Jewish Galilean sociopolitical, religious, and economic setting. Therefore, this volume is part of the material turn in parable research and offers a reading of the parables that pays special attention to Mediterranean anthropology by stressing key first-century Mediterranean values. Where applicable, available papyri that may be relevant in understanding the parables of Jesus from a fresh perspective are used to assemble solid ancient comparanda for the practices and social realities that the parables presuppose. The picture of Jesus that emerges from these readings is that of a social prophet. The parables of Jesus, as symbols of social transformation, envisioned a transformed and alternative world. This world, for Jesus, was the kingdom of God.
Borrowing from the ancient rabbinic use of midrash as a means of opening Scripture to students, James Lowry has chosen six texts from among those in which he believes Mark deliberately left silences. The author is convinced Mark hoped his readers would be encouraged to raise a variety of possibilities as to what the evangelist left unsaid. Beginning with Mark choosing not to name the temptations of Jesus (Mark 1:12-13) and concluding with Mark choosing to conclude his narrative with the women leaving the tomb of Jesus in stunned silence (Mark 16:8), Lowry spins short stories that suggest several alternative ideas as to how the biblical narrative might have played. In half of the tales, Lowry enters the text and adds fictitious material to Mark's narrative. In the other half, his stories are set in the small textile town of Great Falls, South Carolina, where the author grew up in the 1950s. The hope is these stories will encourage readers of Mark and groups of his readers to raise other possibilities.
This is the second is a series of stories about the people Jesus ministered to based on the Gospel of Matthew. Each story looks into the life of the characters in Matthew's account of Jesus' life. Each story looks deep into the life of each person Jesus met, considering the trials and events that led them to Jesus. The stories look past the symbols used in the parable to the events that led up to each, exploring not only the lesson, but the emotion Jesus tried to convey while leading all His followers to a closer relationship with God. Why did His disciples have trouble understanding some of these parables? Why didn't they ask more questions? What did His disciples learn from each of these experiences?
What would it have been like to have received a miracle from Jesus of Nazareth? To have spoken with him, heard his words, or felt his compassion? These five short stories based on bible events explore five unlikely people in the Gospels who were profoundly affected by Jesus-who they may have been, what they may have experienced, and what it may have been like to have looked into the eyes of the one called the Son of God.
Hedrick contends that parables do not teach moral and religious lessons; they are not, in whole or part, theological figures for the church. Rather, parables are realistic narrative fictions that like all effective fiction literature are designed to draw readers into story worlds where they make discoveries about themselves by finding their ideas challenged and subverted--or affirmed. The parables have endings but not final resolutions, because the endings raise new complications for careful readers, which require further resolution. The narrative contexts and interpretations supplied by the evangelists constitute an attempt by the early church to bring the secular narratives of Jesus under the control of the church's later religious perspectives. Each narrative represents a fragment of Jesus's secular vision of reality. Finding himself outside the mainstream of parables scholarship, both ecclesiastical and critical, Hedrick explored a literary approach to the parables in a series of essays that, among other things, set out the basic rationale for a literary approach to the parables of Jesus. These early essays form the central section of the book. They are published here in edited form along with unpublished critiques of a thoroughgoing literary approach and his response.
The renowned biblical scholar, Vanderbilt University Divinity School Professor, and author of Short Stories by Jesus and The Misunderstood Jew argues that Jesus’s historic and cultural influence make him fascinating, provocative, and relevant for everyone, not only faithful Christians but nonbelievers as well. Two thousand years after his birth and death, Jesus of Nazareth continues to be of vital interest. Yet much of the scholarship around Jesus focuses on his religious significance. Jesus for Atheists examines his most famous teachings from a fresh perspective, exploring how they have continued to shape ethics and civilization in the West for two millennia. Even for those who reject faith, Jesus’s life and his philosophy are important to study Amy-Jill Levine contends, because of the insights they hold for us today. Poring through scripture, analyzing what historical scholarship has revealed about Jesus’s views on a number of subjects—including women—reveals surprising messages sure to be fascinating to all readers. Placing Jesus of Nazareth within his historical context, Levine brings him vividly into focus and invites agnostics and the most committed nonbelievers to appreciate his lasting impact on the modern world.