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This book is an experiment by Herzog in the interpretation of Jesus' parables. The inspiration for this experiment is the work of Paulo Freire, a Brazilian educator whose claim to fame was teaching 300 poor sugar-cane workers to read and write in just 45 days. One part of Freire's literacy program was to create stories ("codifications") that depicted "moments from the daily life of the oppressed" and use them to help his students "read" and respond to the world in which they lived. Herzog's expe...
It seems to me that one of the most tragic outcomes of a life-long familiarity with the Scriptures is a loss of the sense of the mystery of the writings. That we would no longer be surprised by the audacity of some of the teachings of Jesus, comfortable in our historic interpretations to the point of indifference.This rather dense work of theology impressed me on several levels and served it’s worth well, despite at times being rather laborious in its reading. It's now up to you whether or not y...
When the theologizing is removed from the parables of Jesus as they appear in the synoptic gospels, we are left with something which would probably have been understood far differently in 1st century Palestine than we do today, with our spiritualized interpretations. This book made me reconsider what what most Christians (even the ethical, well-meaning, generous kind) are doing actually bears any relationship to what Jesus was doing.
Herzog's book analyzes the social setting of the parables of Jesus - providing background on the agrarian setting of the time and analyzing the roles of parable figures including peasants, merchants, rulers, toll collectors, etc. In the process Herzog shows how parables spoke to people in their own language on issues of social justice and morality - showing how Jesus' preaching of the kingdom of God cannot be divorced from social/political/economic concerns. This approach also seeks to take the
Herzog presents a compelling argument that the Parables of Jesus are best understood when taken out of the interpretive context they were placed in by the four writers of the canonical Gospels and seen in the context of peasant life in an advanced agrarian society.Recognizing that Jesus and his original community were Jewish peasants in 1st Century Galilee within the Roman Empire enables us to understand the social roles that each of the characters in the Parables would have played. These charac...
This is simply the BEST book out there that will relate the meaning and message of Jesus' life to the modern world. It strips away all of the fairy tale nonsense and gives the reader an unvarnished look at the massively oppressive feudal agrarian civilization of Jesus' time, and very lucidly details His response. It treats Jesus appropriately as an agrarian Jew, devout and steeped in that tradition and interprets His parables within THAT context, rather than through the later Christian church's
Using Freire's concept of "reading the world" Herzog uses the parables as a window into the social and political world of Jesus. His analysis via the parables is tied with anthropological and historical studies of Agrarian societies in ancient times. As such his reading of the parables is often quite different than traditional understanding. Even if one does not agree with Herzog's interpretation, there is alot to be learned about the social world of Jesus and his followers.
Good book but highly ideological. I'm a fan of both historical Jesus and Paulo Freire, but the critical theory got a little dense. Was hoping for more focus on fresh readings of the parables, which we eventually got to.