Products>The Parables after Jesus: Their Imaginative Receptions across Two Millennia

The Parables after Jesus: Their Imaginative Receptions across Two Millennia

ISBN: 9781493406777
  • Format:Digital


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Jesus' enigmatic and compelling parables have fascinated their hearers since he first uttered them, and during the intervening centuries these parables have produced a multitude of interpretations. This accessibly written book explores the varying interpretations of Jesus' parables across two millennia to demonstrate how powerfully they continue to challenge people's hearts, minds, and imaginations.

The Parables after Jesus covers more than fifty imaginative receptions from different eras, perspectives, and media, including visual art, music, literature, science fiction novels, plays, poetry, sermons, politics, theologians, biblical scholars, and other modes of interpretation, including perspectives from other religious traditions. The book shows how the use of Jesus' parables affects society and culture and offers a richer appreciation for Jesus' most striking teachings. Readers will begin to understand how contemporary interpretations of the parables stand on the shoulders of centuries of conversations and that our interpretations are never independent of the readings and responses that have preceded us. The Parables after Jesus will serve as an excellent supplemental text for a variety of courses.

Key Features

  • Presents a comprehensive study of how Jesus' parables have been interpreted through history
  • Examines how society and culture of incorporate themes from parables into literature and art
  • Examines the application and adaption of parables in a wide variety of non-theological contexts and historical eras


  • The Afterlives of Jesus's Parables in Antiquity (to ca. 550 CE)
  • The Afterlives of Jesus's Parables in the Middle Ages (ca. 550-1500 CE)
  • The Afterlives of Jesus's Parables in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries
  • The Afterlives of Jesus's Parables in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries
  • The Afterlives of Jesus's Parables in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries
  • Conclusion: What Do Parables Want?

Praise for the Print Edition

For most of its history, parable research has, perhaps rightly and often as part of the larger quest of the historical Jesus, focused on the composition history of Jesus' parables from the oral period in which they were spoken to their placement in the Christian Gospels. David Gowler has studied, taught, and written about the parables for many years, and in this fascinating study he has trained his eagle eye on the latter part of the parables' 'career'--the impact of their afterlife on the literature, music, and art that stand as heirs to this remarkable corpus of stories. Arranged chronologically, Gowler's study spans two thousand years of reception and ranges from Clement of Alexandria to Martin Luther King Jr., from the Roman catacombs to Thomas Hart Benton, and from Romanos the Melodist to Godspell. This treasure trove belongs in the library of anyone interested in the ways Jesus' parables have challenged our hearts, minds, and imaginations, and it confirms that the world the parables has produced is no less interesting and complex than the world that produced the parables.

—Mikeal C. Parsons, professor and Macon Chair in Religion, Baylor University

David Gowler is a master of the reception history of the Bible, and he demonstrates his wisdom and experience in this wonderful book about the reading of the parables of Jesus down the centuries. It shows the richness of the resources that await us and the benefits for biblical interpretation which come from this approach, particularly when they are so sensitively and lucidly applied. I am grateful to him for sharing his discoveries with us, his fortunate readers, on this stage of his intellectual journey.

—Christopher Rowland, Dean Ireland Professor of the Exegesis of Holy Scripture Emeritus, University of Oxford

David Gowler invites us to participate in a two-thousand-year-old dialogue with those seeking to understand and implement the simple, yet often perplexing, parables of Jesus. Gowler has assembled fifty conversation partners from literature, poetry, hymns, the visual arts, and theater that span the Christian era. These voices hail from a broad and diverse range of historically, theologically, and culturally significant contexts. By entering into this dialogue, Gowler hopes that rather than find what we expect to find in the parables, we can take off our own interpretive blinders and come to a fuller understanding of the meanings and applications of the parables to our lives. He succeeds! The conversation in which he engages us here is truly an eye-opening and enriching experience.

—Duane F. Watson, professor of New Testament studies, Malone University

Product Details

In the Logos edition, this volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.

David B. Gowler, PhD, is the Dr. Lovick Pierce and Bishop George F. Pierce Chair of Religion at Emory University, where he also directs the Pierce Institute for Leadership and Community Engagement and is senior faculty fellow for the Center for Ethics. He has authored numerous books, including What Are They Saying about the Parables?, What Are They Saying about the Historical Jesus?, and James through the Centuries.

Sample Pages from the Print Edition


Digital list price: $29.99
Save $4.00 (13%)

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