In this book, which covers all of Jesus’ parables, award-winning author Gerhard Lohfink takes a closer look at the origins of each one—its shape, its realistic details, but most of all its original message and the situation into which it was once spoken. Jesus’ parables speak in bold images of the kingdom of God, making it present to us as they reveal something of the mystery of his own person.
Lohfink also offers a review of some of the scholarship in this area—as this topic has sustained research on Jesus since the first telling of these stories—but not for the purposes of debate. His reflections interpret the forty parables and show how they speak of the coming of the reign of God, lead us to Jesus, and reveal the mystery of Jesus himself.
Gerhard Lohfink was professor of New Testament exegesis at the University of Tübingen. His many books include No Irrelevant Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth, Is This All There Is?, The Our Father, and Prayer Takes Us Home, all from Liturgical Press.
Drawing from his magisterial career and vast publications on scripture, Father Lohfink invigorates the discussion on parables for scholars and students alike. With perceptive analysis, he marshals a broad range of examples to expand our knowledge of how these stories undermine our expectations of conventions, ultimately reminding us of what was so compelling about Jesus’s parables. This book is more than a commentary, but a text much like the parables themselves: an invitation to ponder the Good News, rethink the genius of story and enlarge the stunning horizon of the proclamation of the Reign of God.
Guerric DeBona, OSB, Professor of Homiletics, St. Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology
’Jesus’ parables are like diamonds,’ writes Lohfink, held within settings that both preserve and protect. The Forty Parables of Jesus presents the content of Jesus’ unique sayings mindful of the traditions that preserved, preached, and interpreted those parables. But Lohfink also provides the larger context in which parables, as provocative short stories with a twist, were heard, read, and understood. Lohfink has deftly written a well-exegeted and researched book that is at the same time eminently readable. The Forty Parables of Jesus witnesses to the ‘unbelievable nearness of God,’ and invites us to embrace the implicit Christology of Jesus’ parables. Laurie Brink, OP, PhD Professor of New Testament Studies at Catholic Theological Union
Laurie Brink, OP, PhD, Professor of New Testament Studies at Catholic Theological Union
Drawing on his genius for biblical interpretation that is both intelligent and pastoral, profound and accessible, Gerhard Lohfink turns to an exposition of Jesus’ parables, forty in all. He begins by noting through a selection of parables from a variety of sources, how context and structure add meaning to parables, including those of Jesus. His goal is not to pit the possible original meaning of Jesus’ parables against the layers of meaning derived from their use in the early church and in the Gospels, but to illustrate the rich and varied layers of meaning these characteristic stories of Jesus hold for us as Christians.
Donald Senior, CP, Catholic Theological Union, Chicago