Short Stories by Jesus: The Enigmatic Parables of a Controversial Rabbi
Renowned biblical scholar at Vanderbilt Divinity School, author of The Misunderstood Jew: The Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus, and general editor for The Jewish Annotated New Testament, Amy-Jill Levine reveals the "live and uncut" version of Jesus' most popular teaching tool, the parable, exposing their misinterpretations and making them come alive for today's...more
Levine appreciates the depth of Jesus’s parables, and she digs deep in her analysis, but still seems content with an ambiguous meaning. She seldom insists on a single interpretation, yet often discards traditio ...more
First, the really good stuff. The major argument in the book is that the Christian tradition has misunderstood the parables of Jesus Christ by turning them into attacks on the Jews, which requires that they always represent Judaism as legali ...more
The book is most useful in correcting t ...more
I love the idea of the book b/c of the background it offers to the parables. The author is a Jewish scholar, and reads the parables in light of Jesus' Jewish background and context. She uses the Hebrew Testament and lots of Jewish literature from the time to suggest what resonances words and story lines would have for Jesus and his listeners. And she emphasizes that much Christian inte ...more
"Jesus knew that the best teachings come from stories that make us laugh even as they make us uncomfortable." (276)
With quick wit and a penchant for pun, Amy-Jill Levine offers us a fun, challenging, and in-depth study of nine parables found in the New Testament gospels. Okay, maybe not everyone would think it fun, but I found her writing style interactive and easy to follow. I underlined ...more
This book does what all good books should do. Instead of reinforcing old ways of thinking about a topic, it challenges readers to reexamine their assumptions. When Amy-Jill Levine questions the conclusions of several of my favorite writers (Craig Blomberg and Kenneth Bailey, for example) I am reminded that human authors are falli ...more
Another thing she does well is to remind us that these parables were me ...more
Levine talks about many ways the parables are misconstrued - often focusing on anti-Semitic interpretations, but also looking at how we avoid the obvious or try to explain it away. I like how she, correctly, debunks many of the beliefs about what some people think ancient Jews were like.
The book tries to wake people from saccharine piety to real world concerns.
I suppose this book addresses real problems, but how many educated people agree with the old formulations ...more
Levine state that i ...more
The Good: Excellent examination of the text. Levine’s seemingly-easy questioning of the text hides her hermeneutical skill.
The Bad: Repeated dismantling of anti-Semitic interpretations of Jesus’ p ...more
Levine's explanations of Jewish thinking regarding the parables she concentrates on are highly informative. First, she appropriately convicts us Christian pastors for the highly anit-Jewish readings of these parables and (I know from experience) that we hand this misinformation down to each other. Second, I really liked her careful translation from the Greek bringing up some interesting new looks at the meaning. I will be reading more of her books.
My only c ...more