Are the Gospels Parables? New book by Crossan @harperone

crossan power of the parable
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So my area of academic study, and I hope, academic writing (although I would also like to write to connect my academic studies to my liturgical interests, etc…) will be in the Gospel of Mark regarding Mark’s sources but I tend to think that sources need to tell us why they were used in order for them to be meaningful. So, when a book like this comes out, it interests me. Published today (I already got the Kindle version), Crossan argues that “Historical truth is not the point,” but that…

…Instead, it is important to consider that Jesus himself used parables as a style of teaching, which in turn inspired Gospel writers to invent meaningful, metaphorical stories to help explain their own views of who they thought this Messiah really was, and what he was trying to teach. In fact, by unlocking the meaning and purposes of the gospels, Crossan recasts them as “mega-parables” about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. (full press release here)

You can read a sample here:

Browse Inside The Power of Parable: How Fiction by Jesus Became Fiction about Jesus by John Dominic Crossan.

What does this all mean? I dunno… I have my suspicions, but we’ll see.

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6 Replies to “Are the Gospels Parables? New book by Crossan @harperone”

  1. How is this much different than what Bultmann ever did. Hasn’t Crossan, like Bultmann, always maintained that the Gospels were mythical, and now they are parables about the Jesus.
    As a guy in the pew, I am comfortable with authors of the Gospels interpreting Jesus’ life and ministry in a variety of fashions and adding some to the story. I am comfortable with the disagreements between accounts because I am comfortable with the idea that the authors were wrestling with the interpretation of Jesus life, ministry, and resurrection. I imagine there was a lot of disagreement among first Christians about what they witnessed and what it all meant. And then it would impossible to look at their time with the Jesus without looking through the lens of the resurrection. However, if I found out that is was all an invention rather than an interpretation by the authors, I think I would have difficulty staying a believer.

    1. Yeah, I’m not really comfortable with the word “fiction” for the ancients. Bultmann has done us a disservice, as had enlightenment, science, and fundamentalism, in removing from our language and cognitive environment myth and the ability to properly do myth

  2. Isn’t it interesting that none of the early church interpreters saw this? Not even in the second century. I’m not an inerrantist. I see not only discrepancies, but also contradictions in the Scriptures. I’m ok with that. But it’s beyond belief that if Crossan’s thesis is true, no one picked up on it until 20 centuries later. Sounds like wishful thinking to me.

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