Stories With Intent: A Comprehensive Guide to the Parables of Jesus
Stories with Intent offers pastors and students an accessible and comprehensive guide to Jesus parables. Klyne Snodgrass explores the context in which these stories were told, the purpose they had in Jesus message, and the way that they have been interpreted by the church and modern scholarship. Snodgrass begins by surveying the primary issues in parables interpretation. He offers both a new, more functional classification system for parables and guidelines for interpreting parables. Then he provides an overview of other parables - often neglected in the discussion - from the Old Testament, early Judaism, the Greco-Roman world, and later Judaism. The remaining chapters group the longer and more important parables of Jesus thematically and give a comprehensive treatment of each, including background and significance for modern thought. Stories with Intent is a perfect text for those who wish to delve more deeply into Christs parables.
The best book on Christ’s parables also happens to be the most comprehensive (600 pages). Snodgrass’ Stories with Intent is a must buy for anyone studying the parables. The introduction to parables is relatively short compared to other works (only 50 pages), but that only means the bulk of the book is dedicated to the study of the actual parables... [Full Review]
I enjoyed this book. It provides an in-depth study of the textual, literary, cultural, and historical aspects of each of the 31 parables it treats to guide thoughtful interpretation. For each parable several relevant questions are posed and subsequently answered in some detail, with a final section on applying the parable. Overall I would say that this detailed study shed light on the meaning of the parables and I found that for the most part I agreed with the interpretation provided by the author. I was personally challenged on several occasions by the message and application of these parables. This book is strong on the in-depth aspects of the parables, providing many parallel texts ("primary source material") from the culture of that time period (rabbinic, Greek, Roman, deuterocanonical, apocryphal). I didn't appreciate the use of endnotes rather than footnotes (to avoid much flipping back and forth), and I think it would have been helpful to have the text(s) of the parables printed at the beginning of each chapter (to avoid two open books at a time). Within the 846 pages, the study of the parables is about 500 pages, the rest being intro, bibliography, and the almost 200 pages of endnotes. I think the length and detailed nature of this book may deter some readers from reaping the rewards of the excellent discussions on interpretation and application. A trimmed down version (sans full notes, bibliography, primary sources, and the addition of the parable texts) would be welcomed to appeal to a more general audience.
Stories with intent is a comprehensive guide to the parables of Jesus for pastors and teachers. As the title of the book indicates, Snodgrass understands the parables of Jesus as stories (expanded analogies) with intent: they seek to make a rhetorical point and were used by Jesus to explain and convince. Most of Jesus’ parables are considered to be double indirect communication in that they do not speak of the hearers/readers or the subject at hand; they use other persons and subjects to address the hearer indirectly. Snodgrass suggests the following classification of the parables: aphoristic sayings, similitudes (double indirect extended analogy that lacks plot development), interrogative parables (parables that are presented entirely as questions), double indirect narrative parables (metaphoric analogies with plots), juridical parables (parables that elicit a self-condemnation from the hearer through the aid of an image), single indirect parables (example stories), and “how much more” parables (parables that say that God’s actions far exceeds or is not like the person depicted in the parable). [Full Review]