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Stories with Intent: A Comprehensive Guide to the Parables of Jesus
Klyne R. Snodgrass

9780802842411 Retail Price: $50.00
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Format: Hardcover, 846pp.
ISBN: 9780802842411
Publisher: William B. Eerdmans Publishing
Pub. Date: January 15, 2008

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From The Publisher:

Stories with Intent offers pastors and students an accessible and comprehensive guide to Jesus’ parables. Klyne Snodgrass explores in vivid detail the context in which these stories were told, the purpose they had in Jesus’ message, and the ways they have been interpreted by the church and modern scholarship. While holding a consciously evangelical approach, Snodgrass deals throughout with a broad spectrum of opinions and interpretations.

He begins by surveying the primary issues in parables interpretation. Offering both a new, more functional classification system for Jesus’ parables and guidelines for interpreting them, he provides an overview of other parables — often neglected in the discussion — from the Old Testament, Jewish writings, and the Greco-Roman world. 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 today.


“This book is a simply stunning achievement. Klyne Snodgrass discusses Jesus’ parables with theological sensitivity, with careful attention to comparable Jewish and Greco-Roman traditions, and in dialogue with the mountain of secondary literature. Scholar and student alike will appreciate its admirable clarity and its numerous fresh suggestions. This wide-ranging book has no rival: it will be the book on the parables for the next decade and beyond.”
—Graham Stanton, University of Cambridge

“Convinced that the parables are the most certain avenue for access to Jesus’ teaching, Klyne Snodgrass analyzes all of them with skill, care, and imagination. As a seasoned teacher and scholar, he outlines steps for the interpreter to follow, provides historical and cultural background materials, and engages the parables theologically. No one has located the parables as clearly and forcefully within the prophetic tradition of Israel, thereby providing a new approach to their vitality.”
—Arland J. Hultgren, Luther Seminary

“Bravo! Stories with Intent is the culmination of Klyne Snodgrass’s lifetime of reflection on the parables. It shows a wealth of discernment in the clarity of its presentation, the soundness of its reasoning, the choice of citation and parallels, and the care of its argument. No study of the parables is as crisply structured as it answers the questions readers often raise about these stories. Here is a book with intent, and it succeeds exceptionally well in opening up a key dimension of Jesus’ ministry and teaching.”
—Darrell Bock, Dallas Theological Seminary

“I have been looking for a book like this on the parables all my career. I celebrate its appearance.”
—Charles H. Talbert, Baylor University

“Here in one volume is the latest and best interpretation of the parables of Jesus. This book is sure to be received as a fine resource for engaging proclamation of the parables.”
—William H. Willimon, Bishop, North Alabama Conference, United Methodist Church

“In Stories with Intent Klyne Snodgrass has fulfilled his promise of a comprehensive guide to the parables of Jesus. . . . Whatever angle the reader brings to the study of the parables, this book brings rich resources to illuminate that study. It is necessary reading for anyone interested in the parables and teaching of Jesus.”
—John Painter, St. Mark's School of Theology, Charles Sturt University

“Stories with Intent is a very helpful and inspiring book, written for pastors and scholars, for students of the Bible, and for laypeople interested in the teaching of Jesus. It contains an abundance of well-arranged valuable information about the history of research and the Old Testament, Jewish, Greco-Roman, and social backgrounds of the parables, at the same time leading readers to the center of Jesus’ teaching. A wonderful book.”
—Martin Hengel, University of Tübingen


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About the Author

Klyne R. Snodgrass is Paul W. Brandel Professor of New Testament Studies at North Park Theological Seminary, Chicago, Illinois. His previous writing includes The Parable of the Wicked Tenants and Between Two Truths: Living with Biblical Tensions.

Table of Contents



Introduction to the Parables of Jesus
     Necessary History
     What Is a Parable?
     How Should Parables Be Classified?
     What about Allegory?
     Characteristics of Jesus’ Parables
     Distribution of the Parables
     How Should Parables Be Interpreted?
     NT Criticism — Assumptions and Hesitations, Method and Procedure

Parables in the Ancient World
     The Old Testament
     Early Jewish Writings
     Greco-Roman Writings
     The Early Church
     Later Jewish Writings

Grace and Responsibility
     The Unforgiving Servant (Matt 18:23-35)
     The Two Debtors (Luke 7:41-43)

Parables of Lostness
     The Arrangement of Luke 15
     The Lost Sheep (Matt 18:12-14/Luke 15:4-7)
     The Lost Coin (Luke 15:8-10)
     The Compassionate Father and His Two Lost Sons (Luke 15:11-32)

The Parable of the Sower and the Purpose of Parables
(Matt 13:3-23; Mark 4:3-20; Luke 8:5-15)

Parables of the Present Kingdom in Matthew 13, Mark 4, and Luke 13
     The Growing Seed (Mark 4:26-29)
     The Wheat and the Weeds (Matt 13:24-30, 36-43)
     The Mustard Seed (Matt 13:31-32;Mark 4:30-32; Luke 13:18-19)
     The Leaven (Matt 13:33; Luke 13:20-21)
     The Treasure (Matt 13:44)
     The Pearl (Matt 13:45-46)

Parables Specifically about Israel
     The Barren Fig Tree (Luke 13:6-9)
     The Two Sons (Matt 21:28-32)
     The Wicked Tenants (Matt 21:33-46; Mark 12:1-12; Luke 20:9-19; Gos. Thom. 65–66)
     The Wedding Banquet and the Feast (Matt 22:1-14; Luke 14:15-24; Gos. Thom. 64)

Parables about Discipleship
     The Two Builders (Matt 7:24-27/Luke 6:47-49)
     The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37)
     The Workers in the Vineyard (Matt 20:1-16)
     The Tower Builder and the Warring King (Luke 14:28-32)

Parables about Money
     The Rich Fool (Luke 12:16-21)
     The Unjust Steward (Luke 16:1-13)
     The Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31)

Parables concerning God and Prayer
     The Friend at Midnight (Luke 11:5-8)
     The Unjust Judge (Luke 18:1-8)
     The Pharisee and the Tax Collector (Luke 18:9-14)

Parables of Future Eschatology
     The Net (Matt 13:47-50)
     The Eschatological Discourse
     The Ten Virgins (Matt 25:1-13)
     The Talents and the Minas (Matt 25:14-30; Luke 19:11-27)
     The Sheep and the Goats (Matt 25:31-46)


     Occurrences of παραβoλη (parabolē) in the NT
     Occurrences of the Verb (māšal) in the OT
     Occurrences of the Noun (māšāl) in the OT
     Occurrences of παραβoλη (parabolē) in the LXX
     Occurrences of παραβoλη (parabolē) in the Apostolic Fathers
     Classification of Parables


     Primary Sources
     Secondary Sources



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