Amy-Jill Levine delivers her views on how she thinks 4 parables (Prodigal Son, Good Samaritan, Laborers in Vineyard, Pearl of Great Price) are interpreted and how they actually should be interpreted. Agree or disagree? What do you think should be learned from these teachings?
Be careful of cnn, they cannot be relied upon to bring the truth.
Misleading meanderings of the mediocre. Look not to a non-christian “academic” for the exegesis of the parables, but to the Holy Catholic Church as it holds the words of eternal life in its founder Jesus Christ.
I cannot for the life of me see how her analysis adds anything to the commentary.
Especially since she gets it wrong.
In the ‘good Samaritan’:
[list]*]the priest and Levite are heading to Jericho? Really? Umm… no – the man who gets robbed is heading that way! The parable doesn’t say that the priest and Levite are, as well!
*]all the parable does is make Jewish law look bad? No – it demonstrates that even in following the Law, we can miss caring for one another.
*]the author seems to be unable to keep her own point straight. She writes, “[t]he parable is often seen as a story of how the oppressed minority are “nice” and therefore we should check our prejudices.” She dismisses this as the wrong interpretation; rather, she suggests, “We are the person in the ditch, and we see the Samaritan. Our first thought: ‘He’s going to rape me. He’s going to murder me.’ Then we realize: Our enemy may be the very person who will save us.” In other words: ‘check our prejudices’. :rolleyes: [/list]
In the parable of the laborers, she suggests, “Jesus’ first listeners heard not a parable about salvation in the afterlife but about economics in present. They heard a lesson about how the employed must speak on behalf of those who lack a daily wage.” Pardon? If this is the lesson, then surely, there is a character in the story who “lacks a daily wage.” Perhaps she can point them out to us… but there’s no such character in this parable. Everyone in the parable heeds the call of the landowner, and therefore, all have a daily wage. If the moral was “keep going out into the marketplace and finding those who have not yet found work,” then surely, Jesus’ conclusion would have been along those lines, right? Yet… no. Instead, it’s “'am I not free to do as I wish? Are you envious because I am generous?’ Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
Does that parable give us the opportunity to seek a variety of interpretations? Of course. Does it suggest that the downtrodden of Israel, to whom Jesus is speaking (remember – He’s making His journey to Jerusalem, but is not yet there among the movers and shakers; He’s in Judea, across the Jordan), should identify with a landowner? Really? Hardly. We identify with the landowner, because we – 21st century westerners – have resources and land. The average Palestinian who was listening to Jesus? Riiiight…
The author concludes by writing, “I am not a Christian, but I hear profound messages in these parables. If I as an outsider can be so moved by Jesus’ stories, surely people who worship him as Lord and Savior can appreciate them even more.” She makes a good point: Jesus’ messages are for everyone. Yet, if she wishes to opine on the Gospels, she would do well to understand a central message found in the Synoptic Gospels: no one – not even the apostles – could hope to understand who Jesus was and what His message truly is, until they’ve witnessed His suffering, death, and resurrection. No one can hope to grasp the Good News until they’ve clung to Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Only then can we hope to understand the message of the Son of God…
The author is totally wrong on the parable of the Prodigal Son. How can you say the story is not about forgiveness? The Prodigal Son is the ultimate story of God’s love for humanity and his desire to forgive and be with us. :mad:
Stay away from the CNN belief blog and the whole site for that matter. I found that CNN likes to add fire to hot topics happening around the world. However, they’re not the only news site who do it.
CNN, the network founded by Ted “Christianity is a religion for losers” Turner? That the one?
It almost sounds like the author doesn’t want the great truths expressed in the stories to be…well…truths.
That article was five minutes of my life I can’t get back. Not as big a loss as the Spongebob movie I took the nephews to years ago, but a definite loss.
“Amy-Jill Levine” sounds as though she might not be exactly Christian. I know that it may seem audacious for Christians to interpret the OT, but for the Jewish to interpret the NT? That’s a new one.
Well with the prodigal son – she mentions what a Jewish listener of the day would have heard but I think totally misses what they would have heard. This disrespect of the son asking for his inheritance–basically saying he wishes his father was dead. I think the hearer of this parable in Jesus day would have been surprised to see the father out there waiting and watching and with the celebration. This parable is also about repentance besides other things. I think we should learn that sometimes we may have to fall pretty far before we wake up, repent and move toward God, that we have never fallen too far to return to God and that all that time we were away/lost God has been looking for us, calling to us and will rejoice when we return to him – it should show us our great value to God. We should also learn how not to respond when those lost sheep return to the fold.
All she got from this was that it was about counting? I think she mischaracterizes how this parable is normally interpreted, she seems to imply the evangelist got the message of the parable wrong (yes and she knows better 2000 years later?), and the Father didn’t need to search or go looking for the older son because he was not lost–he was there with the father–he hadn’t left the farm. When the older son refused to join the celebration the father does come out and speak to him–and that too is a message for us all. There is so much more going on than remember to count or we might lose something. That’s really all she got?
The peace of Christ,
Ms. Levine has a 55-page Curriculum Vitae. Others have pointed out the multiple howlers in her “views”, and considering her credentials they’re even more appalling.
My late father used to say that the only way to get ahead in academia was to argue that 1 + 1 = 3. The only problem is that 1 + 1 = 2.
She seems to be proof that he was right.