Earthy Stories with Heavy Meanings

An excerpt from William Herzog’s Parables as Subversive Speech: Jesus as Pedagogue of the Oppressed (1994).

…the parables were not earthly stories with heavenly meanings but earthy stories with heavy meanings, weighted down by an awareness of the workings of exploitations in the world of their hearers. The focus of the parables was not on a vision of the glory of the reign of God, but on the gory details of how oppression served the interests of a ruling class. Instead of reiterating the promise of God’s intervention in human affairs, they explored how human beings could respond to break the spiral of violence and cycle of poverty created by exploitation and oppression. The parable was a form of social analysis every bit as much as it was a form of theological reflection.

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