Back to list of units

BN/CT2/3/9018S

Parables and their interpretations: influences on Christian theology

This unit will explore theological approaches to parables of the Synoptic Gospels, giving particular attention to the hermeneutical qualities identified in parables, such as brevity and paradox, revelation and concealment, metaphorical images, narrative surprise, sense of momentous event and imperative to response. Exploration of the impact of these interpretative qualities on the use of language in Christian theology forms a complementary focus. Selected examples of theological writing that replicate many hermeneutical effects identified with parables will be used in these explorations.


Lecturer: Stephen Curkpatrick

Offered: Refer to Timetable

Undergraduate: Level 2 and 3
Postgraduate: Level 9 elective unit 

Prerequisites:


If taken as a BN (New Testament) unit:
Undergraduate: one Level 2 unit in BN (New Testament); 45 points in Level 3 (Biblical Studies)
Postgraduate: one Level 8 unit in BN (New Testament)

If taken as a CT (Systematic Theology) unit:
Undergraduate: one Level 2 unit in CT (Systematic Theology); 45 points in Level 3 (Systematic Theology)
Postgraduate: one Level 8 unit in CT (Systematic Theology)


Learning Outcomes: 

Upon successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

Undergraduate

  1. Identify and critically evaluate diverse theological approaches to the parables of the Synoptic Gospels;
  2. Critically evaluate parable hermeneutics in contemporary use of language in Christian theology;
  3. Demonstrate a critical awareness of parable uses in diverse theological and literary contexts;
  4. Formulate critical criteria for evaluating the function of literary genres in the communication of theology.
  5. (Level 3) Exhibit competence in engaging and interpreting New Testament writings and Christian literature.

Postgraduate

  1. Identify and critically evaluate diverse theological approaches to the parables of the Synoptic Gospels;
  2. Critically evaluate parable hermeneutics in contemporary use of language in Christian theology;
  3. Demonstrate a critical awareness of parable uses in diverse theological and literary contexts;
  4. Formulate critical criteria for evaluating the function of literary genres in the communication of theology;
  5. Exhibit competence in formulating research criteria and methods for engaging New Testament writings and Christian literature.

Assessments:

Level 2 (undergraduate)
Four 500 word document studies 50%
Two 1250 word essays  50%

Level 3 (undergraduate)
Four 600 word document studies 50%
Two 1300 word essays or one 2,500 word essay 50%

Level 9 (Postgraduate)
Four 750 word document studies  50%
One 3000 word essay 50%


Select Bibliography:

Ebeling, Gerhard. Word and Faith. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1963.
Jüngel, Eberhard. God as the Mystery of the World: In the Foundation of the Theology of the Crucified One in the Dispute between Theism and Atheism. trans. Darrell L. Guder. Grand Rapids and Edinburgh: Eerdmans and T&T Clark, 1983.
Kierkegaard, Søren. Philosophical Fragments. ed. and trans. Howard V. Hong and Edna H. Hong. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1985.
_________. Papers and Journals: A Selection, trans. into and notes, Alastair Hannay. London: Penguin, 1996.
McFague, Sallie. Speaking in Parables: A Study in Metaphor and Theology. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1975.
Oden, Thomas.C. ed. Parables of Kierkegaard. illust. Lonni S Johnson. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 1978.
Pascal, Blaise. Pensées and Other Writings. trans. Honor Levi, ed. with intro. & notes by Anthony Levi. Oxford and New York, Oxford University Press, 1995, 1999.
Ricoeur, Paul. Figuring the Sacred: Religion, Narrative, and Imagination. trans. D. Pellauer, ed. M. Wallace. Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 1995.
Thoma, Clemens. & Wyschogrod, Michael. eds. Parable and Story in Judaism and Christianity. New York: Paulist, 1989.
Tolstoy, Leo. A. Confession and Other Religious Writings. trans. Jane Kentish, London: Penguin, 1987.
Via, D.O. The Parables: Their Literary and Existential Dimensions. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1967.
Wittgenstein, L. Culture and Value. trans. Peter Winch, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980.
*Zimmermann, Ruben. Puzzling the Parables of Jesus: Methods and Interpretation. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2015.

*required text