Gowler: What Are They Saying about The Parables? Reading Guide Questions

Write brief responses to the following questions. By "brief" I mean a phrase or sentence or two, just enough so that you can comment upon your response with some pre-considered reflection. The point of considering these questions is to prepare you for class discussion.

NOTE: You will not be directly graded on these responses, and you will not turn them in to me. They will contribute to your class participation grade, however.

Chapter 1:

·         Is it possible to reconstruct the original situation and the original form of the parable as spoken by Jesus? Is it even necessary or desirable to try to do so?

Chapter 2:

·         What was Robert Funk trying to clarify when he describes parables as "metaphors"?

·         Are parables primarily literary, aesthetic works?

Chapter 3:

·         What importance should we give to the gospel contexts within which a parable appears?

Chapter 4:

·         How are the parables of Jesus related to and distinct from later rabbinic parables?

Chapter 5:

·         How are the parables of Jesus like or unlike Greek fables?

Chapter 6:

·         What is Gowler's point when he says: "We do not have to anachronize J’s parables to make them relevant. The challenge is to modernize them authentically." (p. 84)

Chapter 7:

·         What is Gowler trying to highlight when he says: "In brief, the 'meaning' of a parable is inherent in its metaphorical structure and unfolding images, a metaphorical process that transforms a reader." (p. 85)

·         Do you agree with Perrin's assertion that the kingdom of God is the ultimate referent of all the parables of Jesus?


·         If we are not to try to deduce the "meaning" of a parable, what are we to make of it?