A Guest post by Klyne Snodgrass
The following is a guest post by Prof. Klyne Snodgrass, the author of the important new volume, Stories with Intent: A Comprehensive Guide to the Parables of Jesus. He responds to my review of the book, and, er, my little poke: Scandal of the day: Snodgrass critiques Wright. In the following, he confronts my Wrightian idolatry head on!
First, thank you for the attention given to my work. That others give serious attention to what I have done is about all I can ask. My goal was not to have people agree with me, but to provide—primarily for myself—a comprehensive treatment of each parable (well, at least most of them) and to provide as much as possible the resources and insights needed to interpret the parable, even if a person chooses not to agree with me.
I agree fully that footnotes would be better than endnotes. Some of the notes were so long (like one on allegory in the introduction) that they could not be placed at the bottom of the page. Incidentally, while scholars prefer footnotes, pastors have expressed gratitude that the publisher used endnotes.
You need to be aware that the title is a protest. This was my title, not the publishers. (On the other hand, the artwork on the dustcover is entirely from the publisher.) From the early days of the church to today people have done what they will with the parables to make them serve every purpose imaginable, but Jesus, like prophets before him, told parables with a prophetic intent to confront, challenge, and enlighten God's people. I have given a pretty full report of what others have done, but I have tried to see the parables within the larger context of Jesus' ministry to Israel. If we do not hear Jesus' intent, as hard as that may be at times, why are we even reading the parables?
You are correct that I am quite in line with Bauckham's work in Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. On the scandal of the day, I did not know critiquing Wright was a scandal! Flee idolatry! I am quite sure Wright is wrong on the coming of the Son of Man, but Tom makes the work of the rest of us much easier. I love the guy, and I am more in agreement with Tom than not. Especially with regard to his approach to parables, Wright is very good. He is one of the few who sees that parables are prophetic instruments, and I push that point partly in dependence on him. However, his reading of individual parables is less convincing. While he is correct that some of the parables are Israel's story, with others I think this is overreading Jesus' stories and forcing all of them into a mold. No where is this more the case than with the Prodigal Son and Elder Brother, and in my mind if the elder brother does not represent the Samaritans, then it is difficult to see the prodigal pointing to the nation. Luke 15:1-2 certainly does not set up the parable that way. A word of caution is needed though. These parables are not allegories, but analogies, and there is a difference. Compare my treatment, e.g., of the Lost Coin. For a more direct treatment of Wright's approach see my "Reading and Overreading the Parables in Jesus and the Victory of God," Jesus and the Restoration of Israel: A Critical Assessment of N. T. Wright's Jesus and the Victory of God. Edited by Carey Newman. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1999, 61-76.
One topic that I have not seen anyone comment on so far is my attempt to map out the eschatological givens of Jesus' message and work. I did this in the chapter on parables of future eschatology. I argue the parables in the Eschatological Discourse in Matt 24-25 are first hand evidence of Jesus' eschatology. Something akin to a hermeneutical circle is involved in talking about Jesus' eschatology and his eschatological parables. I am sure some will not like what I do with these parables, but I could do no other.
Peace and a meaningful Easter to all of you,
Labels: Guest Post