History and Teaching of Jesus Plan
What is a parable? = A brief story that portrays a moral or religious lesson
Linneman, E., 1977, Parables of Jesus: Introduction and Exposition, (London: S.P.C.K)
• The parable is a universally used figure of speech. Jesus was by no means the first teller of parables. He did not invent this stylistic form, but he took it over; though it must be said that he handled it with extreme skill.
• The parable is not told for the sake of conversation, but to bring the listeners to understand something.
• The parable in the narrower sense offers a freely composed story. But since it is compared with a specific aim, this story is formulated to fit its purpose.
• A parable is an urgent endeavour on the part of the speaker towards the listener. The man who tells a parable wants to do more than utter something or make a communication. He wants to affect the other, to win his agreement, to influence his judgement in a particular direction, to force him to a decision, to convince him or prevail upon him. Even when it is only the narrator who speaks, a conversation is really taking place. He has already anticipated the possible objections of the hearers because it is to overcome such resistance that he has chosen the parable as his form of speech.
• A parable can be used for instruction. It overcomes the difficulties of comprehension by explaining what is unknown or hard to grasp through what is familiar and easy to grasp.
• The parable is also used for exhortation. Its power of persuasion is used to overcome the resistance that stands in the way of doing good.
• The parable is used to induce the listeners to make a decision after the mind of the narrator in a concrete historical situation… the situation is characterized by the greatest conceivable opposition which exists between the assessment of the situation by the narrator and by the listeners… the narrator, who has at his disposal nothing other than the power of language is...