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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Divinity : Biblical Studies

Undergraduate Course: Parables in Practice (BIST10051)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Divinity CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryAn exploration of the parables of Jesus as they have been read, interpreted and informed actions from biblical to contemporary times.
Course description -Academic Description:
The course aims to engage in a study of the parables of Jesus which brings the insights of biblical studies and historical criticism into conversation with reception history, contextual studies and practical theology. The parables will be situated in their original context(s) and read from a variety of modern perspectives. Their influence in ecclesiastical and cultural settings will be considered. The course sits within the subject areas of both Biblical Studies and Theology and Ethics, and brings inter-disciplinary, literary, theological and cultural concerns to bear on these influential biblical texts.

-Course Summary:
The course will begin by situating the parables in their historical and literary setting in the Bible and in the life of Jesus. The influence of readings by the early church will be followed by a critical discussion of major hermeneutical shifts in parable research in the twentieth century, including the readings of Jeremias and Crossan, and feminist and socio-critical readings. The influence of parables in pastoral care and preaching, and in film, music and literature, will also be traced. Key parables, such as the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son, will be considered in particular detail.

- Student Learning Experience:
The course involves one two-hour seminar per week, which will consist of a combination of lecture-style presentations and discussion based on readings prepared in advance. Each student will be required to give a short presentation at one seminar during the semester on the text for the day. Through participation in discussions, as well as through the written work and the examination included in the assessment schedule, students will demonstrate their achievement of the intended learning outcomes.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have at least 3 Divinity/Religious Studies courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this). We will only consider University/College level courses.
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Discuss and evaluate the historical, theological, social and literary significance of a range of parables, and the reception history of parables in various media.
  2. Demonstrate critical understanding of some of the hermeneutical approaches that have been taken to the parables from ancient to modern times, and of the ways that parables can be used in areas of practical theology.
  3. Demonstrate an ability to present and debate an analysis of the interaction between primary and secondary texts from across the disciplines of Biblical Studies and Theology and Ethics.
Reading List
Anderson, Herbert and Edward Foley, Mighty Stories, Dangerous Rituals (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1998).

Bailey, K. E., Jesus through Middle Eastern Eyes: Cultural Studies in the Gospels (London: SPCK, 2008).

Beavis, M. A. (ed.), The Lost Coin: Parables of Women, Work and Wisdom (London/New York: Sheffield Academic Press [A Continuum Imprint], 2002).

Blomberg, C. L., Preaching the Parables: From Responsible Interpretation to Powerful Proclamation (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2004).

Buttrick, D., Speaking Parables: A Homiletic Guide (Louiseville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press, 2000).

Capps, Donald, ┐Biblical models in pastoral counseling.┐ In Pastoral Psychology, 1980, Vol.28(4), pp.252-264.

Crossan, J. D. In Parables: The Challenge of the Historical Jesus (New York: Harper & Row, 1973).

Dodd, C. H., The Parables of the Kingdom (London: Collins, 1961)

Evans, C. A., ┐God┐s Vineyard and Its Caretakers┐, in Jesus and His Contemporaries: Comparative Studies (AGJU 25; Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1995), 381-406.

Helsel, Phillip. ┐A Life with Roots: Narrative Pastoral Care and Communities of Identity in the Parable of the 'Good Soil'.┐ In Pastoral Psychology, 2012, Vol. 61(4). pp. 485-491.

Herzog II, W. R., Parables as Subversive Speech: Jesus as Pedagogue of the Oppressed (Louiseville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press, 1994).

Jeremias, J., The Parables of Jesus (2nd ed.; trans. S. H. Hooke; London: SCM, 1972).

Kloppenborg, J. S., The Tenants in the Vineyard: Ideology, Economics, and Agrarian Conflict in Jewish Palestine (WUNT 195; Tubingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2006.

Little, J. C., ┐Parable Research in the Twentieth Century I. The Predecessors of J. Jeremias┐, Expository Times 87 (1976): 356-360.
_, ┐ II. The Contribution of J. Jeremias┐, Expository Times 88 (1976): 40-44.
_, ┐III. Developments since J. Jeremias┐, Expository Times 88 (1976): 71-75.

Longenecker, R. N. (ed.), The Challenge of Jesus┐ Parables (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2000).

Marshall, I. H. Eschatology and the Parables, (London: Tyndale, 1963).

Schottroff, L. The Parables of Jesus (trans. Linda M. Maloney; Minneapolis: Fortress, 2006).

Scott, B. B., Hear Then the Parable: A Commentary on the Parables of Jesus (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1989).
_, Re-Imagine the World: An Introduction to the Parables of Jesus (Santa Rosa, CA: Polebridge Press, 2001).

Shillington, V. G. (ed.), Jesus and His Parables: Interpreting the Parables of Jesus Today (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1997).

Sider, J. W., Interpreting the Parables: A Hermeneutical Guide to Their Meaning (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1995).

Snodgrass, K. R., ┐From Allegorizing to Allegorizing: A History of the Interpretation of the Parables of Jesus┐, in R. N. Longenecker (ed.), The Challenge of Jesus┐ Parables (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2000), 3-29.
_, Stories with Intent: A Comprehensive Guide to the Parables of Jesus (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2008).

Stiller, B. C., Preaching Parables to Postmoderns (Minneapolis MN: Fortress Press, 2005).

Via, Jr., D. O., The Parables (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1967).

Walker, Maxine. ┐ ┐How do you read it?┐ Rowan Williams, Marilynne Robinson and Mapping a Postmodern Reading of the Good Samaritan Parable.┐ In Journal of Anglican Studies, 17 April 2013, Vol. 12(2), pp. 203-225
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Gather, analyse, evaluate and critique evidence from a wide range of primary and secondary sources.

Organise and structure lengthy arguments and draw these together into a coherent conclusion in written and oral form.

Formulate a coherent written or oral presentation on the basis of material gathered and organised independently on a given topic.

Organise their own learning, manage workload and work to a timetable.

Effectively plan, and possess the confidence to undertake and to present scholarly work that demonstrates an understanding of the aims, methods and theoretical considerations relevant to Theology/Religious Studies.
KeywordsParables,reception history,feminist readings,socio-scientific readings,pastoral care
Course organiserDr Alison Jack
Tel: (0131 6)50 8944
Course secretaryMs Katrina Munro
Tel: (0131 6)50 8900
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