Commentary question

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jwsheets | Forum Activity | Posted: Fri, Dec 19 2014 6:37 PM

I am starting on an academic exegetical research paper on The Parable of the Ten Virgins (Matthew 25:1-13) and its significance for the modern believer. As far as an outline and foundational information I was recommended to use the Word Biblical Commentary - but I don't own that particular set - any suggestions on another book/set that would be good to use?



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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 19 2014 6:53 PM

from some random website after a search for Jeremias, Drury and Crossan on parables:

These are the first books that I recommend to my seminary students:   

Capon, Robert Farrar. Kingdom, Grace, Judgment: Paradox, Outrage, and Vindication in the Parables of Jesus (Eerdmans) 2002.           
This is the book I recommend first to those preaching or teaching on the parables. You may not always agree with Capon, but you will always be encouraged to think about the parables anew.      
Review by Graydon F. Snyder at Currents in Theology and Mission      
Gowler, David B. What Are They Saying about the Parables? (Paulist Press) 2000.           
An excellent introduction to the study of the parables including a historical overview as well as more recent approaches.      
Chapter 6 from Gowler's own website.      
Review by Michael Luper at Review of Biblical Literature      
A Reading Guide to: Gowler What Are They Saying about The Parables.PDF (MGVH)      
Hedrick, Charles. Many Things in Parables: Jesus and His Modern Critics (Westminster John Knox, 2004)           
A helpful introduction summarizing the history of the study of the parables and a proposal for various interpretative strategies.      
Links to Reviews at Review of Biblical Literature       
A Reading Guide to: Hedrick Many Things in Parables.PDF (MGVH)      
Hultgren, Arland J. The Parables of Jesus: A Commentary (Eerdmans) 2002.           
This provides an encyclopedic approach to every parable. This is the place to start to get background information about any particular parable.      
Review by Richard B. Vinson at Review of Biblical Literature       
Reid, Barbara E. Parables for Preachers: Gospel of Matthew-Year A (Liturgical Press, 2001); Parables for Preachers: Gospel of Mark-Year B (Liturgical Press, 1999); Parables for Preachers: Gospel of Luke-Year C (Liturgical Press, 2000)            
Nice surveys of the parables organized by the Revised Common Lectionary and oriented for preachers.      
Brief Review by John T. Carroll at Interpretation.      
Scott, Bernard Brandon. Re-Imagine the World: An Introduction to the Parables of Jesus (Polebridge Press, 2001)           
A popularized and more concise edition of his insightful       
Review by Dennis C. Stoutenburg at Review of Biblical Literature       
Snodgrass, Klyne, Stories With Intent: A Comprehensive Guide to the Parables of Jesus (Eerdmans, 2008)           
The most recent and (as the title states) comprehensive survey of Jesus' parables.      
Review by Ernest van Eck at Review of Biblical Literature      

Secondary Bibliography


The Parables of Jesus by Joachim Jeremias – One of the landmarks in the modern study of the parables.  
In Parables: The Challenge of the Historical Jesus by John Dominic Crossan - A scholarly study but an artistic, reflective work as well.  
Hear Then the Parable by Bernard Brandon Scott – An earlier and more comprehensive version of his Re-Imagine the World cited above. Introductory material is somewhat technical, but his exposition is fascinating and provocative.  
The Challenge of Jesus’ Parables – Collection of essays edited by Richard N. Longenecker.  
Interpretation 56.3, July 2002 – Journal theme is on the parables.  
Matthew's Parables: Audience-Oriented Perspectives by Warren Carter and John Paul Heil – Provides good attention to both the social and literary contexts of the parables.   
"Preaching the Parables" Part    One and Part    Two - Two brief essays by Arland Hultgren on

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 19 2014 6:55 PM

If you prefer a list from a seminary

Bibliography Parables Introduction - Parable Links



Books on the Parables        of Jesus

  1. Bailey, Kenneth E.  Poet & Peasant and            Through Peasant Eyes: A Literary-Cultural Approach to the Parables            in Luke. Combined ed. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing            Co., 1983.

  2. Bailey, Kenneth E.  Poet & Peasant.             Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1976.

  3. Bailey, Kenneth E.  Through Peasant Eyes.            Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1980.

  4. Boucher, Madeleine.  The Mysterious Parable:            A Literary Study. Washington, D.C.: Catholic Biblical            Association of America, 1977.

  5. Breech, James.  Jesus and Postmodernism.            Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1989.

  6. Breech, James.  The Silence of Jesus: The            Authentic Voice of the Historical Man. Philadelphia: Fortress            Press, 1983.

  7. Bultmann, Rudolf.  The History of the            Synoptic Tradition. 2nd ed. Trans. John Marsh. New York: Harper            & Row, 1968.

  8. Crossan, John Dominic.  Cliffs of Fall:            Paradox and Polyvalance in the Parables of Jesus. New York:            Seabury Press, 1980.

  9. Crossan, John Dominic.  Finding Is the First            Act: Trove Folktales and Jesus' Treasure Parable. Philadelphia:            Fortress Press, 1979.

  10. Crossan, John Dominic.  Semeia 9: Polyvalent            Narration. Missoula, Mont.: Scholars Press, 1977.

  11. Crossan, John Dominic.  Raid on the            Articulate: Comic Eschatology in Jesus and Borges. New York:            Harper & Row, 1976.

  12. Crossan, John Dominic.  The Dark Interval:            Toward a Theology of Story. Niles, Ill.: Argus Communications,            1975.

  13. Crossan, John Dominic.  In Parables: The            Challenge of the Historical Jesus. New York: Harper & Row,            1973.

  14. Derrett, J. Duncan M.  Law in the New            Testament. London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 1970.

  15. Dodd, C.H.  The Parables of the Kingdom.            New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1961.

  16. Donahue, John R., S.J.  The Gospel in            Parable: Metaphor, Narrative, and Theology in the Synoptic Gospels.            Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1988.

  17. Dury, John.  The Parables in the Gospels:            History and Allegory. New York: Crossroad, 1985.

  18. Findlay, J. Alexander.  Jesus and His            Parables. London: Epworth Press, 1950.

  19. Fisher, Neal, F.  The Parables of Jesus:            Glimpses of the New Age. New York: Women's Division, Board of            Global Ministries, The United Methodist Church, 1979.

  20. Ford, Richard Q.  The Parables of Jesus:            Recovering the Art of Listening. Minneapolis: Fortress Press,            1997.

  21. Funk, Robert W.  Parables and Presence:            Forms of the New Testament Tradition. Philadelphia: Fortress            Press, 1982.

  22. Funk, Robert W.  Jesus as Precursor.            Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1975.

  23. Funk, Robert W.  Language, Hermeneutic, and            Word of God. New York: Harper & Row, 1966.

  24. Funk, Robert W., Bernard Brandon Scott, and James R.            Butts.  The Parables of Jesus: Red Letter Edition.            Sonoma, Calif.: Polebridge Press, 1988.

  25. Gowler, David B.  What Are They Saying About            the Parables.  New York: Paulist Press, 2000.

  26. Hedrick, Charles.  Parables as Poetic            Fictions: The Creative Voice of Jesus. Peabody, Mass.:            Hendrickson, 1994.

  27. Herzog, William R. II.  Parables as            Subversive Speech: Jesus as Pedagogue of the Oppressed.            Louisville, Ky: Westminster John Knox Press, 1994.

  28. Hultgren, Arland J.  The Parables of Jesus:            A Commentary. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.,            2000.

  29. Hunter, Archibald M.  The Parables Then and            Now. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1971.

  30. Hunter, Archibald M.  Interpreting the            Parables. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1960.

  31. Jeremias, Joachim.  The Parables of Jesus.            Rev. ed. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1963.

  32. Jones, Geraint Vaughan.  The Art and Truth            of the Parables: A Study in Their Literary Form and Modern            Interpretation. London: SPCK, 1964.

  33. Kingsbury, Jack Dean.  The Parables of Jesus            in Matthew 13: A Study in Redaction Criticism. Richmond: John            Knox Press, 1969.

  34. Lambrecht, Jan, S.J.  Out of the Treasure:            The Parables in the Gospel of Matthew. Grand Rapids: Wm. B.            Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1991.

  35. Lambrecht, Jan, S.J.  Parables of Jesus:            Insight and Challenge. Bangalore: Theological Publications in            India, 1976.

  36. Linnemann, Eta.  Jesus of the Parables:            Introduction and Exposition. New York: Harper & Row, 1966.

  37. Patterson, Stephen J.  The God of Jesus: The            Historical Jesus and the Search for Meaning. Harrisburg, Pa:            Trinity Press International, 1998.

  38. Perrin, Norman.  Jesus and the Language of            the Kingdom: Symbol and Metaphor in New Testament Interpretation.            Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1976.

  39. Perrin, Norman.  Rediscovering the Teaching            of Jesus. New York: Harper & Row, 1967.

  40. Perrin, Norman.  The Kingdom of God in the            Teaching of Jesus. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1963.

  41. Scott, Bernard Brandon.  Hollywood Dreams            and Biblical Stories. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1994.

  42. Scott, Bernard Brandon.  Hear Then the            Parable: A commentary on the Parables of Jesus. Minneapolis:            Fortress Press, 1989.

  43. Scott, Bernard Brandon.  Jesus, Symbol-Maker            for the Kingdom. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1981.

  44. Shillington, V. George, ed.  Jesus and His            Parables: Interpreting the Parables of Jesus Today. Edinburgh:            T.&T. Clark, 1997.

  45. Stein, Robert H.  An Introduction to the            Parables of Jesus. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1981.

  46. TeSelle, Sallie McFague.  Speaking in            Parables: A Study in Metaphor and Theology. Philadelphia:            Fortress Press, 1975.

  47. Tolbert, Mary Ann.  Perspectives on the            Parables: An Approach to Multiple Interpretations. Philadelphia:            Fortress Press, 1967.

  48. Via, Dan Otto, Jr.  The Parables: Their            Literary and Existential Dimension. Philadelphia: Fortress            Press, 1967.

  49. Wilder, Amos N.  Jesus' Parables and the War            of Myths: Essays on Imagination in the Scriptures.  Edited            by James Breech. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1982.

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Books on Jewish Meshalim

  1. Culbertson, Philip L.  Word Fitly Spoken:            Context, Transmission, and Adoption of the Parables of Jesus.            Albany, N.Y.: State University of New York Press, 1995.

  2. Feldman, Asher.  The Parables and the            Similes of the Rabbis: Agricultural and Pastoral. London:            Cambridge University Press, 1924.

  3. Osterley, William Oscar Emil.  The Gospel            Parables in the Light of Their Jewish Background. London: SPCK,            1936.

  4. Stern, David.  Parables in Midrash:            Narrative and Exegesis in Rabbinic Literature. Cambridge, Mass.:            Harvard University Press, 1991.

  5. Thoma, Clemens and Michael Wyschogrod, eds.  Parables            and Story in Judaism and Christianity. New York: Paulist Press,            1989.

  6. Westermann, Claus.  The Parables of Jesus in            the Light of the Old Testament. Minneapolis: Fortress Press,            1990.

  7. Young, Brad H.  Jesus and His Jewish            Parables: Rediscovering the Roots of Jesus' Teaching. New York:            Paulist Press, 1989.

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On Preaching Parables

  1. Allen, Ronald J.  "Shaping Sermons by the            Language of the Text." In Preaching Biblically: Creating            Sermons in the Shape of Scripture, edited by Son M. Wardlaw,            29-59. Philadelphia:Westminster Press, 1983.

  2. Buttrick, George Arthur.  The Parables of            Jesus.  Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, Doran & Co.,            1928.

  3. Buttrick, David.  Speaking Parables: A            Homiletic Guide. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2000.

  4. Capon, Robert Farrar.  The Parables of            Judgment. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1989.

  5. Capon, Robert Farrar.  The Parables of Grace.            Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1988.

  6. Capon, Robert Farrar.  The Parables of the            Kingdom. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1985.

  7. Carroll, John T. and James R. Carroll.  Preaching            the Hard Sayings of Jesus. Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 1996.

  8. Graskow, David M.  Preaching on the            Parables. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1972.

  9. Graves, Mike.  The Sermon as Symphony:            Preaching the Literary Forms of the New Testament. Valley Forge,            Pa.: Judson Press, 1997. (Chapter 4)

  10. Long, Thomas G.  Preaching and the Literary            Forms of the Bible. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1989. (Chapter            6).

  11. Lowry, Eugene L.  How to Preach a Parable:            Designs for Narrative Sermons. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1989.

  12. Schweizer, Eduard.  "Preaching on the            Parables." In Biblical Preaching: An Expositor's Treasury,            edited by James W. Cox. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1983.

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Sermons on the Parables

  1. Bosley, Harold.  He Spoke to Them in            Parables.  New York: Harper & Row, 1963.

  2. Brunner, Emil.  Sowing and Reaping: The            Parables of Jesus. Trans. Thomas Wieser. Richmond: John Knox            Press, 1964.

  3. Chappell, Clovis Gillham.  Sermons from the            Parables. Nashville: Cokesbury Press, 1933.

  4. Crowe, Charles M.  Sermons on the Parables            of Jesus. Nashville: Abingdon-Cokesbury, 1953.

  5. Keating, Thomas.  The Kingdom of God is            Like--. New York: Crossroad, 1993.

  6. Thielicke, Helmut.  The Waiting Father:            Sermons on the Parables of Jesus. Trans. John W. Doberstein. New            York: Harper & Brothers, 1959.

  7. Trotter, Mark.  What Are You Waiting For?            Sermons on the Parables of Jesus. Nashville: Abingdon Press,            1993.

  8. Van Wyk, William Peter.  My Sermon Notes on            Parables and Metaphors. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1947.

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Parable Bibliographies

  1. Crossan, John Dominic.  "A Basic            Bibliography for Parables Research." Semeia 1. Missoula,            Mont.: Scholars Press, 1974.

  2. Kissinger, Warren S.  The Parables of Jesus:            A History of Interpretation and Bibliography. Metuchen, N.J.:            American Theological Library Association, 1979.

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* This bibliography is based on the work of David        Buttrick, Speaking Parables: A Homiletic Guide (Louisville:        Westminster John Knox Press, 2000) pp. 237-240.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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JT (alabama24) | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 19 2014 6:58 PM

Without knowing which ones you own, it will be hard to make a recommendation. One good place to check is Another site is by Mark Barnes. Links below. 

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GregW | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Dec 20 2014 2:11 PM


I am starting on an academic exegetical research paper on The Parable of the Ten Virgins (Matthew 25:1-13) and its significance for the modern believer. As far as an outline and foundational information I was recommended to use the Word Biblical Commentary - but I don't own that particular set - any suggestions on another book/set that would be good to use?



You can actually purchase WBC volumes individually on Logos - that's how I started: I later got dynamic pricing when they were on sale to buy the whole set. Alternatively, R.T.France in NICNT is also quite highly rated. The other top commentaries on tend to be pastoral/expository rather than academic. I don't know what the Allison volume in ICC is like, but that is also quite highly rated. 

You could also always try a local seminary or theological library. Dead Tree copies are also available secondhand quite cheaply from a well-known Seattle-based Internet retailer (at least here in the UK). 

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