Craig Blomberg – Summary

Interpreting the Parables
Interpreting the Parables

Craig Blomberg, Interpreting the Parables (affiliate disclosure; Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 1992).

Interpreting the Parables begins by summarizing significant findings and methodological issues in recent parable research so that a wide audience can benefit from this historical foundation for Blomberg’s work (13).

In reviewing this previous scholarship, Blomberg seeks to interact critically with it and, at some points, propose specific alternatives (14). In Blomberg’s opinion, all Jesus parables are allegorical on some level.

To articulate a method of treating the parables in this light, Blomberg discusses numerous hermeneutical issues, appreciating the value of the different positions where possible, critiquing them where necessary, and frequently coming to mediating conclusions about these issues’ relevance for parable interpretation.

His most important conclusion, and the one that affects the whole the second part of the work, is that “each parable makes one main point per main character—usually two or three [characters] in each [parable]—and these main characters are the most likely elements within the parable to stand for something other than themselves, thus giving the parable its allegorical nature” (163).

Having articulated this principle, the bulk of the second part of Interpreting the Parables contains Blomberg’s systematic examination of many of Jesus’ major parables according to this hypothesis (171–288). Blomberg concludes Interpreting the Parables by discussing some of the theological elements that frequently occur in Jesus’ parables and providing a brief summary of the work’s second part (289–327).

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