HTS Theological Studies
On-line version ISSN 2072-8050
VAN ECK, Ernest. The parables of Jesus: Allegories or symbols of social transformation?. Herv. teol. stud. [online]. 2015, vol.71, n.3, pp. 01-10. ISSN 2072-8050. http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/HTS.V71I3.3030.
This article reflects on a possible methodology that can be used to interpret the parables of Jesus preserved in the Synoptics (and the Gospel of Thomas). It is argued that the available versions of the parables of Jesus have already been allegorised, and that this should be taken into consideration when the extant versions of parables are interpreted as parables of the historical Jesus. The parables should also, as far as possible, be interpreted against the social realia evoked by the parables. In this endeavour, Roman-Egypt inscriptions and papyri are in most cases the only sources available. The article concludes with a few examples, illustrating the possibilities of interpretation when the proposed methodology is applied.