14 And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says:16 But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear; 17 for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it?
11 And He said to them, “To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to those who are outside, all things come in parables, 12 so that only appears in the Synoptic Gospels, the Gospel of John adopts the language of hypostatic paradigms.
While John’s style of writing differs to that of the Synoptics, the message is the same.
The parables of Christ are rich in form and content in the Synoptic Gospels and lend themselves to being interpreted allegorically, as well as literally.
Importantly, a parable should not be confused with mashal, which is to be found in the Old Testament, and which contained only a single message.
Plainly, Christ wished to ensure that everyone who heard him teach could comprehend his profound message and come to the realisation of the state of their personhood with a clear way forward toward salvation.
And yet at once the listener who stood among the masses could place himself or herself typologically within the parable; free to choose whether they would follow the Great Storyteller or would resist His message (Beavis 2001, p. Christ’s parables are universal, they have traversed space and time, they are equally relevant today as they were over 2000 years ago. In the Synoptic Gospels, official parables number thirty, however this number varies depending on the criteria for accepting a passage of New Testament (NT) Scripture as a standalone parable. 10Modern Scholarship versus Early Christian Teaching on the Parables. 12Christ’s Parables are Accessible, Personal, Prophetic and Universal 12Conclusion. The word parable, means “putting things side by side”.For example, there were stark differences in the way that Augustine and Origen allegorised the interpretation of the Descriptions are summarised and slightly adapted from Stein (1981, ch. For a comprehensive analysis at Patristric Thought with respect to Descriptions are summarised and slightly adapted from Stein (1981, ch. For a comprehensive analysis at Patristric Thought with respect to The interpreter should be wary of over-elaboration or over-simplification when it comes to the parables (Tasker 1962, p. But this does not mean we reject the allegorical interpretation that was always intended by Christ. Rightly, John Chrysostom of Constantinople who was from the Antiochian School, was resistant to “flights of fancy,” preferring to discern the scope and purpose for each parable, rather than to “find a special significance in each circumstance or incident” (Unger 1980, p. This does not mean however, that Chrysostom shied away from interpreting the Parables himself. Hunter (1958) “rejected Julicher's moralistic interpretations in favour of the now generally accepted thesis that the parables had a particular reference to the ministry of Jesus and the crisis it inaugurated…” (Caird 1980, p. In an attempt to develop and in some cases correct Jülicher’s claims, form criticism and redaction criticism scholarship in Germany, and literary-critical studies in the United States, have proliferated in the field of “new hermeneutics” (Blomberg 1991, pp. simple simile, simple metaphors, simile story, metaphor story, example story).For if allegory was missing, the Parables found in the New Testament would not have differed to those of the Old Testament, they would have been merely simple illustrations (e.g. See, for example, , where Chrysostom explains why the Pharisees did the very opposite to what Christ called the crowds to do: “not only disbelieving, not only not hearkening, but even waging war, and disposed to be very bitter against all” that Christ said, all because “They heard heavily.” St Gregory of Nyssa considered “allegorical interpretation necessary at points where symbolism or the words covered a deeper meaning”, and he also accepted the literal interpretation (Stavrianos 2012, p. Stein (1994) beautifully, dedicates several chapters to the form of Jesus’s writings, and the parables, describing him as an “outstanding” and “exciting” teacher; a “personality” who was “authoritative”. Somehow Christ is able to reach out to the crowds who have come to hear Him, using only simple stories they could grasp that were contextually set in everyday life. In the Gospel of John, Christ’s parables are presented using hypostatic language.43) Even St Basil of Caesarea wrote in the Hexaemeron VIII.2 (PG 8), as quoted by Stavrianos (2012, p. He continues to describe that Christ used certain devices of language to attract attention from his audience, including exaggeration, hyperbole, ‘paronomasia’ (i.e.44), wrote: “to take [just] the literal sense and stop there is to have the heart covered by the veil of Jewish literalism.”In 1888 Adolf Jülicher's two volume seminal work, was a major influence against the centuries-old tradition of allegorical interpretation of the Parables of Christ. pun), simile, metaphor, riddles, paradox, fortiori statements, synonymous parallelism, and more (Stein 1994, pp. The whole topic has become somewhat of a minefield if the critic is drawn in to the details of labelling.Christ questions him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things? And again, “if I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? Compare this passage of Scripture with “all things come in parables” (Mark ). 15) noted, “as the allegory proceeds, the interpretation proceeds hand-in-hand with that, or, at least never falls far behind.” There is also strong speculation that the allegorical method, was already popularised through the heroes of Homer, making it a “ready-made tool” which could be applied to the Scriptures (Stein, 1981, p. In many ways, Christ is delivering an ethical discourse using guiding principles, without well-defined direct commandments as found in the Old Testament, prevalent in Exodus 20:1-17 with the words “You shall not” and also in the exhaustive ritual, legal and moral practices described in Leviticus. Auden has so magnificently put it: “You cannot tell people what to do, you can only tell them parables; …particular stories of particular people and experiences, from which each according to his immediate and peculiar needs may draw his own conclusions” (Bozorth 2005, p. Christ’s parables are unique and allow for flexibility in allegorical interpretation throughout the ages, which is what makes them so accessible.John’s form of “parables” are recorded using a different style, to emphasise one’s personal relationship with Christ, and demonstrate that the faithful need spiritual eyes and ears to comprehend the multiple layers of meaning in the parabolic method we find in the Synoptic Gospels (Orthodox Study Bible 1993, p. Certainly the early church fathers interpreted the parables using the allegorical method (Stein 1981, p. And this method gained momentum over time and geographical expanse (Table 2). Rather, Christ uses non-coercive language to bring the listener (and later, the reader), to a point in the transmission of the word (and later, text) to a point of realisation, if their heart is open to the message of Christ. In John’s Gospel, when the language of the “person” is instituted, and typological characters are presented to us in dialogue with Christ, every Christian is being encouraged to develop a deeper relationship with Christ the Son of God through the Parables. It should be emphasised however, that not all of the early church fathers agreed with the extreme use of the allegorical method of interpretation. 47): “Men like Isidore of Pelusium (360-435), Basil (ca. -428), and Chrysostom (349-407) protested against the allegorical method.” Stein quotes Chrysostom who believed it was neither wise nor correct: “to inquire curiously into all things in parables word by word but when we have learnt the object for which it was composed, to read this, and not to busy oneself about anything further.” And Papadopoulos (1999, p.