Today I started on my next reading project for the gym: Luise Schottroff’s The Parables of Jesus. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2006, originally published in German in 2005 as Die Gleichnisse Jesu. I’ve had it on my bookshelf since May last year when it was recommended to me by someone on the biblical-studies email list, but presenting a paper at SBL Auckland and writing it up as a journal article got in the way of reading it. Unlike the Bird and Crossley book, this one has the potential to have direct relevance to my doctoral work.
It is interesting, well written, well translated and clearly going to make me think really hard. In the chapter I’ve read so far, she takes the story of the Pharisee and the tax collector praying in the temple from Luke’s gospel and suggests the church has had it’s interpretation wrong over a very long time. She argues that other evidence from the time of Jesus suggests that Pharisees of the time did not normally act as the one in the story does – that both the Pharisee and the tax collector were acting out of character. Pharisees would not normally give the public impression that they were the only true believers and tax collectorst would not normally go to the temple to pray.
Hmm. If that’s the case, what do we make of the “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees – hypocrites” of Matthew 23? Maybe I am going to need to read it again, without the distraction of the people and background music in the gym. Expect another review when I’ve finished it.