Most books on the parables of Jesus seem to slice away at the biblical text. They parse sentences until a parable's plot crumbles into fragments, or they so domesticate the narratives that they become little more than helpful hints for daily living. If a writer isn't careful, even the best biblical exegesis can render a parable lifeless.
A generation ago, Leander Keck, past dean of Yale Divinity School and Winkley Professor of Biblical Theology, emeritus, at Yale, wrote A Future for the Historical Jesus (1971), a book that proved to be prophetic. Who but Keck could have predicted our past decade's obsession with the history of Jesus?
The Jesus Seminar began making headlines in 1986 as more than 70 biblical scholars voted on which sayings attributed to Jesus in the Gospels probably derived from him and what words were more likely put in his mouth by Gospel writers or early church tradition.
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