Table of Contents
List Page Headings down the left column and the
page on which each topic is found along the right column.
Illustration of Parable
As they say, "A picture is worth a thousand words." Try to
illustrate your parable through a drawing, painting, or
similar technique which expresses your particular/unique
insight into the assigned parable.
Page 1 Introduction
Place your parable within the context of Jesus'
preaching. Recall, for example, how Jesus taught in
many other ways, but that the parables represent a
manner of teaching which especially characterizes his
preaching of the "good news".
Define "parable". Any in the Old Testament? (Note
and Greek etymology). How distinct from fables/tales and other
such literary devices? Why does Jesus teach in parables?
What kind/category is the parable you have been assigned
(i.e. similitude/parable/exemplary story, of the kingdom,
of mercy, etc.)? Are there many of these kind found elsewhere?
Page 2 Context
Larger - Within the scope of the life/ministry of Jesus.
Immediate - Where is the parable situated within this
Gospel? What happens immediately before and after?
How might this context influence the way this parable is
interpreted? Are there other parables close by? How might
they be related to or distinct from the assigned parable?
Audience - To whom is Jesus immediately addressing this
parable? Who are the bystanders? Any larger audience
Unique to this Gospel? If not, in what other Gospels is
this parable found? Is the context dramatically different
in the other Gospels? How does the use of this parable
in other gospels differ? Highlight concrete differences between
the different versions of this parable. Why might these changes
have been introduced?
Page 3 Plot Development
Simply summarize/trace the plot of your parable in your own
words. Is a "tragedy" or "comedy" in the classical sense?
Admittedly, for some this will be a particularly brief
section of the paper, but do not fail to bring out any movement in
time, place, scene, thought, emotion, etc.
Page 4 Character
Please do not simply list the characters, but take the
time to reflect on what each may represent/symbolize. Provide a
comprehensive list of all primary characters and all minor/hidden
or symbolic characters. How do they relate to each other? How
do they shed light on/contrast with each other? If applicable,
anticipate how the characters might have been changed/react in the
future. Regarding symbolic characters, be sure to analyze whether
they are taken from ordinary experience/common life at the time. What,
for example, is a mustard seed? Common or uncommon. Is it really
the smallest of seeds? Or how much in that day was a "talent"? Or
what were foundations of homes really made of in that time/place? Or
describe the place of shepherds? etc.
Page 5 Moral
In context - Each parable can include very rich and diverse
lessons, so be careful not to reduce this section to its lowest
common denominator. Use commentaries, interviews, and
much personal reflection to extract from your assigned
parable all the meaning that you can.
For today - Seek to apply the lessons extracted from the
parable to the culture/attitudes/experiences of today. Is the
parable still relevant? Is the story/image presented in the
parable still effective/understandable?
Page 6 Audience
How do those in Jesus' audience react to the parable? Is it
positively/negatively received? Is the moral lesson understood
by Jesus' intended audience? Do different hearers react
differently? Does this reaction shed further light on the
meaning/intent of the parable?
How do you think most people today would respond to this
parable? Differently or the similarly? Explain.
Page 7 Summary/Conclusion
Conclude by reflecting again (as you did in the introduction)
on Jesus' use of parables in general and on on your parable
in particular. What did you find most interesting/surprising/
disappointing/confusing/ uninspiring? Add any other
personal observations/thought/ comments that you would
like to re-emphasize. Any unanswered questions
remaining? Directions for further study?
Works Cited Page
Be sure to include all sources you employed in composing
your Parable Project (e.g. your textbook, class notes, bible,
biblical commentaries, books, interviews with parents,
priests, teachers, friends, etc.) Ms. Gans will be able to
direct you many useful resources in our school library.
Deadline: Monday, Dec. 6, 2001
Late papers will be penalized a letter grade for each
Format: Devote at least one page to each heading listed above.
You need not completely fill the page with text, but
begin each new heading with a separate page.
Typed, double spaced, and 12 point font.
Do not employ first person singular. Avoid passive mood.
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