What is a "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?
Biblical Context of the Parable
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?
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
discussion, but do not fail to bring out any movement in
time, place, scene, thought, emotion, etc.
Please do not simply list the characters, but take the
time to reflect on what each may represent/symbolize. Go through 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.
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?
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.
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 and identify all sources you employed in composing
your Parable Video (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.
In the construction/design of each video much imagination, creativity, and innovation is encouraged. Practically, one may perform/act out the parable either before the group discussion of the parable or after. Or, as seen in the demonstration video, one might pause after each section is discussed and act out that particular aspect of the parable. Further, in addition to performing the parable in its biblical context, one may also want to include a modern version/context.
Each group member should participate in/contribute to the group discussions, citing when possible/necessary from their sources.
Deadline: Tuesday, March 12, 2002
Late videos will be penalized a letter grade for each
Return to New Testament Page