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What is that “second narrative” that Anderson discovers

What is that “second narrative” that Anderson discovers

Constructing A ” Second Narrative

WEEK 1 – CONSTRUCTING A “SECOND NARRATIVE”

Joseph and the Passion of our Lord (Anderson, 2003) [PDF]

Uncovering a Second Narrative (Steinmetz, 2003) [PDF]

Steinmetz (2003) spoke of finding a “second narrative” within the biblical text, and Anderson (2003) did just that. In four to five paragraphs, respond to the following questions:

What is that “second narrative” that Anderson discovers?

What is his method in uncovering this “second narrative” and how does this relate to what Steinmetz says?

Is Anderson’s reading of Joseph persuasive?

Is his methodology credible or merely idiosyncratic and arbitrary?

Support your statements with evidence from the Required Studies and your research.

Click here for information on course rubrics.

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INTRODUCTION

Introduction to Parabolic Literature

As Buechner (1977, p. 63) suggested in the quotation above, many people believe that parables must only be interpreted in one way, and that way is, pious, godly, and in accordance with church doctrine. While many do lend themselves to just such an interpretation (and just because it is “church doctrine” does not mean that it is wrong), others tend to upend our preconceived notions as to what constitutes proper teaching. At different times, Jesus praised a dishonest manager (Luke 16), called into question the righteousness of an apparently obedient son who stayed home to do his father’s will (Luke 15), said that teaching in parables is to confuse those on the outside “lest they should turn and be forgiven” (Mark 4:12), questioned the religiosity of the “good” religious people (Luke 10), and so on. There is a distinct polyvalence to Jesus’ parables such that, even when Jesus gives the interpretation, they remain flexible in meaning and in application. Jesus’ parables defy easy categorization and urge the interpreter on to deeper understanding, a depth immersion in the waters of the biblical narrative in order to begin to apprehend what Jesus is teaching.

As we will discover in our studies, there are interpreters who describe the process of reading the parables well as that of constructing a “second narrative” or story to make sense of the first narrative of the parable (Steinmetz, 2003). This involves an understanding that interpretation consists of the construction of meaning in a text; meaning is not simply “found” or “discovered.” Rather, the process of understanding texts such as parables is much more complicated than that. It involves a complex interaction of the words on the page and their possible meanings along with the formation of the interpreter’s imagination. The interpreter’s lenses play a major role in the construction of meaning. This does not mean that anything goes, because words on a page provide the basic semantic sense that could be settled, at least in theory, by those reasonably skilled in the language. Of course, this does not get the interpreter very far. To be able to understand only what servant, son, talent, or Samaritan mean in semantic terms does not yet give an insight into the meaning of a test, such as a parable, as a whole. Rather, one must situate the meaning of the words in a larger narrative, and this narrative is mostly implicit. Parables force the construction of this “second narrative” explicitly as they are incomprehensible without it. This also means that they serve as a powerful entrée into understanding how we understand any text, fiction or non-fiction, religious or non-religious. By learning to be a good reader of parables, the student is, at the same time, learning what it means to read deeply and is being trained in how to interpret texts. Such a training is of benefit to anyone who reads, but especially to teachers who focus on what trains minds to comprehend best the world around them, especially the world of books.

In this first week, you will explore some of the theory behind what it means to closely interpret religious texts, parables included. This is the function of the first discussion assignment where Steinmetz (2003) explicitly discussed the “second narrative” of interpretation and how it functions. Anderson (2003), then, serves as an exemplar of this type of interpretation with his reading of Joseph vis-à-vis Jesus. The assignment for the week brings us closer to the background of the parables as a distinct sub-genre and details two different ways of interpreting them that will be with us throughout the class–those of Capon (2002) and Snodgrass (2018). Both will be helpful guides on this journey.

References

Anderson, G. (2003). Joseph and the passion of our Lord. In E. Davis & R. Hays (Eds.), The art of reading scripture (pp. 198-215). Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing.

Buechner, F. (1977). Telling the truth (p. 63). New York, NY: Harper & Row.

Capon, R. F. (2002). Kingdom, grace, judgment: Paradox, outrage, and vindication in the parables of Jesus. (2nd ed.). Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing.

Snodgrass, K. (2018). Stories with intent: A comprehensive guide to the parables of Jesus. (2nd ed.). Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing.

Steinmetz, D. (2003). Uncovering a second narrative. In E. Davis, & R. Hays (Eds.), The art of reading scripture (pp. 54-68). Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing.

WEEKLY OBJECTIVES

Through participation in the following activities, the candidate will:

Explore the peculiar worldview of Christianity.

Constructing a “Second Narrative”

How Should Jesus’ Parables Be Read?

Analyze religious speech in new ways in relation to the historical figure of Jesus, and Christianity.

Constructing a “Second Narrative”

How Should Jesus’ Parables Be Read?

Evaluate the complexity, depth, and communicative power of parables/narrative in his or her own culture or other cultures.

Constructing a “Second Narrative”

How Should Jesus’ Parables Be Read?

Examine the rich diversity within approaches to sacred text.

Constructing a “Second Narrative”

How Should Jesus’ Parables Be Read?

 

REQUIRED STUDIES

The following materials are required studies for this week. Complete these studies at the beginning of the week and save these weekly materials for future use.

Kingdom, Grace, Judgment (Capon, 2002)

Part 1: Parables and the Paradox of Power

Stories with Intent (Snodgrass, 2018)

Introduction to the Parables of Jesus

Parables in the Ancient World

Read

Joseph and the Passion of our Lord (Anderson, 2003) [PDF]

Uncovering a Second Narrative (Steinmetz, 2003) [PDF]

IRB CITI Training Instructions (Cu-p IRB, 2015) [PDF]

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What is that “second narrative” that Anderson discovers
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