The subtitle ""historical"" refers only to the language of Jesus, particularly the language of the parables as revelatory of Jesus as he really was. The author studies the form and function of the parables, and, in the latter instance, categorizes them as emphasizing each of the three modes of the Kingdom's temporality: advent (as the gift of God), reversal (of the world), and action. Pervading the book is the author's premise, or at least assumption, that historical reality is essentially parabolic. Many theologians will agree with him -- and they will find this work rewarding, if somewhat loosely organized and a bit suspect in its use of ""noncanonical"" documents. The general reader who expects a ""spiritual"" treatise will be disappointed, for this is a book for specialists in history as well as in Biblical studies.