An updated, fully illustrated guide to biblical parables that distills a wide range of perplexing morals.
Schenck (Priests and Warriors, 2013, etc.) translated parables from Koine Greek for the first edition of this book in 1990 and he’s enhanced these biblical stories with full-color illustrations for this 25th anniversary edition. Each story, often only a page or two long, offers a succinct parable with a spiritual lesson. Many supply straightforward advice that may be interpreted in religious and secular ways; for example, the parable of the 10 virgins in the Book of Matthew teaches that one should always be prepared because one knows “neither the day—nor the hour” that things may happen, including passage into heaven. An appendix provides a glossary of terms from the original Greek, such as “korkous” (a unit of measure) and “talent” (a type of coin). The final section offers an overview of Schenck’s previous works, including his in-depth analysis of the Gnostic Gospels. God, as depicted in these biblical parables, oscillates between anger and reassurance, smiting or soothing his people as they attempt to live according to his ways. A few recognizable parables give well-known stories new emotional depth, such as the tale of the prodigal son that ends with a bold confrontation between a father and his elder child who stayed at home. Other parables address topics fit for ethical debate, such as the implications of equally forgiving debtors who owe vastly different amounts. Although each story ends with a moral, their ambiguity leaves much room for philosophizing. At one point, for example, God casts out a useless slave for lacking faith that God will help him make money. The unclear resolution (“for everyone who has, more will be given...he who does not have, even that which he does have, will also be taken from him”) may cause readers to wonder about the cause of God’s anger. The enlarged text also features hand-drawn illustrations that call to mind coloring book depictions. Overall, these fablelike stories may serve as an introduction for young readers to biblical lessons or as an aid to spiritual rumination for older ones.
Contemplative biblical tales with rough-hewn drawings for readers young and old.