The Tenants in the Vineyard: Ideology, Economics, and Agrarian Conflict in Jewish Palestine
Kloppenborg, John S.
Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2006 pp. xxx + 651. €149.00
Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament, 195
Description: John S. Kloppenborg gives a detailed analysis of one of the most difficult of Jesus' parables, the parable of the Tenants (Mark 12:1-12; Gospel of Thomas 65). He examines the ways in which Christians have typically read and mis-read the parable, and places the parable firmly in the context of the practices of ancient viticulture. The author models a new approach to the interpretation of the parables of Jesus. First, he critically engages the history of interpretation of the text, inquiring into the ideological interests that the parable has engaged during the history of its use in Christian churches and in political discourse. Second, he reconstructs the social world in which the parable was first told, in particular the economic, social, and legal aspects of ancient viticulture. He demonstrates that the parable of the Tenants has mostly been interpreted from the standpoint of those who wield social and political power, a strange irony considering the social status of the Jesus of history and the literary uses of the parable. All of the features common to the parable as it is told by Mark and the Gospel of Thomas make it a perfectly realistic story. It is only Mark's editing of the story that takes it beyond the realistic idiom characteristic of Jesus' other parables. The book concludes with a dossier of 58 papyrus documents relating to various aspects of viticulture and agrarian conflict.
Subjects: Methods, Historical Approaches, History, History of Judaism
Review by Richard L. Rohrbaugh
Citation: Richard L. Rohrbaugh, review of John S. Kloppenborg, The Tenants in the Vineyard: Ideology, Economics, and Agrarian Conflict in Jewish Palestine, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2008).
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