Finding Is the First Act: Trove Folktales and Jesus' Treasure Parable

Overview

An imaginative and illuminating study, Finding Is the First Act places historical thinking in creative tension with literary appreciation. The structures of Jesus's parable of the hidden treasure (Matt 13:44) are examined by mapping its plot options (finding, acting, buying) in view of other Jewish treasure stories and the vast array of treasure plots in world folklore. Startling differences emerge in the plot options chosen by Jesus that point to a new understanding of the directive to give up all one has for ...

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Overview

An imaginative and illuminating study, Finding Is the First Act places historical thinking in creative tension with literary appreciation. The structures of Jesus's parable of the hidden treasure (Matt 13:44) are examined by mapping its plot options (finding, acting, buying) in view of other Jewish treasure stories and the vast array of treasure plots in world folklore. Startling differences emerge in the plot options chosen by Jesus that point to a new understanding of the directive to give up all one has for the Kingdom of God. "Why Jesus' treasure parable? For three reasons that I am aware of. First, . . . the story has always fascinated me. . . . Second, in recent work on parables there has often been a tendency to concentrate especially on the longer parables of Jesus. I wanted deliberately to move in theopposite direction and to give full emphasis to a very short parable . . . . Third, this particular parable, in contrast, for example, to that of The Mustard Seed, does not furnish much grist for the diachronic mill of biblical studies. I was deliberately choosing an item which, in isolation from its Matthean context, could hardly sustain a monograph study along the standard lines of tradition criticism."—from the Preface

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781556358340
  • Publisher: Wipf & Stock Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/28/2008
  • Pages: 150

Meet the Author

John Dominic Crossan is Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies at DePaul University , Chicago. He has written twenty books on the historical Jesus in the last thirty years, four of which have become national religious bestsellers: The Historical Jesus (1991), Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography (1994), Who Killed Jesus? (1995), and The Birth of Christianity (1998). He is a former cochair of the Jesus Seminar and a former chair of the Historical Jesus Section of the Society of Biblical Literature.

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Table of Contents


Preface     1
Theory     7
Expedition: World Treasure Tales     11
Corpus and Method     11
Motif and Motifeme     15
Hiding and Not Hiding     17
Seeking and Not Seeking     22
Finding and Not Finding     26
Obtaining and Not Obtaining     33
Securing and Not Securing     40
Using and Not Using     41
Motifeme and Value     43
Play as Deep Value     49
Finding: Jewish Treasure Stories     53
Jewish Treasure Options     53
Trove Tradition and Jewish Stories     55
Treasure Plots in Jewish Tradition     60
Values in Jewish Treasure Tradition     70
Loss: Jesus' Treasure Parable     73
Jesus' Parable and World Folklore     73
Jesus' Parable and Jewish Treasure Stories     88
The Meaning of Jesus' Parable     93
Works Consulted     123
Motif Indexes     123
Treasure Stories     125
Other Studies     133
Index of Authors     139
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