The Gospel of Mark – Chapter 4, pt.1

We covered a lot of material last week to catch up on the schedule. This week we will be looking at the parables in Mark 4.  Please read through these parables carefully as if you were reading them for the first time. Think through why Jesus speaks in parables to the crowd and how there are different ways of interpreting the parables.  For a good overview of the nature and purpose of the parables, please read Johnson pp. 171-73 and the attached excerpt from Frank Kermonde’s book The Genesis of Secrecy (pp.23-47).  Both Johnson and Kermonde tell us that in Mark, Jesus’ parables are intended to confound and not to instruct, to hide the truth and not to disclose the truth “lest (the outsiders) should turn again and be forgiven.” Mark 4:12.  In particular Kermonde sees the parables as enigmatic riddles, more in the nature of the Riddle of the Sphinx than a story whose teaching is self-evident.  Kermonde says that parables operate with “radiant obscurity” in their simultaneous proclamation of the truth like a herald and concealment of the truth as an oracle.  In reading through these parables, try to find these radiant obscurities.

Dinner is at 6.  The menu is meatloaf. Discussion about 6:45. Hope to see you here and please bring a friend.  

The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, propound a riddle, and speak a parable to the house of Israel; say, Thus says the Lord God . . . .”

Ezekiel 17:1-2

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