Pearls, Prodigals, and Samaritans
Story telling is a basic form of human communication, and the parables of Jesus -- brief narratives designed to challenge, to indict, and to inspire, and to do so often in humorous or satirical ways -- are among the best examples. Hearing the parables through first-century Jewish ears allows us to recover their original provocation and punch, and so to understand better what they might say to listeners today from various religious traditions.
Amy-Jill Levine, is University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies, E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of New Testament Studies, and Professor of Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt Divinity School and College of Arts and Science in Nashville, TN. Holding the B.A. from Smith College, and the M.A. and Ph.D. from Duke University, she has honorary doctorates from the University of Richmond, the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest, the University of South Carolina-Upstate, Drury University, and Christian Theological Seminary. Her recent books include The Meaning of the Bible: What the Jewish Scriptures and the Christian Old Testament Can Teach Us (co-authored with Douglas Knight) and The Jewish Annotated New Testament (co-edited with Marc Brettler). A self-described Yankee Jewish feminist, Professor Levine is a member of an Orthodox Synagogue in Nashville Tennessee, although she is often quite unorthodox.