Parsons, Mikeal C. 1957- (Mikeal Carl Parsons)
Parsons, Mikeal C. 1957- (Mikeal Carl Parsons)
Born 1957; married Heidi J. Hornik (a professor of art history); children: Lauren, Kelsey; (with Hornik) Mikeal Joseph, Matthew Quincy. Education: University of Wales, B.Div., 1980; Campbell University, B.A. (summa cum laude), 1980; Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, M.Div., 1982, Ph.D., 1985. Hobbies and other interests: Jogging, biking, playing basketball and racquetball, "driving my tractor."
Office—Department of Religion, Baylor University, P.O. Box 97294, Waco, TX 76798-7294. E-mail—[email protected]
Baylor University, Waco, TX, teacher in religion department.
National Association of Baptist Professors of Religion, Society of Biblical Literature, Society for New Testament Studies.
The Departure of Jesus in Luke-Acts, JSOT Press (Sheffield, England), 1987.
(Editor, with Joseph B. Tyson) Cadbury, Knox, and Talbert: American Contributions to the Study of Acts, Scholars Press (Atlanta, GA), 1992.
(With Richard I. Pervo) Rethinking the Unity of Luke and Acts, Fortress Press (Minneapolis, MN), 1993.
(Editor, with Robert B. Sloan) Perspectives on John: Methods and Interpretation in the Fourth Gospel, National Association of Baptist Professors of Religion/Edwin Mellen Press (Lewiston, NY), 1993.
(With wife, Heidi J. Hornik) Interpreting Christian Art: Reflections on Christian Art, Mercer University Press (Macon, GA), 2003.
(With Martin M. Culy) Acts: A Handbook on the Greek Text, Baylor University Press (Waco, TX), 2003.
(With Heidi J. Hornik) Illuminating Luke: The Infancy Narrative in Italian Renaissance Painting, Trinity Press International (Harrisburg, PA), 2003.
(With Heidi J. Hornik) Illuminating Luke: The Public Ministry of Christ in Italian Renaissance and Baroque Painting, T & T Clark International (New York, NY), 2005.
Body and Character in Luke and Acts: The Subversion of Physiognomy in Early Christianity, Baker Academic (Grand Rapids, MI), 2006.
Luke: Storyteller, Interpreter, Evangelist, Hendrickson Publishers (Peabody, MA), 2007.
Mikeal C. Parsons is a New Testament scholar who teaches at Baylor University. Parsons has written on literary theory and biblical studies, as well as collaborating with his wife, an art history professor, on books about paintings depicting Biblical scenes. His first published book was Cadbury, Knox, and Talbert: American Contributions to the Study of Acts, which he edited with Joseph B. Tyson. It is divided into three parts, focusing on the three biblical scholars referred to in the title: Henry Joel Cadbury, John Knox, and Charles C. Talbert. Each section contains an essay about the author's pertinent works, a response to the essay, and a bibliography. Reviewing the collection for the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Stevan Davies wrote: "If you do not read this book you are missing a treat! It can be recommended as a funny, fascinating, and revealing example of the sociology of American biblical scholarship."
In Acts: A Handbook on the Greek Text, Parsons and coauthor Martin M. Culy supply an annotated translation of the Greek text of the biblical book known as the Acts of the Apostles, authorship of which is commonly attributed to the apostle Luke. The book offers "targeted, precise and clear assistance in matters of language, text, grammar and syntax for the student or scholar working with (struggling with?) Luke's Greek in Acts," remarked Steve Walton in Journal for the Study of the New Testament.
Parsons collaborated with his wife, Heidi J. Hornik, in editing Interpreting Christian Art: Reflections on Christian Art, a collection of papers presented at the Pruit Memorial Symposium on the interpretation of Christian art. Hornik and Parsons again collaborated on Illuminating Luke: The Infancy Narrative in Italian Renaissance Painting and Illuminating Luke: The Public Ministry of Christ in Italian Renaissance and Baroque Painting. In the former, they consider four paintings that illustrate the account of Christ's infancy as written by the apostle Luke. They are Leonardo da Vinci's Annunciation, Pontormo's Visitation, Domenico Ghirlandaio's Nativity and Adoration of the Shepherds, and Ambrogio Lorenzetti's Presentation in the Temple. Color prints of the paintings discussed are included in the book, which, in its emphasis on the painters and their work, is more a work of art history than a study of the religious texts. One intent of the authors is to bring new light about the visual interpretation of Christianity to those whose Protestant heritage and tradition has generally turned away from visual works concerning Christ and Christianity.
The authors speculate on what message each of the painters drew from Luke's Gospel account of Christ's infancy, and the ways in which their works might affect the way contemporary Christians interpret Luke's account. The book has five chapters; one on each of the paintings, and one on Luke himself. He is known as a physician, a man who painted pictures of the mother of Christ, and the patron saint of the guild of artists in Florence, Italy. Charles H. Talbert, reviewing the book for Interpretation, stated that the coauthors dealt well with their areas of expertise: "Both bring a specialist's gifts to the part for which each is responsible. This means the quality is consistently high. Although there are parts of each chapter by the one and parts by the other, the chapters read in a seamless way. The writing is clear, the argument easy to follow, the documentation helpful."
In Illuminating Luke: The Public Ministry of Christ in Italian Renaissance and Baroque Painting, Hornik and Parsons take the same approach to a later period in Christ's life. The book is a "stunningly presented volume" that continues the earlier book's mission to foster deeper understanding of the Gospel of Luke, according to David B. Gowler in the Biblical Theology Bulletin. In this volume, the paintings discussed portray the baptism of Christ, a miraculously huge catch of fish, and the parables of the Good Samaritan, the prodigal son, and the rich man and Lazarus. Gowler noted: "The scholarship is impeccable, the discussions enlightening, and the disparate sections of each chapter are necessarily selective so that those sections can be integrated into a coherent whole. Their explorations of the dynamics of text, context, and reception are fascinating. This book is a model of an interdisciplinary approach that provides significant insights as well as posing important questions." Gowler found the entire book interesting, but had special praise for the chapter on the parable of the prodigal son, and the paintings of that story done by Gian Francesco Barbieri Guercino. The artist painted at least seven different versions of the story, and the authors analyze the way the various depictions were influenced by changing social and religious cultures. Hennie Stander, a contributor to the Review of BiblicalLiterature, was also enthusiastic in his endorsement of Illuminating Luke: The Public Ministry of Christ in Italian Renaissance and Baroque Painting. In Stander's estimation, "The topics are interesting; the writing is clear; the arguments are solid and persuasive; the material is well structured."
In his book Luke: Storyteller, Interpreter, Evangelist, Parsons uses a variety of resources to illustrate various facets displayed by the author of the Gospel of Luke. Parson states that Luke should be seen neither as a typical commentary to Luke and the Acts of the Apostles, nor as an introduction to them. Instead, he seeks in this book to consider three roles filled by Luke. He served as a poet and storyteller, filling the role of an ancient bard. He also served as an interpreter of social and religious traditions of pagan, Jewish, and Christian cultures. Finally, Luke was an early evangelist for the Christian faith. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly found Parsons's book worthwhile, although most appropriate for serious scholars who already possess "deep familiarity with new Testament scholarship." A similar opinion was offered by Jean-Francois Racine in a review for Theological Studies. He wrote: "The book is intended for college students, seminarians, and graduate students, whose understanding of the social and literary context of Luke-Acts will no doubt be enhanced by reading [Parson's] work."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Biblical Theology Bulletin, June 22, 2007, David B. Gowler, review of Illuminating Luke: The Public Ministry of Christ in Italian Renaissance and Baroque Painting, p. 80.
Catholic Biblical Quarterly, July, 1993, Stevan Davies, review of Cadbury, Knox, and Talbert: American Contributions to the Study of Acts, p. 634; April 1, 1995, Joel B. Green, review of Rethinking the Unity of Luke and Acts, p. 411.
Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, June 1, 2004, J.I. Millar, review of Illuminating Luke: The Infancy Narrative in Italian Renaissance Painting, p. 1870.
Currents in Theology and Mission, October 1, 2006, Edgar Crayons, review of Illuminating Luke: The Infancy Narrative in Italian Renaissance Painting, p. 418.
Evangelical Quarterly, October, 2007, Julie Robb, review of Acts: A Handbook on the Greek Text, p. 361.
Expository Times, February, 2006, Allen Brent, review of Illuminating Luke: The Infancy Narrative in Italian Renaissance Painting, p. 215.
Interpretation, October 1, 1995, review of Rethinking the Unity of Luke and Acts, p. 426; April 1, 2005, Charles H. Talbert, review of Illuminating Luke: The Infancy Narrative in Italian Renaissance Painting, p. 218; October 1, 2006, review of Illuminating Luke: The Public Ministry of Christ in Italian Renaissance and Baroque Painting, p. 493.
Journal for the Study of the New Testament, December, 2005, Steve Walton, review of Acts, p. 259; Volume 27, issue 5, 2006, Ian Boxall, review of Illuminating Luke: The Infancy Narrative in Italian Renaissance Painting, p. 159.
Journal of Biblical Literature, June 22, 1995, Christopher R. Matthews, review of Rethinking the Unity of Luke and Acts, p. 333.
Publishers Weekly, September 22, 2003, review of Illuminating Luke: The Infancy Narrative in Italian Renaissance Painting, p. 75; October 30, 2006, review of Luke: Storyteller, Interpreter, Evangelist, p. 58.
Review of Biblical Literature, Volume 8, 2006, Hennie Stander, review of Illuminating Luke: The Public Ministry of Christ in Italian Renaissance and Baroque Painting, p. 625.
Theological Studies, March 1, 2008, Jean-Francois Racine, review of Luke, p. 225.
Baylor University Web site,http://www.baylor.edu/ (May 27, 2008), author profile.