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parable

parable, the term translates the Hebrew word "mashal" —a term denoting a metaphor, or an enigmatic saying or an analogy. In the Greco-Roman rhetorical tradition, however, "parables" were illustrative narrative examples. Jewish teachers of the 1st cent. AD made use of comparisons in narrative form to clarify scripture. As used in the Gospels, the "parable" not only denotes metaphors, analogies, and enigmatic statements, but also short illustrative narratives. In Jesus' parables, the speaker compares an observable, natural, or human phenomenon to the Kingdom (i.e. the rule) of God. Some of these challenge and mystify or even attack the hearer. Other parables are allegories. The major themes of the parables of Jesus include the contrast between the old and new age now dawning in the ministry of Jesus; the necessity of radical decisions; the gradual but sure growth of the Kingdom of God on earth; God's way of relating to people; and God's invitation for people to enter his Kingdom.

See W. S. Kissinger, The Parables of Jesus (1979); R. W. Funk, Parables and Presence (1982); J. Marcus, The Mystery of the Kingdom of God (1986).

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Parable

Parable (Gk., parabolē). A story or illustration of important teaching, used by rabbis and by Jesus, more direct than allegories, and, in the case of Jesus, usually making a demand on the hearers. Jesus' insistence on teaching in parables, implies something about the nature of the kingdom of God. Most of the thirty to forty gospel parables are found in Matthew (e.g. the clusters in chs. 13, 25) and Luke (among the best-known, 10. 25–42, 15. 11–32). For Jewish parables, see MĀSHAL.

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parable

parable a simple story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson, as told by Jesus in the Gospels. Recorded from Middle English, the word comes via Old French from an ecclesiastical Latin sense ‘discourse, allegory’ of Latin parabola ‘comparison’, from Greek parabolē ‘placing side by side, application’. Stories told by Jesus are often referred to by specific titles referring to their subjects, such as the parable of the sower.

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parable

parable (arch.) similitude, dark saying, proverb; fictitious narrative or allegory for teaching spiritual truth. XIV. ME. parab(i)le — (O)F. parabole — L. parabola comparison, in ChrL. allegory, proverb, speech — Gr. parabolḗ comparison, analogy, proverb, f. parabállein put alongside, compare, f. PARA-1 + bállein throw.

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parable

parable Short, simple story intended to convey a moral or religious message. The best-known parables are those attributed to Jesus Christ in the New Testament, including the Good Samaritan, the Prodigal Son, the Sower and the Seed, and the Pearl of Great Price.

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parable

par·a·ble / ˈparəbəl/ • n. a simple story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson, as told by Jesus in the Gospels.

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parable

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