Saturday, June 28, 2014

Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes

Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes Cultural Studies in the Gospels by Kenneth E. Bailey.

Executive summary: read it.

You don't need something like this to follow Jesus. The Holy Spirit can point you at what needs doing in your life, and in the end what you do matters more than what you know.

Nevertheless, looking at the parables from within the Middle Eastern culture sharpens the picture somewhat. For example, in Luke's parable of the talents the people don't want the master to rule over them: read "beginnings of a rebellion." The three servants are to use their master's money in an environment where the master isn't well liked.

Imagine a scene in which the Shah of Iran, in his last days in power, summons ten of his servants and tells them "I am going away to take a little vacation. I have $5000 for each of you. I want you to open shops in downtown Tehran in my name... Never fear, I will prevail and return."

The servant who buries the money seems pretty rational--and not loyal enough to take risks for his master.

Bailey is a bit skittish about punishments (as in the fate of the rebellious people here, or the murderous tenants of the vinyard), but let that slide. The situations Jesus was in or described are often more startling than at first appear. Find the book and read it.

1 comment:

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Looks excellent. Wishlisted. Thanks.