PARABLES AND PARABOLIC IMAGES
IN THE GOSPELS
Felix Just SJ.
Thee following list is is a short selection from the St. Michael’s College catalogue. Except for minor changes
(e.g. deleting author dates), I have not edited the list, (e.g., using upper case). Sometimes, the
reference is not complete but enough is there to find the book.
Surveys and bibliography can be found in the HarperCollins Bible Dictionary, The New
Jerome Biblical Commentary, the Anchor Bible Dictionary. Another approach is to open
Amazon on the Internet and search for "parables" or "Jesus and parables" etc.
The choice of material on the parables depends on what level you seek: scholarly, popular,
devotional etc. I include some of each in this list. You may find Donahue or Drury satisfactory
for many purposes.
Donahue, John R. The Gospel in Parable: Metaphor, Narrative, and Theology in the
Synoptic Gospels. 1st paperback ed. 1990.
Barclay, William. And Jesus Said; a Handbook on the Parables of Jesus. Philadelphia,
Westminster Press, 1970. Popular.
Chilton, Bruce. Jesus and the Ethics of the Kingdom. Grand Rapids, Mich.: W.B. Eerdmans,
Crossan, John Dominic. Raid on the Articulate: Comic Eschatology in Jesus and Borges.
1st ed. New York: Harper & Row, 1976.
Dodd, C. H. (Charles Harold). The Parables of the Kingdom. [Rev. ed.]. New York,
Scribner, 1961. Groundbreaking at the time.
Donahue, John R. The Gospel in Parable: Metaphor, Narrative, and Theology in the
Synoptic Gospels. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1988.
Drury, John, The Parables in the Gospels: History and Allegory. New York: Crossroad,
Harrington, Wilfrid J. Parables Told by Jesus; a Contemporary Approach to the Parables.
New York, Alba House, 1975.
Hendrickx, Herman. The Parables of Jesus. Rev. ed. London, England: G. Chapman; San
Francisco, Calif.: Harper & Row. 1986.
Jeremias, Joachim. The Parables of Jesus. 2d rev. ed. New York: Scribner. 1972. Scholarly,
groundbreaking at the time.
Kissinger, Warren S. The Parables of Jesus: a History of Interpretation and Bibliography.
Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1979.
Lambrecht, Jan. Out of the Treasure: the Parables in the Gospel of Matthew, 1991.
Lambrecht, Jan. Once More Astonished: the Parables of Jesus. New York: Crossroad,
Linnemann, Eta. Parables of Jesus: Introduction and Exposition. London, S.P.C.K., 1966.
McArthur, Harvey K. They Also Taught in Parables: Rabbinic Parables from the First
Centuries of the Christian Era. 1990.
Perkins, Pheme. Hearing the Parables of Jesus. New York, N.Y.: Paulist Press, 1981.
Schultz, Charles. There is a Peanuts and the parables publication of some years ago.
Scott, Bernard Brandon. Hear Then the Parable: a Commentary on the Parables of Jesus.
Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1989. Very good, scholarly.
Westermann, Claus. The Parables of Jesus in the Light of the Old Testament. Minneapolis
MN: Fortress, 1990.
Young, Brad. I. The Parables: Jewish Tradition and Christian Interpretation. Peabody
Mass: Hendrickson, 1998.
Below, find a few other suggestions. I am indebted to Richard Myhalyk, SSE, for these
Reid, Barbara E. Parables for Preachers: The Gospel of Mark, Year B. Collegeville, The
Liturgical Press, 1998. ISBN 0-8146-2551-7.
Fresh variety of possible meanings not only for Jesus’ original audience and for the early
Christians but also for contemporary Christians. Follows the order of the Lectionary. Barbara
E. Reid, O.P. Ph.D., is professor of New Testament at Catholic Theological Union.
Dmitri, Archbishop. The Parables: Biblical, Patristic and Liturgical Interpretation.
Crestwood, St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, Tradition Books, 1996. ISBN 0-88141-067-5.
Twenty-seven sections. Examines the Gospel texts and their interpretation by the Fathers and
liturgical texts. Archbishop Dmitri (Royster) is Archbishop of Dallas and the South in the
Orthodox Church in America.
McBride, Denis. The Parables of Jesus. Liguori, Triumph. 1999. ISBN 0-7648-0511-8.
Denis McBride is a Redemptorist priest from Scotland. For many years he has been rector of
Hawkstone Hall, the international center of spiritual renewal in Shropshire, where he has
lectured in New Testament Studies.
McKenna, Megan. Parables: The Arrows of God. Maryknoll, Orbis Books, 1994. ISBN
Megan McKenna, well known for her workshops and retreats as well as cassette tapes,
received her doctorate from the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, California. She has
taught in Chicago, San Francisco, Dublin and Albuquerque.
Hughes, John Jay. Stories Jesus Told: Modern Meditations on the Parables. Liguori,
Liguori, 1999. ISBN 0-7648-0413-8.
Rev. John Jay Hughes, a Catholic priest since 1954, is a noted Church historian. Currently, he is
a priest of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, Missouri.
Ford, Richard Q. The Parables of Jesus: Recovering the Art of Listening. Minneapolis,
Fortress Press, 1997. ISBN 0-8006-2938-8.
Richard Q. Ford, M.Div., Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist in the private practice of
psychotherapy in Williamstown, Massachusetts.
Herzog II, William R. Parables as Subversive Speech: Jesus as Pedagogue of the
Oppressed. Louisville, Westminster/John Know Press, 1994. ISBN 0-664-25355-5.
Uses relatively new methodologies of social scientists and applies them to two groups of
parables: the world of oppression and the challenges of that world. William R. Herzog, II is
Vice President for Academic Life, Dean of the Faculty, and Professor of New Testament
Interpretation, Colgate Rochester Divinity School, Rochester, New York.
Carter, Warren and John Paul Heil. Matthew’s Parables: Audience-Oriented Perspectives.
The Catholic Biblical Quarterly Monograph Series 30, Washington, The Catholic Biblical
Association of America. 1998. ISBN 0-915170-29-9.
An experiment in reading the parables within Matthew’s gospel. There is a deliberate ambiguity
here. Limited to parables in Matthew's gospel. The central focus concerns what happens as the
gospel’s audience interacts with the parables in their present form and in their current placement
within the plot of Matthew’s gospel.
Winterhalter, Robert. Jesus’ Parables: Finding our God Within. New York, Paulist Press,
1993. ISBN 0-8091-3442-X.
Reexamines the parables in the light of our inner search and the many surprising insights found in
the collection of early Christian Gnostic manuscripts discovered at Nag Hammadi. Robert
Winterhalter. Ph.D. is President of Irwin Gregg Divinity School in St. Louis, Missouri. He is the
author of many articles and books.
Walker, Robert Martin. Politically Correct Parables. Kansas City, Andrews and McMeel,
1996. ISBN 0-8362-14409-4.
Retells a variety of biblical parables. Robert Martin Walker is an ordained United Methodist
minister who has written ten books about the New Testament. With graduate degrees from the
Perkins School of Theology and SMU and Yale Divinity School, Walker preached weekly to
congregations in Texas and Connecticut for fifteen years. He is now a full-time writer living in
Capon, Robert Farrar. The Parables of the Kingdom. Grand Rapids, William B. Eerdmans
Publishing Company, 1995. ISBN 0-8028-0605-8.
This first volume of Capon’s trilogy on the parables covers the short, almost one-sentence
parables that occur in the Gospels before the feeding of the five thousand. Among these
parables are the Sower, the Mustard Seed, the Pearl of Great Price, and the Net.
Capon, Robert Farrar. The Parables of Grace. Grand Rapids, William B. Eerdmans
Publishing Company, 1996. ISBN 0-8028-3648-8.
In this second volume in Capon’s trilogy on Jesus’ parables, the author considers the generally
short stories occurring between the feeding of the five thousand and the triumphal entry into
Capon, Robert Farrar. The Parables of Judgment. Grand Rapids, William B. Eerdmans
Publishing Company, 1993. ISBN 0-8028-3650-X.
Capon here discusses the parables of judgment – spoken as well as acted during the last part of
Jesus’ ministry. . Robert Farrar Capon is an Episcopal priest and a free-lance writer who has
written many other books.
Fichtner, OSC Joseph. Many Things in Parables: Reflections for Life. New York, Alba
House, 1988. ISBN 0-8189-0536-0.
Thirty-eight New Testament parables are retold, reflected on and applied to life in the 20th
century. Author, scholar and teacher, Father Joseph Fichtner, OSC holds an STL from
Catholic University of America and an STD from the Angelicum in Rome. He is presently
associated with the Crosier Community in Phoenix, Arizona.