Thursday, 13 July 2006

A big book

I was thinking of preaching next week on the parable of the tenants in the vineyard (Mark 12:1-12). But when I saw that John Kloppenborg has just written a 651-page study of this parable, I suddenly felt strangely ill-prepared:

John S. Kloppenborg, The Tenants in the Vineyard: Ideology, Economics, and Agrarian Conflict in Jewish Palestine (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2006).


Jim said...

Good grief. How on earth can there be so much for one person to say about such a short passage? And if he can write over 600 pages on 12 verses, what in the world would a complete commentary on Mark look like?

That said, now I'm very curious indeed about what he has to say.

Anonymous said...

I didn't realize you ever took to the pulpit! :-) Are you ordained, or a preaching lay person?

Ben Myers said...

Nope, not ordained -- just a lay person who gets tremendous enjoyment from preaching!

Anonymous said...

That's good, Ben, because some of us ordained folks don't get that kind of enjoyment from being in the pulpit. I'm lucky I'm an Independent Catholic -- eight to ten minute homilies are the norm, so I get by easy. :-)

Anonymous said...

That was hilarious.

Patrick McManus said...


I work at theological bookstore which John frequents. I'll pass on your homiletical woes!


Weekend Fisher said...

On the bright side, if you show the congregation the 651-page book, they'll be really grateful if you manage to keep to a reasonable-length sermon.

Kloppenborg said...

The 651 pages includes an appendix on ancient vineyards, their operations and operational problems. It turns out that the kind of conflict that Mark and Thomas 65 describe wasn't all that unusual. What is interesting is how a parable that Jesus told against the ruling elite became, in exegetical and homiletic history after Eusebius, a story told in support of the status quo. Scripture indeed has a nose of wax, as Luther said.

I cover a lot of turf in the book, but the parable raises many problems--exegetical, source critical, social-historical, homiletical, and ideological


Ben Myers said...

Many thanks, John, for these further details. It sounds like a fascinating study.

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