Bidnell, David Roger (2012)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.
This inquiry combines consideration of the Context Group’s emphases regarding the honour and shame culture of first-century Palestine with careful analysis of ten narrative parables of Luke’s Jesus in order to allow the proposed cultural setting to form an appropriate background for reading and understanding the stories and, in turn, to use the parables as material for assessing the adequacy or inadequacy of the Context Group’s models. In this way the cultural context is in dialogue with the literary text, the cultural context facilitating a non-anachronistic and non-ethnocentric approach to Luke’s narratives, and the literary text serving as a means to evaluate the stereotypical models often taken as a given starting point for hermeneutical reflection. This exploration demonstrates that the emphasis of each particular Context Group model is often too limited in its scope and frequently at odds with the cultural orientation of the parables, thereby highlighting the value of using the literary text to refine the cultural models in question and to restrict the chances of misleading readings. This study shows how dialogue between social-scientific modelling and careful textual interpretation has the potential to enhance both the understanding of the cultural map and the significance of the written word.
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