This volume is a combined edition of Poet and Peasant and Through Peasant Eyes, Kenneth Bailey's intensive studies of the parables in the gospel of Luke. Bailey begins by surveying the development of allegorical, historical-eschatological, aesthetic, and existential methods of interpretation in scholars such as J|licher, Jeremias, Dodd, Jones. Still Bailey sees the need to go beyond them by combining an examination of the poetic structures of the parables with a better understanding of the Oriental culture that informs the text.
Bailey's work within Middle Eastern peasant culture over the last twenty years has helped him in his attempt to determine the cultural assumptions that the teller of the parables most likely made about his audience. The same values which underlay the impact of the parables in Christ's time, Bailey suggests, can be discovered today in isolated peasant communities in Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq.
Because time has made almost no impact in these cultural pockets, it is possible to discern, for example, what it meant 2,000 years ago for a friend to come calling at midnight, or for a son to ask for his inheritance prior to his father's death. In addition to illuminating the cultural framework of the parables, Bailey offers an analysis of their literary structure, treating the parabolic section as a whole as well as its individual components. Through its combination of literary and cultural analyses, Bailey's study makes a number of profound advances in parabolic interpretation.
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Customer Reviews for Poet & Peasant and Through Peasant Eyes
Review 1 for Poet & Peasant and Through Peasant Eyes
Date:November 18, 2009
After reading this book (actually you get two books for the price of one), you will have a much greater appreciation of not only the parables but how scripture was translated from ancient text into our modern day Bible. The first book, Poet and Peasant, really gives you an in-depth look at how Bailey formulates his views on scripture. He goes into how scripture passages are analyzed. This assists the Bible student to better understand concepts and the thought process of the author. It is really dry at times and you will visualize yourself back in a literature course studying the poetic rhyme schemes of ancient Greek literature. To have an idea what Bailey is talking about in this and other books you need this information as a basis. He also gives the reader a glimpse of the 1st Century AD culture and how it affects the interpretation of the parables. In the second half of the book he utilizes the methods described to analyze in detail four parables and two poems (the Unjust Stewart - Luke 16:1-8, Mammoth and God Luke 16:9-13, the Friend at Midnight - Luke 11:5-8, the Fathers Gift - Luke 11:9-13, the Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin Luke 15:4-10, the Father and Two Lost Sons Luke 15:11-32). I would recommend that you read it first then read Through Peasant Eyes which analyzes in detail parables in Luke (The Two Debtors 7:36-50, The Fox, the Funeral, and the Furrow 9:57-62, The Good Samaritan 10:25-37, The Rich Fool 12:13-21, Pilate, the Tower, and the Fig Tree 13:1-9, The Great Banquet 14:15-24, The Obedient Servant 17:7-10, The Judge and the Widow 18:1-8, The Pharisee and the Tax Collector 18:9-14, and The Camel and the Needle 18:18-30). You will be able to relate to the parables as viewed in the times and through the eyes of Jesus audience. This book gives you the foundation for future study and a foundation for better understanding of Baileys other writings. I would recommend reading this book before any of his other works.
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Review 2 for Poet & Peasant and Through Peasant Eyes
Date:March 18, 2002
Bailey is a master at blending diligent scholarship with living human experience. He has spent time actually speaking to people whose customs are similar to 1st century practices. He couples this with attention to other believing scholars as diverse as Semitic academes of the Middle Ages and the best of contemporary research. This is one powerful tool for preachers and passionate students of God's Word.