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Jacob and the Prodigal


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Table of Contents



I: Introduction: What Does It Mean to Call Jesus a Theologian?
1. Jesus as a Metaphorical Theologian and the Rabbinic World
2. The Jesus Tradition and the Question of Authenticity
3. The Importance of Middle Eastern Culture for New Testament Interpretation
4. The Parable of the Prodigal Son and the "Travel Narrative" in Luke
5. The One and the Many in Parabolic Interpretation

II: The Parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15 Compared with the Saga of Jacob in Genesis 27--35: The Setting In Luke 15
6. Three Stories, One Parable: Seeing the Three Stories of Luke 15 as a Unity
7. The Parable of the Lost Sheep: The First Warm-Up Story (Luke 15:3-7)
8. The Lost Coin--And Also Some Women (Luke 15:8-10)
9. To Find the Lost:The Parable of the Two Lost Sons (Luke 15:11-32)

III. The Parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15 Compared with the Saga of Jacob in Genesis 27--35: The Saga and the Parable: Comparisons and Contrasts
10. Jacob Revisited: The Jacob Story in Early Jewish Tradition and in the Mind of Jesus
11. The Great Rebellion: The Family Before the Prodigal Leaves Home (Luke 15:11-13)
12. The Exile: The Prodigal in the Far Country (Luke 15:13-19)
13. Peace for the One Who is Far Off: The Father Finds the Prodigal (Luke 15:20-24)
14. Peace for the One Who is Near: The Father's Search for the Older Son (Luke 15:25-32)
15. Two Dancers in a Single Dance: Reflections on N.T. Wright's Interpretation of the Parable of the Prodigal Son

IV: Significance of this Study for an Understanding of Jesus' Theology
16. A Summary of the Significance of the Comparisons Between Jacob and the Prodigal for Aspects of Jesus' Theology


Appendix: Index of the Various Types of Contrasts and Comparisons


Index of Authors

About the Author

Kenneth E. Bailey (1930-2016) was an acclaimed author and lecturer in Middle Eastern New Testament studies. An ordained Presbyterian minister, he served as Canon Theologian of the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh. The author of more than 150 articles in English and in Arabic, his writings include Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes, The Good Shepherd, Open Hearts in Bethlehem: A Christmas Drama, and The Cross and the Prodigal. Bailey spent forty years living and teaching in seminaries and institutes in Egypt, Lebanon, Jerusalem and Cyprus. For twenty of those years he was professor of New Testament and head of the Biblical Department of the Near East School of Theology in Beirut where he also founded and directed the Institute for Middle Eastern New Testament Studies. Bailey was also on the faculty of The Ecumenical Institute for Theological Research in Jerusalem. Traveling around the globe to lecture and teach, Bailey spoke in theological colleges and seminaries in England (Oxford, Cambridge, Bristol) Ireland, Canada, Egypt, Finland, Latvia, Denmark, New Zealand, Australia, and Jerusalem. He was active as a Bible teacher for conferences and continuing education events in the Middle East, Europe, and North America, and he taught at Columbia, Princeton, and Fuller Seminary.


"Jacob and the Prodigal is excellently written, very readable, filled with a spirit of reverence for the great subject it talks about and replete with the scholarly nuggets of the Near-Eastern expert that nobody else can provide at this time. The novelty of the New Testament as well as its continuity with the old covenant is wonderfully worked out while offering us a captivating reading of the Evangelium in Evangelio. A book with many refreshing discoveries."--Ulrich W. Mauser, Professor Emeritus, Princeton Theological Seminary

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