You are on page 1of 22

Seeking and Saving What Might Have Been Lost: Luke's Restoration of an Enigmatic Parable Tradition

Nashotah House Theological Seminary Nashotah, Wl 53058

WITHOUT QUESTION, Luke's Gospel is the most prolific extant source for parables attributed to Jesus. If the corpus of parables totals not more than three dozen, only about ten of these are not found in Luke, and at least fourteen parables are found only there.1 ApartfromLuke, about 40 percent of the extant parable tradition would be unknown to usand not just any parables, but the parables that for The number of parables is counted differently depending on the working definition of parable and the sources considered relevant For example, R W Funk et al {The Parables of Jesus Red Letter Edition [Sonoma, CA Polebridge, 1988]) count thirty-three parables, John R Donahue (The Gospel in Parable Metaphor, Narrative, and Theology in the Synoptic Gospels [Philadelphia Fortress, 1988]), limited to the canonical texts, counts thirty-one, and Bernard Brandon Scott (Hear Then the Parable A Commentary on the Parables ofJesus [Minneapolis Fortress, 1989]) counts thirty-one At least fourteen parables are unique to Luke two debtors (7 41-43), good Samaritan (10 3036),friendat midnight (11 5-8), fig tree (13 6-9), place of honor (14 7-11), tower builder (14 2830), waning king (14 31-33), lost coin (15 8-10), lost son (15 11-32), shrewd manager (16 1-8), neh man and Lazarus (16 9-31), unworthy servants (17 7-10), judge and widow (18 1-8), Phansee and toll collector (18 9-14) Additionally, the parable of the neh fanner is paralleled only in the Gospel of Thomas (Luke 12 16-21, Gos Thorn 63), and the parables of the banquet (14 16-24) and pounds (19 12-27, esp w 12,14-15a, 27) are at least arguably independent of Matthew's versions Canonical parables not found in Luke include the following seed growing secretly (Mark 4 26-29), weeds and wheat (Matt 13 24-30, cf Gos Thorn 57), treasure in a field (Matt 13 44), pearl of great pnce (Matt 13 45-46, cf Gos Thorn 76), dragnet (Matt 13 47-50), unforgiving slave (Matt 18 23-25), vineyard workers (Matt 20 1-16), two sons (Matt 21 28-32), ten maidens (Matt 25 1-13)




scholar and layperson alike tend to epitomize the genre, such as the good Samaritan, the prodigal son, the unjust steward, and the persistent widow. For all of these and several more, we have the author of Luke's Gospel to thank. It is sobering to imagine the history of parable studies apart from this Gospel. Nonetheless, in the eyes of many interpreters, Luke's transmission of these traditions has come at a dear cost.2 If Luke has conserved elements of an authentic Jesus tradition, he has at the same time beset these parables with interpretations and applications that many regard as patently artificial. For example, his hamfisted introductions in which he reveals the punch line before getting to the joke (18:1,9) would earn him low marks in a homiletics course, never mind a creative writing course. Indeed, if scholars are grateful for Luke's material, they still insist that he turn over the books while they relieve him of his hermeneutical stewardship. How do we account for this curious Lucan legacy? What sort of parables has the evangelist woven into his story? What has the author done to them that they might become serviceable for his overall project? To consider such questions, I first note certain general traits shared among the parables as they are found in Luke's Gospel. Then at greater length I explore the patterns of Lucan interpretation by which these parables become constituent of his larger narrative. I conclude by considering how both the shared traits of the parables and the interpretive methods Luke employs might explain each other, concluding that the shape of the Lucan parables is best explained neither by thoroughgoing Lucan originality nor even necessarily by a single source but by extensive Lucan redaction by which an enigmatic parable tradition is conserved. More particularly, I argue that Luke regarded the parables of his sources as both problematic and salvageable, and that his treatment of the parables is a rehabilitation in which both conservative and adaptive tendencies are evident. I. Characterizing the Lucan Parables There is a long-standing scholarly tradition of treating the parables of Jesus as a corpus unto itself without respect to the parables' location in our extant sources. As a distinctive genre, parables suggest a homogeneity that yields, naturally enough, generalized treatments and commentaries on the whole body of tradition. But, in fact, the homogeneity of the parables is hardly a given, as any attempt to define the genre quickly demonstrates. Moreover, close examination of the parables in their respective Gospels suggests yet another kind of diversity, and several scholars have offered characterizations highlighting the distinctive features

1 use "Luke" as conventional shorthand for the author of the Gospel.

SEEKING AND SAVING WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN LOST 731 of parables in the various Gospels, including those in Luke's Gospel.3 Here I draw attention only to two closely related phenomena. A. Characters in Crisis The plot of nearly every parable turns on a crisis, not merely in the general sense in which all narratives are propelled by conflict, but in a more personal sense as characters face shame, destitution, or judgment, where they must improvise a response. Readings of the parables that located them uniformly in the eschatological proclamation of Jesus have tended to find eschatology in all such crises, but this is probably to impose a single theological rubric upon the parables (to say nothing of the historical Jesus) and perhaps to wring too much theology out of a plot device.4 Moreover, it ignores the fact that this plot device is especially, though not uniquely, Lucan.5 Stephen Curkpatrick hasrightlycommented that the Lucan parables feature characters caught up in the "social and moral vicissitudes of life."6 The protagonists of the Lucan parables tend to come notfromupper social echelons but to be characteristically of modest meansthough not necessarily from the margins.7
Michael D. Goulder, "Characteristics of the Parables in the Several Gospels," JTS19 (1968) 51-69; John Drury, The Parables in Gospel: History and Allegory (New York: Crossroad, 1985); Donahue, Gospel in Parable. With regard to the Lucan material, see esp. Goulder, Luke: A New Paradigm (2 vols.; JSNTSup 20; Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1989) esp. 1. 73-128; D. M. Parrott, "The Dishonest Steward (Luke 16.1-8a) and Luke's Special Parable Collection," NTS 37 (1991) 499-515; Kim Paffenroth, The Story ofJesus according to L (JSNTSup 147; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1997). 4 This is a pervasive feature and an enduring legacy of the pioneering works of C. H. Dodd (The Parables ofthe Kingdom [New York: Scribner, 1961]) and Joachim Jeremas (The Parables of Jesus [rev. ed.; trans. S. H. Hooke; New York: Scribner, 1963]), in which the eschatology of Jesus was considered the central theme and the defining context for the parables. 5 John Drury isrightto notice that crisis is a common feature of the Lucan parables, but he goes beyond the evidence in maintaining that the crises of Luke's parables are invariably early in the story (Parables in Gospel, 112-14). Several Lucan narrative parables have no such crisis (e.g., 7:4043; 17:7-10; 18:10-14a), and some have several at various points in the story (15:11-32; 19:12-27). Even more dubious is Drury's association of this feature with Hans Conzelmann's "middle-of-time" construal of Lucan salvation history. 6 Stephen Curkpatrick, "Parable Metonymy and Luke's Kerygmatic Framing," JSNT25 (2003) 289-307, here 295. 7 In contrast to Matthew's grand scale, Goulder characterizes the Lucan parables as having to do with a "middle-class level" of wealth (originally in "Characteristics," 53-55; also in Luke, passim, esp. 1. 98-99). The claim is true to the extent that Matthew's and Luke's treatments of common parables are compared, but Goulder's own acknowledgment of Luke's interest in "Lower-class Heroes" (Luke, 1. 97) and the significant number of wealthy characters, shows that he has painted with too broad a brush. For a fair critique, see Mark S. Goodacre, Goulder and the Gospels: An

732 THE CATHOLIC BIBLICAL QUARTERLY | 70, 2008 The social location of these characters is such that, if not always victims, they are still vulnerable to the vagaries of life. The Lucan parables are stories of characters in crisis, whether of their own making or imposed from without, including a man robbed, beaten, and left half dead (10:31); a friend unprepared for late-night visitors (11:5-6); a son destitute from wild living (15:12-16); a soon-to-beunemployed manager (16:2); or a widow pleading her case before an unsympathetic judge (18:3). It is not, however, only those of mean social status who face crises in the Lucan parables. A rich man runs out of space to store his crops (12:16-17); a host of a banquet is rebuffed by his invitees (14:18-21); anotherrichmanfindshimself unexpectedly in Hades (16:22-24); a would-be king encounters the opposition of his citizens (19:14); and an owner of a vineyard must respond to tenants who have brazenly rejected a series of servants (20:10-12). With only few exceptions, what all characters share is a moment in which they must deliberate, internally or externally, and act, sometimes creatively.8 B. A Rogues'Gallery A second and not unrelated feature of the Lucan parables is the moral ambiguity of the stories. One of the most arresting and charming features of the Lucan parables is that they arefilledwith an array of shady, picaresque, or otherwise unsavory characters.9 This is the case not only with the parables' antagonists but almost equally with the protagonists. Indeed, a nearly ubiquitous feature of the Lucan parables is that they traffic in moral ambiguity; scarcely any parable avoids it. Surely the most notorious example is the manager who, in an act of selfpreservation, apparently defrauds his master (16:1-8). For this he is commended (v. 8a), prompting understandable dismay in most hearers and inspiring no little ingenuityfromthe ranks of NT exegetes. Although many have sought a solution to the parable that makes the steward's actions more palatable (e.g., that he merely removes usurious chargesfromthe bill) or the master's commendation more intelligible (e.g., that he is commending ironically), it remains more likely that the manager's action is simply shrewd dishonesty.10 Yet this difficult parable is hardly an
Examination of a New Paradigm (JSNTSup 133; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1996) 194201. 8 The feature of crisis is not unique to Luke's Gospel; wefindit in certain Matthean parables (Matt 18:23-35) and in the triple-tradition wicked tenants (Mark 12:1-11; par. Luke 20:9-19; Matt 21:33-46). 9 Goulder rightly notes that these relatively more complex, rounded characters stand in some contrast to Matthew's more one-dimensional, stock figures ("Characteristics," 55-58; idem, Luke, 1. 93-94; cf. Goodacre, Goulder, 166-68). 10 For a survey and assessment of alternative approaches to the parable, see Dennis J. Ireland,

SEEKING AND SAVING WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN LOST 733 exception; rather, it is simply the strongest form of the rule in Luke's Gospel. Similarly notorious are the judge slow to vindicate the widow ( 18:1 -8), thefriendreluctant to save his neighborfromembarrassment (11:5-8), and the retributive host of the banquet (14:16-24), not to mention both of the "lost" sons (15:11-32). Even "good" characters are not unambiguously so. One of the parables' heartwarmingly good characters, the father of the two sons (15:11-32), can still be faulted for his indulgence of the younger and his insensitivity toward the faithful, older son. Likewise, can we not regard the patient owner of the vineyard (20:9-16) as not only long-suffering but also slow-learning and nave, if not even reckless with the life of his son? Similarly, it is presumably not without reason that the citizens oppose the man of noble birth who travels to claim his kingship (19:12-27), nor is there any hint that his slaughter of them at the end of the parable is out of character. Nor are "bad" characters without redeeming qualities. In the same parable, the lazy third servant at least exercises caution with his mna; that his master was a man of good will was apparently not obvious. At the same time, that newly appointed king, iffiercetoward his opponents and harsh toward his failed servant, proves comically generous with his faithful servants (19:16-19). The rich "fool" (12:16-21) is a model of prudence and industry, erring only in his presumption regarding the future (but what else might he have done?). It is hard not to have at least some compassion for the older son (15:25-32), and many strongly identify with him in the face of the apparent unfairness. Even hard-hearted "Dives" (16:1931) has at least enough goodness to care about those he has left behind, while the binary parable of the toll collector and the Pharisee (18:9-14) is perhaps actually told in shades of gray.11 Even the morally unambiguous parable of the good Samaritan (10:30-35) depicts the priest and the Lvite as having a motive, if ultimately disingenuous, for avoiding the beaten man, who to all appearances is dead.12 The charm of the Lucan parables lies in no small measure in this teasing playfulness and indulgence of wry humor, yet the very strangeness that captures the interpreter's attention creates a dilemma when these parables are integrated into a larger narrative that projects its own vision of the good. How does the unjust manager get away with a kind of embezzlement, while Ananias and Sapphira are struck

Stewardship and the Kingdom of God: An Historical, Exegetical, and Contextual Study of the Parable of the Unjust Steward in Luke 16:1-13 (NovTSup 70; Leiden: Brill, 1992). 11 On which, see esp. F. Gerald Downing, "The Ambiguity of 'The Pharisee and the TollCollector' (Luke 18:9-14) in the Greco-Roman World of Late Antiquity," CBQ 54 (1992) 80-99. 12 The fact that the priest is going down ( [v. 30]; in v. 32 presumably implies that the Lvite is traveling in the same direction) means that he is not traveling to Jerusalem for service in the temple. Thus, his avoidance of the half-dead man cannot be justified on the grounds of concern for ritual purity. Still, the fact that the parable draws attention to the man's half-dead state ( [v. 30]) brings this possible motive into view.



dead in judgment (Acts 5:1-10)? Is God to be identified in any sense with the apathetic neighbor (11:5-8), the jaded judge (18:2-5), the retributive banquet host (14:16-24), the indulgent and unfair father (15:11-32); or Jesus with the fiercely vindictive king (19:12-27)? The intrinsic moral ambiguity of the parables that Luke has woven into his narrative makes such questions unavoidable, and, as we will see, Luke does not avoid them. II. Features of Lucan Interpretation I have so far considered certain features of the parables themselvescrisis begetting improvisation and a strong picaresque elementand the obvious problem these aspects of the parables create for a writer whose larger goal is to orient readers into a distinctively Christian existence. With that inherent tension in mind, I will explore the extensive interpretive activity that surrounds and suffuses Luke's telling of the parables, noting especially six disambiguating interpretive practices. A. Interpretive Introductions Of all the evangelists, Luke alone introduces parables with explicit reading directions. The most straightforward are the introductions to the parable of the persistent widow (18:1) and the Pharisee and the toll collector (18:9). Luke introduces the persistent widow with this directive: "And he told them a parable to the effect that it is necessary to pray always and not to lose heart." Whatever the parable's former uses, it is unmistakably now a parable enjoining persistence in prayer. Of course, many have found the parable itself problematic in this regard and its setting in the Lucan context ill-fitting. In particular, it is alleged that the framing material of v. 1 and w . 6-8 does not match the actual content of the parable and that the unrighteous judge is an altogether problematic figure for God. Nevertheless, the contours of Luke's interpretation are not ambiguous; he takes the figure of the judge and his reluctant vindication of the widow to be an a minori ad maius contrast to God's faithful dealings with the elect and the widow's vigilance as a model of persistence in prayer. The function of Luke 18:9 is similar in force. It is often noted that the original listeners would not have been preconditioned to count the Pharisee as a selfrighteous hypocrite and the toll collector as a sympathetic character. This, however, is a claim that can be made only for performances of the parable separate from the one found in the Gospel, for Luke's readers have no hope of identifying with characters differently than they do. Even if the parable lacks any real shock value for Luke's readers, it is still not without some ambiguity apart from the introduction. The parable itself does not disclose why the Pharisee is censured and the toll collector commended. The introduction, however, offers a twofold description of the



sort of people the parable means to correct: "some who are confident in themselves that they are upright and who despise the rest" ( * ). Luke draws attention to the Pharisee's facile confidence in his uprightness as well as his contempt for those he considers his religious inferiors, contrasting the toll collector's innocence of either attitude.13 If Luke's parablethe performance of it in this Gospelis the object of interpretation, the parable is no longer ambiguous, owing primarily to the explicit introduction. Apart from the allegorical interpretation of the parable of the sower (Luke 8:11-15, par. Mark 4:13-20; cf. Matt 13:18-23), these are the most explicit inter pretive clues for any parables in the Gospels. For those enamored of the parables' literary qualities, these preemptive interpretations are not Luke's best moment. The meaning of otherwise open-ended parables is foreclosed upon prematurely, and it can be questioned whether Luke's interpretations of the parables are even the preferable readings. What cannot be questioned is that they are Luke's readings and that he has made what might have been ambiguous not so any longer, that is, for readers willing to follow his instructions. B. The Use of Narrative Audience A strategy even more frequent in Luke's introductions to the parables is to identify the narrative audience of the parable. Although this is not a vital feature of every Lucan performance, quite often the explicit identification so conditions the reader as to become integral to the meaning of the parable. We might classify these in three ways: 1. In a few cases, it is evident that Luke intends the parable to chasten the narrative audience. This is clearly so, for example, with 15:1-2, in which the grum bling of the Pharisees and scribes forms the context for the rejoinder of the suc ceeding parables. Whatever their original function, the parables now clearly function together as an apologetic for Jesus' mission to the religiously marginal, rooting that mission in the love of God, which rejoices in the repentance of sinners (15:7,10,22-24). Likewise, a similar function is served by 19:11, where Jesus "proceeded to tell a parable because he was near to Jerusalem and they supposed that with immedi acy the kingdom of God was about to be manifest." The presumption of most inter preters is that this is a mistaken supposition and that the parable is told to correct it, as signaled by ("therefore he said") in v. 12.14

See John J. Kilgallen, "The Importance of the Redactor in Luke 18,9-14," Bib 79 (1998) A notable exception is Luke T. Johnson, "The Lucan Kingship Parable (Lk. 19:11-27),"


736 THE CATHOLIC BIBLICAL QUARTERLY | 70,2008 2. Several parables are not merely introduced by the mention of a narrative audience but are more explicitly occasioned by a question or dialogue. As with the previous category, it is the norm in such cases for the parable to provide a vivid counterpoint to the assertion or question of the listener. For example, the parable of the good Samaritan is occasioned by just such a dialogue (10:25-29). Although it is often claimed that the parable is not quitefittedto the framing dialogue, tol erable sense can be made of the pericope when it is treated as integral whole.15 In any case, there can be no question that as a constituent of Luke's Gospel, the para ble derives its sense from this context. Similarly, the parable of the great supper (14:16-24) is provoked by a lis tener's exclamation: "Blessed is anyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!" (v. 15). That Jesus' reply is directed specifically toward this character ( , "and he said to him") indicates that the parable is clearly meant as a response to the exclamation, a datum not always fully accounted for in the inter pretation of the parable. Specifically, Jesus treats this confident expression of piety as hubris, insinuating that the guest's participation in the eschatological banquet is no sure thing. To the contrary, already the invitation is being made and those invited are refusing the host's hospitality.16
NovT24 (1982) 139-59; cf. idem, The Gospel of Luke (SacPag 3; Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1991) 292-94. Johnson maintains that the "immediate" appearance of the kingdom is to be identi fied with the proclamation of Jesus' kingship in the following episode (19:38), so that the audi ence's supposition concerning the kingdom is actually correct and the parable is told to confirm it. The interpretation falters on three grounds: (1) His claim that Jesus' parables do not elsewhere func tion as refutations of the suppositions of the audience (pp. 146-48) is not convincing. (2) His insis tence that means "immediately" such that it could be satisfied by events of the succeeding episode (pp. 148-49) misreads the lexical data, which require not a generally soon but a sudden happening. (3) Likewise, it is even more improbable that in 19:11 can be taken to mean "to declare" such that 19:38 is its fulfillment (pp. 149-51). 15 It is noted that the concluding discussion reverses the question from "Who is my neigh bor?" (v. 29) to "Who proved to be neighbor?" (v. 36), and the concluding "Go, thou, and do like wise" (v. 37) is said to turn a paradoxical metaphor into a prosaic example story. Thus, many see evidence here that the parable and frame have been stitched together somewhat haphazardly and at some expense to the parable. See, e.g., John Dominic Crossan, In Parables: The Challenge of the Historical Jesus (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1973) 57-66. In response, it should be allowed that, if redactional, the reversal of the question in v. 36 is one of Luke's better literary and rhetori cal moments, transforming a question that intends to limit obligation by defining "neighbor" as a pas sive category into a question that makes "neighbor" something one might become as a matter of opportunistic compassion. Likewise, only a presumption that parables must be construed as nar rowly as possible will insist that v. 37 has effaced all of the paradoxical elements of the story. 16 The parable functions in Luke-Acts as a salvation-historical summary of the larger narra tive (cf. Acts 28:24-28). Rightly, Johnson, Luke, 232; Joseph A. Fitzmyer, The Gospel according to Luke: Introduction, translation, and notes (2 vols.; AB 28, 28A; New York: Doubleday, 1981, 1985) 2. 1053-54; John Nolland, Luke, vol. 3, Luke 18:35-24:53 (WBC 35C; Dallas: Word, 1993) 752-59; Donahue, Gospel in Parable, 140-46. Alternatively, some have argued that the story

SEEKING AND SAVING WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN LOST 737 In 7:36-50, a brief parable plays a central role in the debriefing dialogue following the "sinful" woman's anointing of Jesus, as Jesus responds to Simon's protest (v. 39) with a parable that redefines the woman's actions in terms of gratitude. Amore indirect and less polemical example is found in the parable of the rich fool (12:13-21), where the parable substantiates the warning against covetousness (v. 15). 3. In several cases, however, the presence of the audience is merely mentioned in passing, and the relationship between audience and parable is at best implicit. If, however, it is the general Lucan pattern to attach some significance to the narrative audience as the setting for the parables, the same might well be inferred in those cases where the function of the audience is made less explicit. Indeed, in certain cases, the inelegance that resultsfromthe abrupt change of audiences suggests just such intentionality. Such is the case, for example, with the parables of chaps. 15-17. Having indicated the audience of Pharisees and scribes in 15:2, Luke makes "the disciples" his audience for the parable of the shrewd manager in 16:1, only to indicate in v. 14 that the Pharisees have been listening in as well. In turn, the Pharisees ("lovers of money" [v. 14]) apparently form the audience of the parable of therichman and Lazarus (16:19-31).17 By the same token, the Pharisees (to say nothing of scribes) dropfromthe scene altogether as Jesus addresses "his disciples" again beginning in 17:1 (cf. "apostles" in v. 5). It appears that for purposes of reading the parables, Luke's audiences are the characters immediately identified as the listeners. Awkward though it may be and lacking in realism, this series of changing audiences is instructive for our estimation of Luke's use of the audience as a strategy of interpretation. His interest in specifying audi enees is didactic; it gives a direction to the parable and directions to the reader to take the parable as a certain kind of discourse. More specifically, three broad categories of audiences of parables are found in Luke: crowds, religious leaders, and disciples. Although a satisfactory demonstration of the pattern is beyond the scope of this study, a plausible proposal is that the parables oriented to crowds call for decision (8:4-21; 12:16-21; 13:6-9; 14:25-35). Those directed toward religious
is not oriented salvation-historically toward the question of inclusion or exclusionfromthe messianic kingdom but rather concentrates on the transformation of the parable's host (Willi Braun, Feasting and Social Rhetoric in Luke 14 [SNTSMS 85; Cambridge/New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995]; cf. Joel B. Green, The Gospel ofLuke [NICNT; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997] 554-63). Although the host is initially concerned only for maintenance of reciprocal relationships, he undergoes a kind of conversion to an inclusive, nonreciprocating vision of hospitality, an interpretation that effectively makes the parable an example story. Among the difficulties with this interpretation is that it fails to account adequately for the parable as a polemical response to the exclamation of v. 15. 17 The fact that the parable is about a "certain rich man" and the Pharisees are characterized as "lovers of money" in v. 14 confirms that the parable is directed toward them.



leaders are characteristically polemical (5:31-32; 7:41-42; 14:7-11,16-24; 15:3-32; 16:19-31; 20:9-19), whereas those addressed to disciples consist of ethical and communal instruction (11:5-13; 12:35-40; 16:1-13; 17:7-10). The question is not, of course, whether the parables transcend these settings but rather as what sort of discourse the parable is to be understood, how the readers' expectations are guided by mention of the narrative audience. C. Aphoristic Addenda A third method of interpretation is Luke's use of aphorisms as addenda to the parable proper, functioning as yet one more a kind of interpretive commentary (e.g., 12:21,40,48b; 13:28-30; 16:9-13; 17:10; 18:6-8; 18:14b). It is often noted that such addenda create difficulties of coherence in the discourse, that the appended aphorisms seem to move in directions different from those signaled by the parable itself. A notorious example is found in the aftermath of the parable of the shrewd manager (16:1-8). Although there is considerable debate concerning the ending of the parable proper,18 most scholars agree that, with w . 9-13, the pericope turns from parable to commentary, even if opinion diverges on the integrity and authenticity ofthat material. It is perhaps not accidental that this most notori ously enigmatic parable is also the parable in Luke's Gospel with the most com mentary appended to it. Verse 9 transparently recalls the central event of the parablethe manager's use of money to secure housing from his master's debtorsand transposes it into a more general application regarding the use of wealth: "And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous mam mon " The sayings of w . 10-13 move in a different direction, however, stress ing themes that are not obviously anticipated by the parable itself. In w . 10-12, faithfulness () is contrasted with dishonesty () and commended, but clearly the parable has exemplified the opposite behavior. Likewise, v. 13 declares the impossibility of serving two masters (cf. Matt 6:24), advocating a detachment from mammon, but the parable presaged no such thing. Almost certainly these the matic disjunctions between the parable and the appended material are just the point: these aphorisms counterbalance the scandal of the parable, clarifying that it is only Interpreters have argued at great length regarding the ending of the parable, locating it var iously as at v. 7, v. 8a, v. 8b, or even v. 9, a question sometimes unfortunately confused with ques tions of authenticity and tradition history. As I argue below, the saying in v. 9 is almost certainly to be taken as the commentary of Jesus on the parable. The question remains whether Jesus' commentary begins earlier and, if so, whether with v. 8a or v. 8b. Given the oddness of v. 8b on the lips of the character of the parable, it is most likely that this should be taken either as a Lucan aside, or, more likely, as the commentary of Jesus. The question remains whether the of v. 8a is Jesus commenting on the parable or the master of the parable commending his own servant. The latter is preferable as anadmittedly surprisingresolution to the story and yields tolerable sense as the resigned admiration of one who has been outwitted.

SEEKING AND SAVING WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN LOST 739 for his shrewd actions (v. 8, "he acted shrewdly"; ), not at all for his dishonesty, that the manager is commended. The parable alone might have allowed otherwise, but just as v. 9 consolidates the parable's application, w. 3 circumscribe it. At the same time, this series of aphorisms is not altogether discontinuous with the parable. There is purpose in the parallelism of the antitheses: with little ( ) with worldly wealth ( ) with another's ( ) with much ( ) (2x) true [riches] ( ) your own ( )

Altogether the parallel structures characterize two contrasting kinds of "wealth," drawing an implicitly eschatological contrast: that which is "little," mere "unrigh teous mammon" (i.e, the currency of the present evil age; cf. v. 9) and belongs to "another," contrasted with that which is "much," "trueriches,"and "your own." These eschatological antitheses prepare the way for the climax of v. 13, in which God and mammon are set out as incompatible masters. If this material forms a safeguarding contrast to the parable at one level, it is at the same time transparent to a central theme of the parable, especially as it has been consolidated in the con clusion of v. 9. In particular, the characterization of "worldly wealth" as "another's" creates a parallel with the parable's story line, in which the manager has made pru dent use of "another's" resources to secure his future. Thus, the material appended to the parable proper is interpretive of the parable on several levels. A second example of this phenomenon is the parable of the persistent widow (18:1-8). The parable proper consists of w. 2-5, which are followed immediately by Jesus' commentary: "Listen to what the unjust judge says . .. ." The function is clearly once again to secure the a minori ad maius interpretation of the parable. If, as the reasoning goes, this judge of dubious character attends to the plea of this widow for whom he has no intrinsic concern, how much more will God attend to the cries of the elect? It is sometimes complained that the frame of the parable is intolerably disso nant with the parable itself, that the parable could not at once focus on the per sistence of the widow, on the one hand, while concentrating on the judge as a character representing God by means of antithesis, on the other.19 This judgment,
Stephen Curkpatrick, "Dissonance in Luke 18:1-8," JBL 121 (2002) 107-21. Cf. Franois Bovon, "Apocalyptic Traditions in the Lucan Special Material: Reading Luke 18:1-8," HTR 90 (1997) 383-91. Curkpatrick posits that Luke 18:1-8 amounts to two incompatible parables: (1) w. 2-5, an unframed parable about seeking justice, and (2) w. 1-8, a framed parable on the theme of prayer in which God becomes the central character by means of allegory. Luke has thus "radically changed the parable [w. 2-5] to an allegory, effectively constructing two stories" (p. 110). Underlying the analysis is a commitment to stark and mutually exclusive alternatives, the necessity of which is far from obvious. Must the parable be exclusively about either the widow or the judge?



however, requires assent to the dubious, if durable, assumption that the message of parables is intrinsically simplex. In fact, there is no reason that one must choose between the theme of persistence in prayer and God's readiness to vindicate. After all, the "frame" in v. 6 describes God's elect as "those who cry out to him day and night" ( ). If the judge is antithetical to God in Luke's a minori ad maius interpretation, it is not so with the widow and the elect; her tireless pleading with the judge over some period of time concretizes the persistence that v. 1 commends and that v. 6 describes with the terminology "day and night." Although questions of interpretation remain for this parable in its Lucan form, the general direction of his interpretation is hardly ambiguous.20 D. The Formula and Lucan Parables A particular method of appending the concluding aphorism is by means of a saying introduced by .21 In Luke, the formula characteristically marks the end of the parable's narrative and introduces the application or commentary of Jesus directed toward the parable's narrative audience. Clearly this is the function of 11:8; 15:7,10; and 18:14. In each case, Jesus supplies a comment that amounts to a concluding interpretation. In 11:8, after the parable is formally left behind, Jesus finishes the narrative by disclosing that, whereas friendship is not enough in itself to motivate the reluctant neighbor, "yet because of his impudence () he will get up and give him whatever he needs." Although both the meaning of and whether it is that of the petitioner or petitioned is disputed, the say ing still intends to clarify the motivation of the neighbor's response.22 Both the parable of the lost sheep and that of the lost coin conclude with , which identifies the celebrations of the parables with the rejoicing of heaven Do the themes of prayer and vindication exclude each other? Nor is it clear how the parable of w. 2-5 in itself offers a vision of the already present kingdom with an "orientation to a just and inclusive community" any more obviously than it is a parable about prayer. 20 Thus I demur from Curkpatrick's assertion that "many commentators have tortuously located the parable's interpretation not with the parable (w. 2-5) but with theframing(w. 1, 6-8)" ("Dissonance," 121, emphasis added). Not only is there nothing "tortuous" about such an interpre tation, but it is presumably what the author hoped to secure. 21 This is a particularly, though not uniquely, Lucan phenomenon. Seven of these sayings func tion at or near the conclusion to a parable (11:8; 14:24; 15:7, 10; 16:9; 18:8, 14); three are internal to the parable itself (12:37,44; 19:26). Even though Matthew is no less fond of introducing sayings with , he uses the formula as the conclusion to parables only rarely (21:31,43; 25:40), and none makes an explicit transitionfromparable to direct speech. In Mark, is never used in conjunction with a parable. On as a characteristic Lucan phenomenon, especially with regard to the parables, see Scott, Hear Then the Parable, 257 nn. 10,11. 22 See Klyne R. Snodgrass, "Anaideia and the Friend at Midnight (Luke 11:8)," JBL 116 (1997) 505-13, who argues persuasively that it is the petitioner's impudence.



over repentant sinners (15:7, 10). Likewise, lest there be any question as to the point of the comparison between the Pharisee and the toll collector, 18:14 deliv ers the verdict: "I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble them selves will be exalted." What all of these have in common is that marks a clear transition from parable to commentary. This appears to be the function also of 16:9 in relation to the parable of the shrewd steward, although in this case the transition to the commentary is preceded by the difficult comment of v. 8b. Whether, formally speaking, v. 8b is to be taken as Jesus' commentary or as a narrator's aside is disputed (see n. 18 above). It is clear that v. 9 functions as an application of the parable, a shift from the homely story to an eschatological register.23 A similar phenomenon is found in 18:8. Since Jesus has already commented on the parable with the explicit intro duction of v. 6 ( , "and the Lord said"), this final saying does not contain a global application of the parable as in the other instances cited, but merely a more emphatic answer to the rhetorical question(s) of v. 7 ("I tell you, he will vin dicate them speedily"), followed by a warning in the form of a question ("Never theless, when the Son of man comes, will he find faith on the earth?"). Two uses of the formula near the conclusion of Lucan parables are disputed and problematic: 14:24 and 19:26. In both cases it is unclear who is speak ing, Jesus as the narrator of the parable or a character within the parable. The Lucan pattern, surveyed above, of using to introduce the applicative interpre tation of the parable would seem to support the former alternative unless that proves to be impossible. Despite its difficulties, this is still the most plausible construal of 14:24, "For I tell you [], none of those who were invited will taste my dinner." The plural pronoun makes a direct address to the servant impossible, and other suggestions present their own difficulties. Although it might be argued that the master of the parable concludes by talking past the servant to include the recently arrived guests,24 this is not only unlikely in terms of the story itself (why would the master want to inform these guests about those previously invited?), but also such a shift of audience internal to a parable is unparalleled in the Lucan use of .25 Some have suggested instead that the master of the parable offers an aside to the parables' narrative audience (or readers of the Gospel?), as if he

23 Although Fitzmyer claims that the "phrase is undoubtedly the mark of an originally sepa rate saying" {Luke, 2.1108), it is not clear that this is the case, given the transparent relation between v. 9 and the story of w. l-8a. 24 Braun, Feasting, 125-26. 25 Luke 19:26 does not provide an analogy, since a plural audience is already in view, whereas 14:23 is explicitly to the single servant ( , ... ) with no wider audience in view.

742 THE CATHOLIC BIBLICAL QUARTERLY | 70,2008 "steps as it were to the apron of the stage and addresses the audience."26 Although we might admire this clever literary solution to the problem, the fact that else where (excepting 19:26, on which see below) signals the interpretive comment of Jesus as narrator suggests that this is yet another example of the same phenomenon. If this concluding saying follows the Lucan pattern, then here also we havefromthe lips of Jesus as narrator of the parable afinalinterpretation of the parable, which, not insignificantly, identifies him with the master of the para ble and thus as the host of the banquet ( ).27 With 19:26, however, we probably must concede an exception to Luke's nor mal use of . It is exceedingly difficult to make Jesus, as the narrator of the parable, the speaker, as if this were a kind of aside.28 Unlike the case in 14:24, the king of this parable has a plural audience to address (the bystanders of v. 24), and their objection immediately precedes in v. 25 ("Lord, he [already] has ten mas!").29 Furthermore, there can be little question that it is the king of the para ble speaking in v. 27. The contrastive conjunction makes best sense as the same speaker's own transition from responding to the bystanders' objection to a statement regarding the fate of his original opponents. Thus, 19:26 is best seen as a Lucan anomaly, and the saying belongs on the lips of the parable's king.30 This survey of Luke's use of suggests the following conclusions. First, contrary to a standard working assumption, it can hardly be maintained with any confidence that these sayings are pre-Lucan or independent units of tradition. To the contrary, in every case the formula introduces material that is either so integral to the parable itself that apartfromthe saying the story lacks a
26 Eta Linnemann, Jesus of the Parables: Introduction and Exposition (trans. John Sturdy; New York: Harper & Row, 1966) 90, followed by John Nolland, Luke, vol. 2, Luke 9:21-18:34 (WBC 35B; Dallas: Word, 1993) 758-59; and Arland J. Hultgren, The Parabled of Jesus: A Com mentary (Bible in Its World; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000) 338; cf. Green, Luke, 562 n. 164. For an extended argument that the speaker of 14:24 is the master of the parable, but the audience is the dinner guests, see Braun, Feasting, 121-28. 27 It is not insignificant that some who insist that the speaker of v. 24 continues to be the host of the banquet also resist on other grounds an "allegorical" interpretation of the parable in general (see n. 16 above). 28 So also Fitzmyer, Luke, 2.1238; and Darreil L. Bock, Luke (2 vols.; Baker Exegetical Com mentary on the New Testament 3; Grand Rapids: Baker, 1996) 2. 1541. 29 Contra I. Howard Marshall, who rather improbably claims that the "reply of the master fol lows directly on from v. 24, as if v. 25 had not intervened" (The Gospel of Luke: A Commentary on the Greek Text [NIGTC; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1978] 708; cf. Nolland, Luke, 3.916-17). Alfred Plummer is more sensitive to the Lucan context, noting that v. 26 is on any account an answer to v. 25 (A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel according to St. Luke [ICC; 5th ed.; Edin burgh: Clark, 1922] 443). 30 The anomaly is probably best explained by recourse to this pericope's complex tradition his tory. Having conflated the parable of the entrusted money (w. 13, 15-26) with the parable of the claimant to the throne (w. 12,14[-15a], 27), Luke has made the story of the entrusted money sub ordinate to (or at least bracketed by) that of the throne claimant, which concludes in v. 27.

SEEKING AND SAVING WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN LOST 743 genuine ending (11:8; 14:24; 18:14), or is so closely related to the specific content of the parable that a prior existence separable from the parable is dubious (15:7, 10; 16:9; 18:8). In this way, the formula is distinguishablefromthe attachment of other free units of tradition onto the parable. It is much more likely (1) that the sayings are Lucan editorial creations (most probably so with 15:7, 10; and 16:9) or (2) that Luke has transformed traditional endings to the parables such that they are now prefaced by , thus putting the definitive interpretation on the lips of Jesus as narrator (so, probably, with 11:8; 14:24; and 18:14). Thus, Jesus, the narrator of the parables, becomes their authoritative interpreter in their Lucan con text. Luke has given thefinalwordliterallyto Jesus. In doing so, he has used the stereotypical formula of the tradition to call attention to an authoritative inter pretation. E. Narrative Collocation A further strategy of Lucan parable interpretation is his pattern of collocating parables in relation either to each other or to the surrounding narrative such that they draw on their context for meaning. Although it has been the habit of parable scholarship to set aside just such settings so that the parable would not be unduly colored by a secondary context, clearly the evangelist uses such settings to his advantage as interpreter of the parables. For example, the parable of thefriendat midnight (11:5-8) follows immedi ately after Jesus' model of prayer (11:2-4) and is equally a reply to the disciples' request that Jesus teach them to pray. Unlike its counterpart in 18:1-8, no separate introduction is needed for this parable to indicate that it is on the theme of prayer. Likewise, the theme of bold petition introduced by the parable is confirmed by the following sayings, which call the petitioner to ask, seek, and knock, promising favorable results. The nave optimism of these sayings as applied to prayer further confirm the a minori ad maius rhetoric of the parable. The same is underscored by a second "parable," which is nearly parallel in structure to thefriendat midnight, the parable of the "evil" father (11:11-12). Both illustrations begin with the question "who/which among you?" ( / ) followed by an absurd scenario in which the petitioned character is unwilling to respond favorably to the request of one in near relation to him. Again, in a minori ad maius fashion, the argument concludes that just as even the most reluctant neighbor would eventually give in, so also even an "evil" father would give what is good for his child. Even more so than with w. 5-10, w. 11-12 are given as an explicitly contrastive illus tration, as the "how much more" of the heavenly father's response is made explicit in v. 13 ( ). In short, the parable of thefriendat midnight is enveloped in such a dense interpretive context that, despite its oddness as an illustration of prayer, its interpretation in its Lucan setting is not hopelessly ambiguous.



The Lucan trilogy of parables in chap. 15 provides a similar case in point. Free of its context as the third of three stories of things lost and found, the com plex narrative of the father with two sons could evoke a broad range of sympathies. The father might be an indulgent panderer, the younger son so repulsive as to be beyond redemption, and the older son so badly treated as to warrant empathy. But having identified the younger son with repentant sinners (15:1,7, 10), the father with the joy of heaven, and the older son with the grumbling scribes and Phar isees, Luke has set in motion an interpretive inertia, both conceptual and affective, that nearly guarantees a particular reading of the parable, a reading that is resisted only by a willful disregard for its literary setting. To these could be added numerous other examples, but the pattern is clear enough.31 At least on certain occasions, Luke has used the simple means of narra tive arrangement to give otherwise confusing or troublesome parables a stable and particular meaning.

F. Interior Monologue I have left for last the most peculiar, and in some ways the most intriguing, feature of the Lucan parables. Six of Luke's parables feature a soliloquy or inte rior monologue: rich fool (12:16-20, esp. w . 17-19), unfaithful servant (12:42-46, esp. v. 45), prodigal son (15:11-32, esp. vv. 17-19), shrewd manager (16:1-8, esp. w . 3-4), persistent widow (18:1-8, esp. w . 4-5), and vineyard owner (20:9-16, esp. w . 13,14). 32 As has often been noted, Luke alone has this as a regular feature of its parables.33

31 For additional examples of narrative collocations in which the parables are interpreted by means of their surrounding context, note the following parables in relation to their narrative set tings: 7:41-42 (7:36-50); 12:16-21 (12:13-21); 12:35-39 and 42-48a (12:35-48); 13:6-9 (13:1-9); 14:16-24 (14:1-24); 14:28-30, 31-32 (14:25-35); 19:12-27 (19:11-44). 32 The prayer of the Pharisee in 18:11-12 might also be counted among the Lucan parabolic monologues, although this depends to some extent on both a text-critical and a grammatical judg ment. The text-critical question concerns whether stands before or after . The former reading allows but does not require the admittedly difficult construal of as a modifier of ("standing by himself). It is probable that the word order ( 7 5 / 1 892 Origen) is an inversion of the more difficult original word order and is an attempt to clarify that belongs with ("prayed these things about himself; so Bruce M. Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament [Stuttgart: United Bible Societies, 1975] 168). In either case, it is probable that should be taken as describing the nature of his praying, more specifically its content ("about himself) rather than its manner ("by himself). The question, then, is whether the prayer amounts to an internal mono logue on other grounds, for which a case certainly could be made. So, e.g., Goulder, Luke, 1.94-95; cf. 2. 668, supported by Goodacre, Goulder, 169 n. 6. 33 Extensive treatments include Philip Sellew, "Interior Monologue as a Narrative Device in the Parables of Luke," JBL 111 (1992) 239-53; and Bernhard Heininger, Metaphorik, Erzhlstruk-



That this phenomenon is almost unique to Luke's parables raises an obvious question: Are these interior monologues owed to a Lucan source, a sign of Lucan 34 redaction, or evidence that the evangelist created the parable? Those who have thought about the question are divided, but I suggest that substantial Lucan redac tion is the best explanation of the phenomenon. The fact that three of the six para bles are at least partially paralleled elsewhere, allows some, albeit not an extensive, 35 basis for observing the Lucan pattern. The parable of the rich farmer (12:16-20) is substantially paralleled by a logion from the Gospel of Thomas (63): Jesus said: There was arichman who had many possessions. He said, "I will use my possessions to sow and reap and plant, tofillmy barns withfruit,that I may have need of nothing." These were his thoughts in his heart; and in that night he died. He who 36 has ears, let him hear. The differences with the Lucan account are instructive and cumulatively significant: (1) Unlike in the Lucan parable, there is no hint of crisis whatsoever in this parable. The rich man is not confronted with the problem of where to store his excess crops; there is no tearing down and rebuilding of storage barns. Like wise, the speech of the farmer in Thomas lacks any of the characteristic Lucan deliberation whereby characters improvise their response to crisis. (2) Whereas in Thomas the speech itself is not introduced as explicitly internal, in the Lucan account it is unambiguously so ( , "he pondered within himself, saying").37 (3) Beyond that, unlike the Lucan soliloquy, the speech in the Thomas version betrays no selfishness of motive and is presumptuous, if at all, only retrospectively in light of the suddenness of the rich man's death. By con trast, Luke's character turns out to be a fool, not only because he presumed upon the future but because his motives for building larger barns were all transparently self-aggrandizing.38 This is not the place to engage the vexed question of the tur und szenisch-dramatische Gestaltung in den Sondergutgleichnissen bei Lukas (NTAbh 24; Mnster: Aschendorff, 1991). 34 That the monologues point to a Lucan source is held by most (e.g., Paffenroth, Story of Jesus, 98-99; Scott, Hear Then the Parable, 129-30; Parrott, "Dishonest Steward," 509-10). Sellew ("Interior Monologue," 251) concludes that "interior monologue is a signature device of Luke the author." Yet some others see the soliloquy as a sign pointing toward the Lucan composition of entire parables (e.g., Goulder, Luke, 1. 94-95; Drury, Parables in Gospel, 141-43). 35 Since Luke 12:45 is only the briefest of an interior monologue ( ) and is a very close parallel to Matt 24:48, it provides very little insight with regard to the Lucan tendency. 36 The translation isfromNTApoc, 1.125. 37 It is true that the speech is concluded with this commentary, "These were the things he was thinking in his heart." The relevant point is merely that the version in the Gospel of Thomas does not introduce the speech as a monologue; the logion merely describes it after the fact as the expres sion of his thoughts. Cf. Sellew, "Interior Monologue," 244-45. 38 Many have noted not only thefirst-personverbs ( [2x], , [2x], ,



relative primitiveness of the Thomas logia, but in this particular instance there is reason to think that the parable Luke found in the tradition might have borne some resemblance to the Thomas parable and that Luke is responsible for the enhance ment of the monologue of w . 17-19.39 The most significant comparative material is found in the parable of the vine yard owner (Mark 12:1-11; par. Luke 20:9-19; Matt 21:33-46). Here, once again, we observe that Luke has made Mark's version of the story into a more explicit monologue, using characteristic Lucan language. Mark 12:6 . He sent him last to them, saying, "They will respect my son." Luke 20:13 ; . Then the master of the vineyard said, "What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they respect him." Although it is possible to count Mark's four words, , as a sort of internal monologue, it is altogether negligible as such. By contrast, Luke has enhanced his source in a variety of ways: (1) For Mark's four words, Luke has eleven. (2) He has added an element of deliberation with his character istic ; (cf. 12:17; 16:3), and the vineyard owner answers his own question with his decision to send his son. (3) His action of sending the son is placed into the monologue rather than narrated outside of it. (4) His addition of ("prob ably," "perhaps") adds an element of uncertainty and realism, suggesting one who is making his best response to a crisis but without any assurance as to the results. Luke's redaction of Mark in this example, where the treatment of his source is directly observable, is suggestive of his method more generally. At the very least, it can be said that Luke is interested in enhancing the internal monologue of the parable when he finds it in his source, making it more explicitly internal, more deliberative, and a more transparent lens for the motives of the character involved. It is further quite plausible that Luke has elsewhere, as here, shifted material that originally was narrated outside the monologue and relocated it within the soliloquy. It is impossible to know the origin of the interior monologues with anything approaching certainty. Nonetheless, from the comparative material available, lim ited though it may be, there is good reason to think that Luke has characteristi, ) but also the fourfold repetition of , including (!), when in fact his soul/life belongs to God. 39 Cf. Sellew, "Interior Monologue," 245 n. 16.

SEEKING AND SAVING WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN LOST 747 cally augmented the interior monologue that he found in his source or that he has transformed raw material that might work as a monologue into such. Although it is not impossible that in some cases the monologue is altogether redactional, this claim falls short of demonstration.40 As evidence against substantial Lucan redaction, it might be argued that Luke otherwise shows negligible interest in the soliloquy as a literary form (Luke 1:25; 7:39; Acts 12:9; cf. Luke 22:39-46) and even misses opportunities to use the technique where it might have been convenient to do so in a parable (e.g., 10:30-35; 14:16-24) or elsewhere in the narrative (cf. Luke 8:43-44 to Mark 5:28 and Matt 9:21).41 The force of this observation, however, is muted or even reversed if Luke has particular reasons for employing monologue in the parables, that is, if the soliloquy is part of a larger strategy to disambiguate an otherwise enigmatic tradition. If this is so, then the relative paucity of interior monologue outside of the Lucan parables is not an argument against Lucan redaction in the parables as much as it might be an indication of the nature of the parable tradition itself. What, then, is the effect of these interior monologues? What do they accomplish? As many have noted, the interior monologue is typically a response to crisis and provides the opportunity for deliberation and resolution in the face of trouble. The primary function of the interior monologues, then, is characterizationto disclose motives behind actions.42 The vineyard owner sends his son with the hope of overcoming the antagonism of his tenants, but he is under no illusion that this last resort will succeed. Neither are the actions of the prodigal son, the unjust manager, and the unjust judge motivated by goodness, nor do they suggest a kind of moral conversion. It is a simple matter of enlightened self-interest in every case. The prodigal comes to realize that swallowing pride will be a way to swallow food; the monologue tells that he has no expectation of the kind of reception he will receivefromhis father. The manager betrays no pretense that his calculated actions
It is notable that the language in several of the parabolic monologues is of a piece with the narrating language of the parable itself. In the parable of the lost son, the speech of the monologue in 15:18-19 is repeated nearly verbatim in w. 20a and 21, with the father's actions breaking in the middle (v. 20b). The shrewd manager's motive for creative accounting (16:4b) is echoed by the application of the parable (v. 9b) with only natural contextual alterations to the language. And with the parable of the persistent widow, the judge repeats in his interior monologue the character assessment already assigned to him in 18:2, that he "neither feared God nor respected people," so as to clarify that his vindication of the widow has nothing to do with some kind of transformation of character. Although this observation falls short of demonstrating that the soliloquies are thoroughgoing Lucan redaction, it points to a high degree of redactional activity. 41 Cf. Sellew, "Interior Monologue," 249-51. 42 Sellew suggests that the narration by Jesus of the internal thoughts of parabolic characters is a means by which Luke "portrays his hero's special virtues of discernment and illumination" and is "able to characterize his hero with specially sharp and penetrating insight" ("Interior Monologue," 252,253). It is hard to see, however, how revealing the inner thoughts of transparently fictional characters quite accomplishes this.

748 THE CATHOLIC BIBLICAL QUARTERLY | 70,2008 are actually virtuous in any way.43 Likewise, the beleaguered judge has no pity for the widow and no interest in abstract ideals ofjustice. He wants to be rid of her and the blight she is upon his reputation. Meanwhile, the farmer, who might otherwise have been admired for his foresight and industry, is cast in a negative light by means of the monologue. Ironically, then, the soliloquies make the parabolic characters more palpably human, more vulnerable, and more ambivalent, but as the characters become more complex, the parable as a whole becomes less so by means of the same mono logue. By making the characters' motives transparent, Luke lets readers see the actions for what they are and the characters for who they are. We are thus under no obligation to redeem, excuse, or otherwise apologize on behalf of the parables' rascals nor to make their necessity our virtue. Nor need wefinda wholesale depic tion of God in the ironic ciphers who play the part. If the Lucan performance of these wry slices of life charm and disarm, they do not mean ultimately to confuse. III. Conclusions and Implications I have argued that a distinguishing feature of the Lucan parables is their star tling employment of characters of questionable rectitude who respond to crises with dubious virtue. Luke's parabolic characters resist binary labels as "good" or "bad." Not a few, but indeed most, of the Lucan parables are beset with this moral ambiguity. This is the enigmatic parable tradition that Luke inherited. I have further argued that Luke's treatment of the parables is marked by exten sive interpretive redaction, including (1) explicitly interpretive introductions; (2) implicitly interpretive introductions that specify the audience or cast the para ble in a context of dialogue; (3) aphoristic addenda that further explain, qualify, or limit the parable's meaning; (4) the use of the formula to emphasize the parable's referents and meaning; (5) the collocation of the parables with other para bles or other narrative materials to contextualize the parable's intention effectively; (6) interior monologue, which discloses motives of characters in the parable. It is further noted that most of the parables employ not merely one of these redactional methods but several. In conclusion, I suggest three implications from this survey: 1. This analysis of Lucan interpretive activity tells us something about both Luke and the traditional materials he inherited. It is evident that Luke is anything but a passive tradent. At the same time, the variety, extent, and ubiquity of his
The monologue in the Lucan performance of the parable defies and renders unnecessary any attempt to find virtue in the steward's actions. He acts out of self-interest; he is currying the favor of his master's debtors because he thinks they can help him. There is not the slightest indication in Luke's performance that he is protesting usury or ingratiating the debtors to his master. He is rather acting on his own behalf.

SEEKING AND SAVING WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN LOST 749 interpretive redaction of the parable tradition are to be taken as evidence not only of his resolve to disambiguate the material he transmitted but also as a sign of the nature of that material. Luke thus indirectly bears witness to the polyvalence of parables detached from performative contexts, even while he set himself to safeguarding his performance of the parables from the same fate. Luke is a conservator of a tradition so enigmatic that it required an abundant supplement of interpretive coordinates. 2. Although the simplest and perhaps still the best explanation for Luke's preponderance of parable material remains the supposition of a Lucan Sondergut, it cannot be ruled out that some, perhaps several, of the "Lucan" parables were no less available to the other evangelists. It may be that they were found too awkward and difficult, perhaps even at cross-purposes with a larger ethical or theological vision, and, lacking the Lucan resolve and creativity to clarify and circumscribe the more difficult parables, the other evangelists set them aside, preferring those parables that were more transparent to their vision of salvation history and ethics. It is now impossible to assess the Synoptic Problem as if all that remained was to offer refinements on the four-source hypothesis. If Q is no longer an "assured result" of NT criticism, how much more is it the case with L? We are left to wonder how much of "L" was "Q." 3. That Luke was at times heavy-handed and none too subtle in his treatment of the parables is substantiated in the foregoing analysis. At the same time, the charge that he domesticated a shrewd and polyvalent Jesus tradition does not sufficiently acknowledge that it is precisely in these now domesticated parables that the creative genius of Jesus is still recognized. Indeed, it might even be argued that if Luke has domesticated the parables, softening their sharper edges, tying up their looser ends, he has still offered the NT's most radical and decentering picture of Jesus. In fact, it might not be too much to say that Luke sacrificed the radicality of the parables for the radicality of his protaganist, the character in the story who is free to tell these befuddling stories precisely because the narrator mediates and safeguards his intention.

^ s
Copyright and Use: As an ATLAS user, you may print, download, or send articles for individual use according to fair use as defined by U.S. and international copyright law and as otherwise authorized under your respective ATLAS subscriber agreement. No content may be copied or emailed to multiple sites or publicly posted without the copyright holder(s)' express written permission. Any use, decompiling, reproduction, or distribution of this journal in excess of fair use provisions may be a violation of copyright law. This journal is made available to you through the ATLAS collection with permission from the copyright holder(s). The copyright holder for an entire issue of a journal typically is the journal owner, who also may own the copyright in each article. However, for certain articles, the author of the article may maintain the copyright in the article. Please contact the copyright holder(s) to request permission to use an article or specific work for any use not covered by the fair use provisions of the copyright laws or covered by your respective ATLAS subscriber agreement. For information regarding the copyright holder(s), please refer to the copyright information in the journal, if available, or contact ATLA to request contact information for the copyright holder(s). About ATLAS: The ATLA Serials (ATLAS) collection contains electronic versions of previously published religion and theology journals reproduced with permission. The ATLAS collection is owned and managed by the American Theological Library Association (ATLA) and received initial funding from Lilly Endowment Inc. The design and final form of this electronic document is the property of the American Theological Library Association.