Chapter

The Sower

Anna Wierzbicka

in What Did Jesus Mean?

Published in print May 2001 | ISBN: 9780195137330
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199867905 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195137337.003.0006
The Sower

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The parable of the Sower is widely regarded as “the great watershed of all Jesus’ parables” (Capon 1985), but its meaning has been disputed, and the parable has even been used (by Crossan 1978) as a prime example of the indeterminacy (or “hermeneutical polyvalence”) of Jesus’ parables. This chapter strongly opposes such claims and it argues that Jesus intended to convey through this parable a clear and unambiguous message that he wanted to be heard (“He who has ears to hear, let him hear”). This message, illuminated by Mark's own interpretation, is explicated in the chapter, in simple and universal human concepts. The chapter emphasizes the irony of the fact that of all Jesus’ parables, it is the Sower that should have been chosen as a “metaparable to deconstruct all parables,” and to attack the very idea of a message intended to be heard and understood.

Keywords: a clear message; hermeneutical polyvalence; Mark's interpretation; supposed indeterminacy of the parable; who has ears to hear let him hear

Chapter.  4341 words. 

Subjects: Biblical Studies

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