The Talents

Anna Wierzbicka

in What Did Jesus Mean?

Published in print May 2001 | ISBN: 9780195137330
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199867905 | DOI:
The Talents

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This chapter argues that the parable of the Talents is aimed at all people rather than at this or that particular group, as has often been argued in the literature. It points out that as in a number of other parables, Jesus uses the narrative strategy of comparing God to a morally dubious character – here, a harsh and merciless master – while at the same time conveying the message that God is merciful and can be trusted, and that people should use their God‐given gifts with courage and in freedom. The chapter discusses the impact of the metaphor of the talents on European civilization and links that metaphor with the Western emphasis on enterprise, initiative, individual freedom of action, and personal responsibility. Some of the key components of the parable's message are articulated as follows:

I know: I can do some good things

because God does good things for me

I know: God wants me to do these things

I want to do these things because of this

Keywords: enterprise; European civilization; individual freedom; narrative strategy; personal responsibility

Chapter.  4740 words. 

Subjects: Biblical Studies

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