Tenants in the Vineyard
Ideology, Economics, & Agrarian Conflict in Jewish Palestine
Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament, no. 195

By John S. Kloppenborg
November 2006
Mohr Siebeck
Distributed by Coronet Books Inc.
ISBN: 316148908X
651 pages, 6 x 9 "
$297.50 Hardcover

John S. Kloppenborg gives a detailed analysis of one of the most difficult of Jesus' parables, the parable of the Tenants (Mark 12:1-12; Gospel of Thomas 65). He examines the ways in which Christians have typically read and mis-read the parable, and places the parable firmly in the context of the practices of ancient viticulture. The author models a new approach to the interpretation of the parables of Jesus. First, he critically engages the history of interpretation of the text, inquiring into the ideological interests that the parable has engaged during the history of its use in Christian churches and in political discourse. Second, he reconstructs the social world in which the parable was first told, in particular the economic, social, and legal aspects of ancient viticulture. He demonstrates that the parable of the Tenants has mostly been interpreted from the standpoint of those who wield social and political power, a strange irony considering the social status of the Jesus of history and the literary uses of the parable. All of the features common to the parable as it is told by Mark and the Gospel of Thomas make it a perfectly realistic story. It is only Mark's editing of the story that takes it beyond the realistic idiom characteristic of Jesus' other parables. The book concludes with a dossier of 58 papyrus documents relating to various aspects of viticulture and agrarian conflict.

Chapter 1. Ideology and the Momentum of Interpretation
Chapter 2. The Ideological Textures of the Parable of the Tenants
Chapter 3. The Tenants as an Early Christian Allegory
Chapter 4. Israel, the Temple, and the Fate of Jesus
Chapter 5. The Parable as Realistic Fiction
Chapter 6. Isaiah 5,1-7, Egyptian Viticulture and Mark 12,1.9
Chapter 7. The Parable of the Tenants in Matthew and Luke
Chapter 8. The Parable of the Tenants in Mark and Thomas
Chapter 9. Reading Ancient Viticulture
Appendix I: Dossier on Vineyard Leasing and Operations (III BCE-IV BCE)
Appendix II: List of Vineyard Leases (III BCE-IV BCE)

New Testament
Criticism & Interpretation

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