Yesterday I got the parables book "Stories with Intent" by Klyne Snodgrass. It is not a book to take lightly! First of all it's very heavy. But it's also a scholarly research book. Klyne has been working on for years. It's an amazing commentary. jesuscreed.org says it replaces a whole shelf of his parable books. It is 771 pages.
So due to the fact that this conversation was provocative and I just go this book this morning I spent a bit of time looking at this parable in the Snodgrass book.
Here's a quote that seems to echo what I tried to say, Snodgrass says:
In most scholarly treatments we find the caution that the parable is not intended to give a description of life after death. This caution is both necessary and true and must be emphasized....the use of folkloric themes and the fact that this is a parable with intent other than teaching about he future life should warn against taking the picture too literally.And so now we are back again to that book I read on my silence retreat...The bible is a very complicated book! I always feel better when a world renowned biblical scholar says we know far less, and scripture is far less clear, than most think! Granted he is only talking about one topic. I am sure he would say (and so would I) that it's very clear on things like love!
The problem of understanding biblical material on life after death is much more problematic than most Christians are aware. We know far less, and Scripture is far less clear, than most think.