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Publisher's Summary

Jesus was a skilled storyteller and perceptive teacher who used parables from everyday life to effectively convey his message and meaning. Life in first-century Palestine was very different from our world today, and many traditional interpretations of Jesus' stories ignore this disparity and have often allowed anti-Semitism and misogyny to color their perspectives.

In this wise, entertaining, and educational book, Amy-Jill Levine offers a fresh, timely reinterpretation of Jesus' narratives. In Short Stories by Jesus, she analyzes these "problems with parables", taking us back in time to understand how their original Jewish audience understood them. Levine reveals the parables' connections to first-century economic and agricultural life, social customs and morality, Jewish scriptures, and Roman culture. With this revitalized understanding, she interprets these moving stories for a contemporary listener, showing how the parables are not just about Jesus, but are also about us - and when understood rightly, still challenge and provoke us 2,000 years later.

©2014 Amy-Jill Levine (P)2017 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"As the text enlightens, it also emboldens critical application of Jesus's ancient stories to modern hearts and minds." (Publishers Weekly starred review)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • James
  • Chesterton, IN, United States
  • 09-06-17

A welcome change of perspective

Though a few of the chapters went a little more in-depth than I expected, over all the book was a refreshing reorientation of context in regard to the parables. Having grown up hearing the dumbed down interpretations, reawakening the challenging complexity of the stories was refreshing, especially since they run across religious lines in the sand...

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Fantastic, like all of Amy-Jill Levine's work.

I love stories and storytelling, and Amy-Jill Levine expounds on story, morality and interpretation, as well as their implications on how we live and act in the world. I hope you give it a listen.

The narrator was great, but I wish it were Amy-Jill reading. Just a personal preference.

  • Overall
  • Performance
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Informative, interesting, and enjoyable

The readers voice pleasant to the ears and the book causes one to pause and think.