Peter has extended comments on this post.
When we come to interpreting the narratives in the Gospels, we are faced with a couple of potential difficulties. I’ll call it the double challenge of more than one:
1. More than one “author” of the parables. Our goal in interpretation is to grasp the author’s intended meaning. But which one? There’s Jesus telling the story in the first place, around AD30, in Aramaic, somewhere in Galilee or Judea. What did Jesus intend for those original hearers to grasp and learn? But then there’s Luke, for example, retelling the story, around thirty or more years later, in Greek, to a reader somewhere in the Greek speaking world. Primarily our concern is with what Jesus intended, but we’d be naïve to think that Luke’s intent was unimportant. Luke did not struggle to focus, and thereby put together a random gospel. No, he sequences his material with precision and skill. We see this when different gospel writers frame the same content in a different sequence of material. But that is another challenge again.
Next time I’ll give the other half of the challenge, the other “more than one!”