Author: YANG Yan, Lecturer, College of Liberal Arts, Sun Yat-sen University
“The Parable of the Great Banquet” in the Gospel of Luke has traditionally been interpreted as an allegory of the “messianic meal” and shift of salvation from Jews to Gentiles. This paper explores the inadequacy of such allegorical interpretations and introduces another interpretation from the perspective of allegorical and socio-historical interpretation. Combining exegesis (parallel and contextual analysis) with study of the social world behind the text, this paper points out that Luke’s particular redaction (three excuses, three groups of guests, and the immediate context of Luke 14:1-14, 25-33) has made this parable of Luke a dialogue with the banquet rituals of the Greco-Roman upper classes. In the biblical passage, Luke persuades Greco-Roman elites to abandon the balanced reciprocity and honor system of the social elite. The banquet story provides an example in which the host rejects the priority of possessions and social honor to parti-cipate in a new social loyalty, which is also the theme of Luke 14.1-33.
The Parable of the Great Banquet, Luke, Greco-Roman banquet rituals and values, reciprocity, discipleship
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