As the early church moved away from the original cultural setting of the Bible and found its home in the west, Christians lost touch with the ancient world of the Bible. Cultural habits, the particulars of landscape, even the biblical languages soon were unknown. And the cost was enormous: Christians began reading the Bible as foreigners and missing the original images and ideas that shaped a biblical worldview.
In Jesus, the Middle Eastern Storyteller, Burge explains that Jesus lived in a story-telling culture that was completely unlike the modern world. When we imagine Jesus’ teaching in his own time and place, we cannot use profiles of teachers from our own setting to understand the nature of his work. Jesus’ world was different. Using biblical scholarship, cultural anthropology, and a knowledge of the Middle East’s traditions, Gary M. Burge explains the parables like they have been rarely explained before. And he does so to bring new insight to Jesus’ view of God and his understanding of the life of discipleship.