In this startling work, Luise Schottroff proposes an alternative reading of Jesus' parables. Her worl decries the traditional allegorizing of Jesus' stories, with their easy identification of God as one of the characters in the stories.
Neither tidy allegories, nor timeless moralizing, nor straightforward descriptions of how God deals with individuals, the parables of Jesus, says Schottroff, are instead first fictive stories that describe the social realities and structures of an oppressive situation. They present an alternative to the social structures of the Roman Empire. Her book critiques the traditional readings (a legacy, she says, of triumphantalist Christianity) as well as their underlying worldview and then goes on to propose a "nondualistic" reading of the parables through their literary reception and rabbinic parallels and their deep invitation to a decision about life or death before God.