The Lukan Kingship Parable: Luke 19:11--27 in literary perspective

Garwood Paul Anderson, Marquette University


This study of the Lukan Kingship Parable (Luke 19:11-27) engages the pericope as an integral literary constituent of the larger narrative of Luke-Acts. This approach runs counter to the critical practices of parable interpretation which seek either to account for the genesis of the parable by means of tradition criticism or which seek to reproduce a hermeneutical encounter with the parable more original than that available to the reader of the narrative. Specifically, I consider the role of narrator as the explicit and implicit interpreter of the parable, the relation of the parable itself to the characterization and plot of Luke-Acts, and the role of the reader as a sense-making actualizes of the parable in its literary context. I argue against the consensus delay of Parousia reading of the parable. By means of the introduction of 19:11, the narrator casts the crowd's hope as a mis -perception of the kingdom, namely as a cataclysm with nationalistic overtones. The parable is not a denial of the imminent eschatology of Luke's readers but a subversion of the crowd's notion of the kingdom. In its Lukan context, the parable functions as an "intratextual epitome." The correlatives with the larger narrative are as follows: The "certain well-born man" is Jesus on his journey to Jerusalem. The parable's "servants" correspond to followers of Jesus invited to share in his mission and the minas their missional responsibility. Likewise, the parable's "citizens" and their "embassy" correlate with Jesus' opposition. The reckoning with the servants upon the king's return recalls the commendation and charge of the exalted Jesus to his followers, while the slaughter of the king's "enemies" portends the destruction of Jerusalem. The parable is not as is normally supposed a Parousia parable. The plausibility of this reading of the parable is justified by means of a reader-oriented criticism. The implied reader is described in terms of "repertoire" (what the reader brings to the parable), "empathy" (the implicit and variable relationship the reader has with the narrated audiences), "negotiation" (the process by which sense is made of the text), and "appropriation" (how it is the reader becomes the parable's addressee).

Recommended Citation

Anderson, Garwood Paul, "The Lukan Kingship Parable: Luke 19:11--27 in literary perspective" (2003). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. AAI3093133.