Search the Site


Parables: Jesus’s Shocking Short Stories

Season 2: Episode 51
Parables: Jesus’s Shocking Short Stories
Date Aired: 1/29/2024

In the New Testament, Jesus often teaches through parables—short stories rich in symbolism and ethical dilemmas. “The Good Samaritan.” “The Prodigal Son.” We’ve heard these stories so many times it’s easy to overlook how challenging and even shocking they would have sounded to first-century ears. In this episode, scholar Amy-Jill Levine joins Helen and Dave to explain the Jewish roots of parables and how Jesus wielded parables to shake up his audience. Parables were incredibly effective teaching tools in the ancient world and they’re just as powerful today, especially when we understand their deeper historical background.

Listen to the episode on the Biblical Time Machine website or wherever you get your podcasts.

Disclaimer: The Society of Biblical Literature is not responsible for the content of this podcast. The opinions expressed in this podcast do not necessarily reflect those of the Society of Biblical Literature, its members, or its staff.

  • The Biblical Time Machine Podcast is hosted by Helen Bond and Dave Roos. Helen Bond is professor of Christian origins at Edinburgh University. She is the author of Women Remembered: Jesus’s Female Disciples, The First Biography of Jesus: Genre and Meaning in Mark’s Gospel, and The Historical Jesus: A Guide for the Perplexed. Her research focuses on the social and political history of first century Judaea, the historical Jesus and the canonical gospels. Dave Roos is a journalist and writer who contributes to, HowStuffWorks and the popular podcast Stuff You Should Know. Dave has a degree in religious studies from Duke University.