Luke 15 Through the Eyes of Middle Eastern Peasants
Kenneth E. Bailey draws on his expertise in both the New Testament and Middle Eastern culture to interpret the parable of the prodigal son from a Middle Eastern perspective.
“The Cross the Prodigal is a little book that changed the minds of Gospel scholars throughout the world. In its original edition (1973) Bailey not only established himself as a leading New Testament interpreter, but he launched an approach to the Gospels that was utterly unique. Over sixty years of life in the Middle East (from Egypt to Iraq) bequeathed to him a discerning knowledge of peasant life; fluency in Arabic; the ability to work in Syriac, Coptic and Aramaic; and an intimate acquaintance with Rabbinic literature. These skills he now applies to the three parables of Luke 15 in order to unlock cultural insights that have eluded scholars for centuries. This approach deserves a name ‘Middle Eastern New Testament Studies’ and today Bailey’s legacy belongs with scholars such as Joachim Jeremias: leading parable interpreters whose work has been a watershed for the rest of us.”
Gary M. Burge, Ph.D., Professor of New Testament, Wheaton College Graduate School