Search this journal:     Advanced search
Original Research

The parable of the shrewd manager (Lk 16:1–8): A biography of Jesus and a lesson on mercy

Dieter H. Reinstorf

HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies; Vol 69, No 1 (2013), 7 pages. doi: 10.4102/hts.v69i1.1943

Submitted: 15 February 2013
Published:  27 May 2013

Abstract

Many scholars have regarded the parable of the shrewd manager (Lk 16:1–8) as the most puzzling of all parables as Jesus seems to use the unrighteous actions of a dishonest (worldly) manager as a model for emulation by others. The unease associated with this understanding was managed in part by focusing almost exclusively on the ‘shrewdness’ of the dishonest manager. In this interpretation, it is not his unjust behaviour that is to be imitated but his wise and intelligent actions. This interpretation has led to a divergence of applications regarding the ‘property’ that was entrusted to him. The author, however, argues that, in the context of the historical Jesus, the entrusted property in the parable references first and foremost the Torah entrusted to God’s people and that the manager mirrors the life of Jesus, who was ‘accused’ by the religious leaders of being unjust. Despite being threatened, he continued unabatedly to scatter God’s mercy, epitomised by the reduction of debt and symbolising the dawning of God’s Kingdom. The manager is therefore not a negative figure but a positive (diaphorical) example of what it means to be a faithful manager of God in the light of adversary and opposition.

Full Text:  |  HTML  |  EPUB  |  XML  |  PDF (411KB)

Author affiliations

Dieter H. Reinstorf, Department of New Testament Studies, University of Pretoria, South Africa

Keywords

parable; diaphor; New Testament; historical Jesus; Luke 16:1-9

Metrics

Total abstract views: 2592
Total article views: 7444

Cited-By

No related citations found

Comments on this article

Before posting your comment, please read our policy.
Post a Comment (Login required)


ISSN: 0259-9422 (print) | ISSN: 2072-8050 (online)

Connect on: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube

Subscribe to our newsletter

All articles published in this journal are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license, unless otherwise stated.

Website design & content: ©2017 AOSIS (Pty) Ltd. All rights reserved. No unauthorised duplication allowed.

AOSIS Publishing | Empowering Africa through access to knowledge
Postnet Suite #110, Private Bag X19, Durbanville, South Africa, 7551
Tel: 086 1000 381 
Tel: +27 21 975 2602 
Fax: 086 5004 974

publishing(AT)aosis.co.za replace (AT) with @

Please read the privacy statement.