33 'Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a watchtower. Then he leased it to tenants and went to another country. 34 When the harvest time had come, he sent his slaves to the
1 Then he began to speak to them in parables.
'A man planted a vineyard, put up a fence, dug a wine trough, and built a watchtower; then he leased it to tenants and went to another country. 2 At the appropriate time, he sent a slave to the
9 He began to the people this parable:
'A man planted a vineyard.
and leased it to tenants, and went to another country for a long time. 10 When the season came, he sent a slave to the
He said: A good man had a vineyard.
He gave it to tenants that they might cultivate it and he might receive its produce from them.
He sent his servant so that the tenants might give him the produce of the vineyard. Thev seized his servant (and)
tenants to collect his produce.
tenants to collect from them his share of the produce of the
tenants in order that they might give him his share of the produce of
35 But the tenants seized his slaves and
vineyard. 3 But they seized him, and
the but the tenants
65. See above, n. 29. Particularly worthy of note is 1QH 12.27: 'through me you have enlightened the face of the many'.
66. Cf. Fuller: 'Matt. 11:27 is not a "christological contraction", but an explicit expression of the implicit Christology of Jesus' own use of Abba' (Foundations 133 n. 20), in critique of Hahn, Hoheitstitel 327 (Titles 312); Fitzmyer: 'Although I am inclined to regard the substance of these sayings (Luke 10.21-22) as authentic, that substance should more likely be traced to an implicit Christology expressed in Jesus' words and deeds in his earthly ministry' (Luke 2.870). Davies and Allison, however, 'fail to detect any truly telling signs of an origin with Jesus', but go onto argue for the influence of Exod. 33.12-13, with the implication that the Moses-like prophet (Deut. 18.15) would have the same exceptional face-to-face knowledge of God (Deut. 34.10) (Matthew 2.283-86). For earlier discussion see my Jesus and the Spirit 27-34.
beat one, killed another, and stoned another. 36 Again he sent other more than the first; and they treated them in the same way.
37 Finally he sent his to them, saying, "They will respect my son". 38 But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, "This is the heir: come, let us kill him and get his inheritance".
39 So they seized threw him out of the and killed him. 40 Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?' They said to him, 'He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the harvest time'.
beat and sent him away empty-handed. 4 And again he sent another slave to them; this one they beat over the head and insulted. 5 Then he sent another, and that one they killed. And so it was with many others; some they beat, and others they killed. 6 He had still one other, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, "They will respect my son". 7 But those tenants said to one another, 'This is the heir; come, let us kill and the will be ours". 8 So they seized killed and threw him out of the vineyard. 9 What then will the owner of the vineyard do?
He will come and destroy the tenants and give the vineyard to others'.
beat him and sent him away empty-handed.
Next he sent another slave: that one also they beat and insulted and sent away empty-
handed. 12 And he sent still a third; this one also they wounded and threw out.
Then the owner of the vineyard said, "What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him". 14 when the tenants saw him, they discussed it among themselves and said, "This is the heir; let us kill him so that the inheritance may be ours". 15 So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them?
He will come and destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others'.
beat him; a little more and they would have killed him. The servant came and told it to his master. His master said, 'Perhaps he did not know them'. He sent another servant; the tenants beat him as well.
Then the owner sent his son. He said,
'Perhaps they will respect son'.
Since those tenants knew that he was the heir of the vineyard, they seized him (and) killed him.
He who has ears, let him hear.
It is worth recording the full parable, even though our interest is more narrowly focused on Mark 12.6 pars., since it so well illustrates the variations typical of repeated performances. To be noted is the fact that the framework and structure are stable, but the details, particularly those of the vineyard's construction, the sequence of servants sent, and their treatment, vary, probably according to the whim of the performer (or Evangelist). The simpler Thomas version certainly gives substance to the view that the Synoptic versions have been elaborated to bring out the allusions to the vineyard of Israel in Isa. 5.1-7 (Mark/Matthew), to Jesus' death 'outside' (Jerusalem), and to the subsequent turn away from Israel in the Gentile mission.67 But the Synoptic version also retains the basic structure
67. E.g., Fitzmyer, Luke 2.1278-81; Scott, HearThen the Parable 245-51; Witherington, Christology 213; Funk, Five Gospels 101, 510-11. Further bibliography in K. Snodgrass, The and sequence. And it would be surprising if a Jewish audience did not hear an allusion to Israel as God's vineyard68 and to the prophets as God's rejected messengers, even in the shorter version.69 Moreover, the basic parable accords well with central thrusts in Jesus' preaching elsewhere, particularly the evocation of the well-established theme of prophet rejection and the expectation of judgment on Israel (§12.4c-e).
The point of immediate interest is that the sending of the owner's son is the climax of the parable. Indeed, if anything forms the core of the parable it is the father's 'sending' of his son in the hope that the tenants 'will respect' him (Mark 12.6 pars.). This feature cannot simply be dismissed as christological colouring70 since the contrast between servants and son is integral to the dramatic climax of the parable.71 By the same token, however, one should not read too much christological weight into Jesus' possible use of the motif. Even so, it cannot but be significant that Jesus was remembered as likening his mission to that of a son, and both in continuity with and in distinction from the earlier missions of the prophets as servants. The same sense of eschatological climax is evident, and its expression in son imagery is consistent with our findings thus far.72 The impor
Parable of the Wicked Tenants (WUNT 27; Tübingen: Mohr-Siebeck, 1983) 3-11; Hultgren, Parables 361 n. 30, 365 n. 44. Hultgren's own discussion of the relation of the different versions assumes that only literary dependence is at issue (365-66). Lüdemann, Jesus 81-82, pays too little attention to Thomas's version and its relevance for evaluating the parable's performance-/tradition-history. It is much more plausible that the sequel to the parable, the 'stone' testimony from Ps. 118.22-23 (Mark 12.10-12 pars., including GTh 66), was an addition to the parable as its christological potential became clear in the light of Jesus' crucifixion (see e.g., Hultgren 363-64, with further bibliography n. 34; otherwise Wright, Jesus 497-501, stretching the interpretative thread to near breaking point ).
68. 'A Jew could not tell a story about a vineyard without embarking upon allegory (cf. Isa. 5.7)' (Barrett, Jesus 27). See further G. J. Brooke, '4Q500 1 and the Use of Scripture in the Parable of the Vineyard', DSD 2 (1995) 268-94; J. C. de Moor, The Targumic Background of Mark 12:1-12: The Parable of the Wicked Tenants', 757 29 (1998) 63-80; W. J. C. Weren, The Use of Isaiah 5,1-7 in the Parable of the Tenants (Mark 12,1-12; Matthew 21,33-46)', Biblica 79 (1998) 1-26.
69. As many have observed, the parable may also reflect the harsh realities of absentee landlords and dissatisfied tenant-farmers of Jesus' own time (e.g., Dodd, Parables 125-26; Charlesworth, Jesus 145-47; Funk, Five Gospels 101); see also M. Hengel, 'Das Gleichnis von den Weingartnern: Mc 12:1-12 im Licht der Zenonpapyri und der rabbinischen Gleichnisse', ZNW 59 (1968) 1-39; C. A. Evans, 'Jesus' Parable of the Tenant Farmers in Light of Lease Agreements in Antiquity', JSP 14 (1996) 65-83.
70. But the description of the son as 'beloved' may well have been added by Mark (followed by Luke) to enhance the christological reference (cf. Mark 1.11; 9.7).
71. 'It is the logic of the story, and not any theological motive, that has introduced this figure' (Dodd, Parables 130); see also those cited by Bayer, Jesus' Predictions 94 n. 24.
72. Earlier discussion in Jesus and the Spirit35-36; see also Charlesworth, Jesus 147-53.
tant corollary that the parable may have expressed Jesus' own conviction. that he would be treated no differently from the prophets rejected by previous generations. and now John the Baptist. is one to which we will have to return (§ 17.4a). (3) Nor the Son (Mark 13.32):
But about that dav and hour no one knows. neither
But about that dav or hour no one neither
the of nor the Son. but the
the in nor the Son. but onlv the
This is clearly of a piece with Jesus' expectation of the kingdom's coming. It could be either an isolated saying attached to the apocalyptic discourse at some stage in the traditioning process or part of a larger block of Jesus' teaching which formed the basis of the discourse from the beginning. Either way. it is less likely to have been derived entirely from an early christological elaboration of the early tradition; apart from anything else. it runs too strongly against the sort of christological affirmation already attested in Matt. 11.25-27/Luke 10.21-22.73 It is the reference to 'the Son' which seems to be the principal indication of later christological perspective.74 But as C. K. Barrett pointed out. 'The description of Jesus by the most honorific title available would be precisely the sort of compensation that tradition would introduce' In effect this observation removes Mark 13.32 from the catalogue of firm evidence that Jesus spoke of himself as God's son ('the Son') in his teaching.76
In the event. then. the possible examples of Jesus referring to himself as God's son in the course of teaching his disciples do not provide very strong grounds for the conclusion that he did so. At most we can say. with a certain degree of confidence. that the sense of sonship which comes to expression in Jesus' remembered Abba prayer is evident also in the tradition of his teachings in one or two references to his relationship with God using father-son imagery.
73. 'Jewish tradition maintained that Abraham and Moses and others had foreseen all of history and the end of the world. Would Jesus' followers have made him out to be less than they?' (Davies and Allison, Matthew 3.378).
74. Funk, Five Gospels 114; Lüdemann, Jesus 93.
75. Barrett, Jesus 25-26; cf. Schweizer, TDNT8.372; Kümmel, Theology75; Leivestad, Jesus 112. Witherington again presses the argument that 'Jesus saw himself as fulfilling the role of Wisdom on earth' (Christology 228-33). But one might ask whether it would have occurred to Jesus to exclude himself from the 'no one', whereas it would certainly have occurred to the
76. Similarly, and with earlier bibliography, Jesus and the Spirit 35 and nn. 124-25.
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