090 Commentary

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This page forms part of the resources for 090 The Planted Weeds in the Jesus Database project of FaithFutures Foundation

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John Dominic Crossan

Crossan [Historical Jesus] (280) writes:

When I first worked on this parable I thought that it intended to praise the wisdom of the landowner's decision caught, as he was, between twin evils [In Parables] (1973:64,85). But I find Oakman's recent arguments entirely persuasive, as is also his contention that Jesus' hearers are being asked to laugh a little at this relatively well-to-do landowner. Since darnel is a natural problem, only its great extent in a specific field would need to be explained, within the narrative of the parable and not just the paranoia of the owner, as due to an enemy's action. So he is stuck. "Weeding after the appearance of grain might pose the danger of uprooting wheat along with the darnel," according to Oakman, "but it possibly can lay claim to be the lesser of two evils." [Jesus and the Economic Questions of His Day] (1986:118) And that, says Jesus, is what the Kingdom is like. From the viewpoint of the well-to-do with their fields of best wheat and plural servants, it is a noxious weed. But they are stuck with it. Mustard and darnel, then, stand together, surely with some ironic humor, as twin images of the Kingdom, seen, however, from the angle of the landless poor.