Parable of the Good Samaritan

The Parable of the Good Samaritan is a New Testament parable appearing only in the "Gospel of Luke". [. The stricken figure in the parable represents all those who are spiritually sick, such as the gentiles and the sinners. That it was a priest and then a Levite who first passed by is significant beyond the irony of the situation: people who were expected to help, did not, while someone whom the victim (and Jesus' audience) despised, did. The priest may have had an "excuse" not to help since touching a dying or badly wounded person for someone so "holy", while not forbidden, would be, in our modern vernacular, distasteful due to all the necessary cleansing rituals prescribed by Mosaic Law. The priest therefore decided that being ritually clean and "priestly" was more important than saving someone else's life. Jesus' unspoken challenge to all seems to be: would we help only if it is convenient, or are we willing to go out of our way to show compassion to a stranger?

Minority view

According to the minority view See also: Divine grace.

On the other hand, in presenting the Parable, Jesus provides to the scholar an answer that serves as a model for the scholar to emulate in learning who is and who is not his neighbor. By verse 37, Jesus and the scholar have agreed on the first commandment, the second commandment, and that the Samaritan was the neighbor to the victimized traveler. The victim was not the neighbor to the Samaritan. Jesus then challenges the scholar to resolve his self-doubt by commanding him to follow the Samaritan's behavior. Verse 37, "Go and do likewise," reads as an elaborated single-sentence paraphrase: Go and find someone [an innocent victim you may despise, yet who touches your heart (?)] , and [generously (?)] meet his needs [not wants (?)] , and then proceed with your life [your help beyond needs is not necessary for your learning who your neighbor is (?)] . The point of Jesus' statements was to compassionately meet the scholar's presenting need. Here Jesus is answering a self-revealing question. [http://www.biblicalstudies.org.uk/article_parables_bailey.html] , p.34. For theological implications, see text preceding and following this paragraph.

Allegory of the Fall and the Redemption

According to John Welch: [http://byustudies.byu.edu/Shop/PDFSRC/38.2Welch.pdf]

"This parable’s content is clearly practical and dramatic in its obvious meaning, but a time-honored Christian tradition also saw the parable as an impressive allegory of the Fall and Redemption of mankind. This early Christian understanding of the good Samaritan is depicted in a famous eleventh-century cathedral in Chartres, France. One of its beautiful stained-glass windows portrays the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden at the top of the window, and, in parallel, the parable of the good Samaritan at the bottom. This illustrates “a symbolic interpretation of Christ’s parable that was popular in the Middle Ages.” [Malcolm Miller, Chartres Cathedral (1985), 68.] ... The roots of this allegorical interpretation reach deep into Early Christianity. In the second century A.D., Irenaeus in France and Clement of Alexandria both saw the good Samaritan as symbolizing Christ Himself saving the fallen victim, wounded with sin. A few years later, Clement’s pupil Origen stated that this interpretation came down to him from earlier Christians, who had described the allegory as follows:

The man who was going down is Adam. Jerusalem is paradise, and Jericho is the world. The robbers are hostile powers. The priest is the Law, the Levite is the prophets, and the Samaritan is Christ. The wounds are disobedience, the beast is the Lord’s body, the [inn] , which accepts all who wish to enter, is the Church. … The manager of the [inn] is the head of the Church, to whom its care has been entrusted. And the fact that the Samaritan promises he will return represents the Savior’s second coming. [Origen, Homily 34.3, Joseph T. Lienhard, trans., Origen: Homilies on Luke, Fragments on Luke (1996), 138.]

"This allegorical reading was taught not only by ancient followers of Jesus, but it was virtually universal throughout early Christianity, being advocated by Irenaeus, Clement, and Origen, and in the fourth and fifth centuries by Chrysostom in Constantinople, Ambrose in Milan, and Augustine in North Africa. This interpretation is found most completely in two other medieval stained-glass windows, in the French cathedrals at Bourges and Sens."

See also

* The parable of the Good Samaritan has been the main motive for many collectors’ coins and medals. An example is the Austrian Christian Charity coin, minted in March 12 2003. The coin shows the Good Samaritan with the wounded on his horse, as he takes him for attention.

* The Jewish Encyclopedia suggests that the parable was changed: [cite encyclopedia |last= Jacobs|first= Joseph| authorlink=Joseph Jacobs|coauthors=Kohler,Kaufmann; Gottheil, Richard; Krauss, Samuel |editor= |encyclopedia= Jewish Encyclopedia |title=Jesus of Nazareth |url=http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=254&letter=J&search=jesus#999 |accessdate= |accessyear= |accessmonth= |edition= |date= |year=1901 |month= |publisher=Funk & Wagnalls |volume= |location= |id= |isbn= |doi= |pages= |quote= ] :

One of these parables deserves special mention here, as it has obviously been changed, for dogmatic reasons, so as to have an anti-Jewish application. There is little doubt that J. Halevy is right ("R. E. J." iv. 249–255) in suggesting that in the parable of the good Samaritan (Luke x. 17-37) the original contrast was between the priest, the Levite, and the ordinary Israelite—representing the three great classes into which Jews then and now were and are divided. The point of the parable is against the sacerdotal class, whose members indeed brought about the death of Jesus. Later, "Israelite" or "Jew" was changed into "Samaritan," which introduces an element of inconsistency, since no Samaritan would have been found on the road between Jericho and Jerusalem (ib. 30).

* Dramatic film adaptations of the Parable of the Good Samaritan include "Samaritan" [http://modernparable.com/see/samaritan] , part of the widely acclaimed [See e.g., [http://www.challies.com/archives/articles/bible-study/modern-parables-living-in-the-kingdom-of-god-dvd.php] , [http://www.colossiansthreesixteen.com/archives/2033] , [http://www.lofitribe.com/2007/10/30/compass-cinemas-parables-in-cinematic-theology/] ] "Modern Parables" DVD Bible study series [http://www.modernparable.com] . "Samaritan", which sets the parable in modern times, stars Antonio Albadran [http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2046161/] in the role of the Good Samaritan. [See IMDB [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1286850/] ] .

* Ethic of reciprocity
* Samaritanism
* Bystander intervention
* Good Samaritan Law
* Expounding of the Law
* Samaritans (charity)
* Samaritan's Purse - Christian charitable organisation
* Christian-Jewish reconciliation

Notes

References

*Brown, Raymond E. "An Introduction to the New Testament". Doubleday, 1997. ISBN 0-385-24767-2.
*Brown, Raymond E. "et al." "The New Jerome Biblical Commentary". Prentice Hall, 1990. ISBN 0-13-614934-0.
*Kilgallen, John J. "A Brief Commentary on the Gospel of Luke". Paulist Press, 1988. ISBN 0-8091-2928-0.
*Miller, Robert J. "The Complete Gospels". Polebridge Press, 1994. ISBN 0-06-065587-9.
*Welch, John W. "The Good Samaritan: The Forgotten Symbols". Ensign, February 2007. p.40–47.
*Welch, John W. "The Good Samaritan: A Type and Shadow of the Plan of Salvation". Brigham Young University Studies, spring 1999, 51–115.


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