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Food for thought

Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable?" Mark 4.13

An allegory is a story or a poem or a song with more than one meaning. Think Pilgrim's Progress. Judicious use of allegory can be a helpful way of unlocking theories and pathways which otherwise might present as academic and impenetrable. Debate rages among biblical scholars concerning whether Jesus' parables can be interpreted allegorically or whether we must search for the single point they are making. The answer is probably both: some are allegorical, others designed to pack one particular punch.

Discerning which is which seems like a good excuse - if one were needed - to consider all of them! And then pondering their meaning, whether it is unique or multiple, would certainly be instructive. Yet, in all such worthwhile endeavours we do well to heed the advice of Aelred of Rievaulx (1110 - 1167): to remain mindful of the needs of others, whose requirement of our attention must trump our personal preoccupations - for love demands it!



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