The Tenants in the Vineyard
John S. Kloppenborg examines the ways in which Christians have typically read and mis-read the parable of the Tenants (Mark 12:1-12; Gospel of Thomas 65), and places the parable firmly in the context of the practices of ancient viticulture. First, the author critically engages the history of interpretation of the text, inquiring into the ideological interests that the parable has engaged during the history of its use. Second, he reconstructs the social world in which the parable was first told. He demonstrates that the parable of the Tenants has mostly been interpreted from the standpoint of those who wield social power. All of the features common to Mark and Thomas are capable of a perfectly realistic reading. It is only Mark's editing of the story that takes it beyond the realistic idiom characteristic of Jesus' other parables.