The Rejected Stone In The Parable Of The Wicked Tenants: Defending The Authenticity Of Jesus’ Quotation Of Ps 118:22 -- By: Gregory R. Lanier
Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 56:4 (Dec 2013)
Article: The Rejected Stone In The Parable Of The Wicked Tenants: Defending The Authenticity Of Jesus’ Quotation Of Ps 118:22
Author: Gregory R. Lanier
JETS 56:4 (December 2013) p. 733
The Rejected Stone In The Parable Of The Wicked Tenants: Defending The Authenticity
Of Jesus’ Quotation Of Ps 118:22
*Gregory Lanier resides at 4326 Saxonbury Way, Charlotte, NC 28269.
When Jesus closes one of his most important and divisive parables, the Parable of the Wicked Tenants (Matt 21:33–46 // Mark 12:1–12 // Luke 20:9–19), he appears to do something he never does anywhere else: quote an OT passage to conclude a parable.1 In a parable that is “one of the most significant, most discussed, and most complicated of all the parables,”2 several issues have been highly debated. Is the parable a pure allegory or a natural story? If it is an allegory, whom do each of the characters (landlord, tenants, servants, son) represent in Jesus’ context? Is it merely a later expression of incipient anti-Jewish sentiment? Is the shortened version in Thomas L.65–66 the earliest and most authentic version? At the center of this eddy of questions is that very quotation that ends the parable, in which Jesus quotes Psalm 118:22 (LXX 117), saying, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.”3 For decades the scholarly consensus held that that this quotation is neither original to the parable nor spoken by Jesus but a later addition or redaction by the early church.4 While several commentators have identified arguments against this default view, a fresh and comprehensive assessment of the evidence in favor of the quotation’s authenticity is due. Moreover, the framework used to evaluate this particular case shows how any approach to resolving similar problems should integrate data from three areas: the detailed exegetical data of the passages in question, the literary tradition informing the interpretation of the audience, and the first-century context.
I. The Contrary Perspective:
Inauthenticity Of The Stone Quotation
Many scholars have argued on various grounds that the entire Parable of the Wicked Tenants, including the Psalm 118 quotation, is not original to Jesus.5 Even
JETS 56:4 (December 2013) p. 734
among many scholars who otherwise associate some version of the parable, perhaps even an unknown ker...
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