Rindge reads Luke’s parable of the Rich Fool (12:16–21) as a sapiential narrative and situates this parable within a Second Temple intertextual conversation on the interplay of death and possessions. A rich analysis of Jewish (Qoheleth, Ben Sira, 1 Enoch, Testament of Abraham) and Greco-Roman (Lucian, Seneca) texts reveals a web of disparate perspectives regarding how possessions can be used meaningfully, given life’s fragility and death’s inevitability and uncertain timing. Departing from standard interpretations of Luke’s parable as a simple critique of avarice, Rindge explicates the multiple ways in which the parable and its immediate literary context (12:13–34) appropriate, reconfigure, and illustrate this contested conversation, and shows how these themes are chosen and adapted for Luke’s own existential, ethical, and theological concerns.
Matthew S. Rindge is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Gonzaga University. He is co-author of the forthcoming The History of Biblical Interpretation to 1835: A Reader (Westminster John Knox) and the recipient of the 2011 Paul J. Achtemeier Award for New Testament Scholarship.
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