An imaginative and illuminating study, Finding Is the First Act places historical thinking in creative tension with literary appreciation. The structures of Jesus's parable of the hidden treasure (Matt 13:44) are examined by mapping its plot options (finding, acting, buying) in view of other Jewish treasure stories and the vast array of treasure plots in world folklore. Startling differences emerge in the plot options chosen by Jesus that point to a new understanding of the directive to give up all one has for the Kingdom of God.
"Why Jesus' treasure parable? For three reasons that I am aware of. First, . . . the story has always fascinated me. . . . Second, in recent work on parables there has often been a tendency to concentrate especially on the longer parables of Jesus. I wanted deliberately to move in theopposite direction and to give full emphasis to a very short parable . . . . Third, this particular parable, in contrast, for example, to that of The Mustard Seed, does not furnish much grist for the diachronic mill of biblical studies. I was deliberately choosing an item which, in isolation from its Matthean context, could hardly sustain a monograph study along the standard lines of tradition criticism." --from the Preface
John Dominic Crossan
John Dominic Crossan is Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies at DePaul University, Chicago. He has written twenty books on the historical Jesus in the last thirty years, four of which have become national religious bestsellers: The Historical Jesus (1991), Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography (1994), Who Killed Jesus? (1995), and The Birth of Christianity (1998). He is a former cochair of the Jesus Seminar and a former chair of the Historical Jesus Section of the Society of Biblical Literature.