This book consists of the papers presented at a conference on Semiology and Parable held at Vanderbilt University. What is striking, once they are gathered together in one volume, is their unity beneath the diversity of approaches, methods, and theoretical and ideological backgrounds. This unity is not an homogeneity based upon some orthodox interpretation of parables, whatever their sources. Rather it is the product of a consistent network of problems, an open field of reading and research, a great variety of paths traced among texts but all merging toward a few nodal points that are the loci not of solutions but of fundamental questions concerning textual understanding and interpretation. We are confronted with three types of questions: in the domain of methods and technical procedures, we have the problem of the transfer of structural analysis and semiotic models from myths to parables; in that of disciplines, the relationships of anthropology, history, and semiology; and at last, in that of the philosophical presuppositions implied in any textual analysis, the status of meaning and reference, the theory of reading and interpretation, the question of textual indeterminacy and interpretive determinations. It is easy to identify in such a network the basic questions of our time regarding texts and their meaning-effect. But by embracing them in the study of a specific and complex kind of narrative rather than debating general problems in a programmatic way, the participants to the conference made valuable contributions both to their respective fields of interest and to a more rigorous analysis of certain literary texts.