David B. Gowler’s The Parables after Jesus: Their Imaginative Receptions across Two Millennia is an historical survey of ways in which the parables of Jesus have been interpreted and used in writings and visual art. This is not a collection of complete examples of interpretation of specific parables; this is, rather, Gowler’s own exposition of pieces of others’ interpretations in relatively chronological order. In fact, there is no single parable used as a point of reference for the myriad of authors and interpretations, nor is there a single piece provided in its entirety. The only arguable exception to the latter is the inclusion of black and white thumbnail images of artwork in an appendix as references for those interpreted by Gowler in the larger text. It appears as though this will not change for publication (see final note below), and they are hardly helpful in their current size and quality.
This is a proper history book, not a helpful resource for understanding Jesus’ parables. If you’re looking for one person’s exposition on historical theology and secular use (or inspiration) of Jesus’ parables that reads like an academic lecture, then this may be for you. If you’re looking for original source authors’ complete examples and their own explanations, this is not the book for you. I did not find the text to be as helpful as I’d hoped, and reading one’s academic interpretation of artwork without providing the actual artwork is a bit frustrating.
The digital copy I received noted several times, “THIS IS NOT FINAL TEXT.” The title is misspelled and appendices were incomplete, but I hope I have helped the reader determine if the finished and published book may be worth reading, using, and owning.