Perspectives on the Parables

April 3 - 4, 2024
9:30 am - 12:00 pm

In this conference, we will explore the teachings of Jesus and their influence on the ethics, beliefs, and ethos of Christianity, past and present. The parables of Jesus are considered the bedrock of the Christian tradition. Speakers will address contemporary issues in parable studies, e.g., how can we best investigate the ancient context of Jesus’ parables? What is the relationship between parables and ancient fables? How do we explore distinctive features of Jesus’s teaching without inadvertently (or worse, intentionally) denigrating his originating Jewish context? How does the reception history of the parables shape our understanding of their meaning(s)? How ought we incorporate the parables in the life of contemporary Christian communities? We hope help you gain a better understanding of the message of Jesus’ parables, both then and now.


Featured Speakers:

Dr. Eric Barreto
Dr. Eric Barreto is the Frederick and Margaret L. Weyerhaeuser Associate Professor of New Testament at Princeton Theological Seminary. Dr. Barreto is also a Baptist Minister and seeks to connect his research and scholarship with the life of the church. His research focuses on ethnicity and the New Testament, especially in Acts and in the letters of Paul. Published works include Ethnic Negotiations: Race and Ethnicity in Acts 16 and two forthcoming works, “All of You Are One”: Paul and the Construction of Ethnic Theologies, and “A People for God’s Name”: Theology and Ethnicity in the Acts of the Apostles. He is currently also working on a commentary on Luke for the WJK Interpretation series.

Dr. Alan Culpepper
Dr. Alan Culpepper is Professor Emeritus at Mercer University, where he also served as founding dean of the James and Carolyn McAfee School of Theology. Previously, he has taught New Testament at Southern Baptist Theological seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, and at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. His writings reflect a sustained interest in the Gospels, especially the Gospel of John, and his Anatomy of the Fourth Gospel is widely regarded as an important contribution to the field of NT literary criticism. Culpepper most recent work on the Parables with Westminster John Knox, The People of the Parables: Galilee in the Time of Jesus, released this month.

Dr. Heidi J. Hornik
Dr. Heidi J. Hornik, is Professor of Italian Renaissance and Baroque Art History and Chair of the Department of Art & Art History at Baylor. She has published 8 peer-reviewed books - two
solo-authored books on Italian Renaissance painter Michele Tosini and on Christian ethics
reflected in art, respectively; four co-authored and two co-edited volumes. Dr. Hornik has
served as (founding) co-chair and/or committee member of the Bible and Visual Art section of
the SBL for over 20 years. Dr. Hornik is Founding Editor and Chief of Venue, a peer-reviewed
digital journal of the Midwest Art History Society. 

Dr. Amy-Jill Levine
Dr. Amy-Jill Levine (AJ) is the Rabbi Stanley M. Kessler Distinguished Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies at Hartford International University and University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies and Mary Jane Werthan Professor of Jewish Studies Emerita at Vanderbilt. AJ, an unorthodox member of an Orthodox synagogue, works to correct antisemitic, sexist, and other biblical interpretations that oppress. Her publications include The Pharisees (with J. Sievers), The Misunderstood Jew: The Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus, The Gospel of Luke (with B. Witherington III), The Jewish Annotated New Testament (with Marc Z. Brettler), 13 edited volume of the Feminist Companion to the New Testament and Early Christian Writings, Short Stories by Jesus: The Enigmatic Parables of a Controversial Rabbi, and six children’s books on the parables (with Sandy Eisenberg Sasso). 

Dr. Aliou Niang
Dr. Aliou Niang is Associate Professor of New Testament at Union Theological Seminary in
New York. He has taught at Texas Christian University and Memphis Theological Seminary.
His research explores themes and issues in Biblical and Postcolonial Theologies. Niang’s
publications include Faith and Freedom in Galatia and Senegal: The Apostle Paul, Colonists
and Sending Gods, which compares colonial objectifications of Senegalese people to that of
ancient societies by the Greco-Romans, A Poetics of Postcolonial Biblical Criticism and an
co-edited volume: Text, Image, and Christians in a Graeco-Roman World: A Festschrift in Honor of David Lee Balch.

Dr. Mitzi J. Smith
Dr. Mitzi J. Smith is the J. Davison Philips Professor of New Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary, Decatur, GA. Smith’s ten book publications include Chloe and Her
People: A Womanist Critical Dialogue with First Corinthians; We are All Witnesses: Toward
Disruptive and Creative Biblical Interpretation (co-authored with Michael Newheart); and
Bitter the Chastening Rod. Africana Biblical Interpretation After Stony the Road We Trod in
the Time of BLM, SayHerName, and MeToo (co-edited w/Angela Parker and Ericka Dunbar). She hosts the Beyond the Womanist Classroom podcast and is a contributor to

Dr. Ruben Zimmermann
Dr. Ruben Zimmermann is Professor of New Testament at the University of Mainz. He has
researched and written extensively on the parables of Jesus, metaphor, and ethics. He works at the Mainz center of “Ethics in Antiquity and Christianity” which studies the grounds of and justification for ethics in antiquity with a view towards its relevance for contemporary ethical discourse and practical application. His Puzzling the Parables of Jesus: Methods and Interpretation was published in 2015 with Fortress Press and discusses history of interpretation and methods for interpreting Jesus’s parables.  Puzzling the Parables of Jesus: Methods and Interpretation was published in 2015 with Fortress Press and discusses history of
interpretation and methods for interpreting Jesus’s parables.