But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; For this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.
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Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him. It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.
What was the sin of the prodigal son, his departure, or his prodigal living? Koplowitz-Bleier As a literary work the parable has many gaps that the reader is expected to close. In their article Menahem Perry and Meir Sternberg write: From the viewpoint of what is directly given in the language, the literary work is composed of fragments that must be linked and pieced together during the reading process: This gap filling ranges from simple linkages of elements, which the reader performs automatically, to very complex systems of linkages that are constructed consciously, laboriously, hesi- tantly, and with constant modifications in the light of additional information dis- closed in later stages of the reading process , p.
This is what the Jewish Midrash does in asking questions that arise from gaps in the biblical text and trying to answer them. Some assigned a global-theological meaning to the parable and avoided the small gaps in it, but others treat the parable as a literary work.
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This division has its roots in the text itself, each part ending with almost the same words: We perceive two triangles: A Literary Introduction to the New Testament Both writers concentrate on the background of the parable: Innes mentions the fact that all three parables are based on everyday situations; Ryken focuses on the symbolic details in the parable and explains them according to the Jewish tradition of the time.
In this reading, there are equal parts to all three characters in the parable: There are at least two approaches to interpreting the allegorical meaning of the parable. Nevertheless, most modern scholarship rejects the allegorical interpretation because it tends to neglect the realism, clarity and simplicity of the par- ables Blomberg , p. Another point to be considered is the fact that most allegorical interpretation overlooked the Jewish milieu of the parables Derret , p.
We conclude that the parable in Luke Also presented are the reactions of the father and of the elder brother to the return of the prodigal son. There are many lacunas in the story, which commentators have tried to close. This is not the only instance in which Rilke addresses the motif of the prodigal son. At first it appears as if the poem starts with the beginning of the parable, when the prodigal son is leaving after taking his inheritance: After the younger son takes the inheritance there is nothing in the house that belongs to him.
This starting point places the poem at the beginning of the parable, between verses 12— And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country. In the first part of the poem, Rilke acts as a commentator, filling the emotional gaps between the biblical lines, speaking of the alienation the prodigal son feels after taking his share as even familiar landmarks become strange and unfamiliar.
Koplowitz-Bleier with it his mixed feelings, fill the first stanza: Rilke also hints to the possible reason for leaving: The end of this part of the poem emphasizes the motivation to leave everything behind: Again, the intensive desire to leave is mixed with the feeling that it is all a stupid mistake. But it is not clear in the poem where exactly these lines belong: This idea is reinforced in the last line of the poem: This question can be asked only after the departure, which is why it is so difficult to situate the second part of the poem within the parable.
Most modern Christian writers have not, so far, dealt with the completed second journey itself; i. What exactly is this new journey? But what does the space between the second part and the last line mean?
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In general, when a trailing line is present, it affects the entire poem. To Rilke the departure itself is important as the beginning of a new life. The feeling of alienation and detachment, the leaving behind of everything you belonged to and that belonged to you is what makes a new life possible.
Ben Hutchinson suggests that: The effect is to refine the title of the poem, a final play on prepositions: For Rilke, the theme of departure leads to an existential question, since leaving means: It is not a question of morality, as in the biblical parable, but rather a psychological issue Windfuhr , p. In the second part, how- ever, it becomes obvious that the departure does not matter because the basic feeling did not change and therefore, there is a chance for a second departure. The question that arises in the last line of the poem only strengthens the idea of the departure as the central theme.
The poems tell the story of the parable and close the gaps in it. Goldberg stresses the points where the parable does not give the complete picture. She assumes that the readers of the poems know the original parable. In the second poem she adds a point of view that the parable lacks: In the third poem Goldberg focuses on the end of the parable: But she changes the situation according to the family picture she created in the second poem. Goldberg chooses to ignore the beginning of the parable. Similarly to Rilke, she is not interested in the moral aspects of the parable, but rather in the psychological aspects, in the return of a departed child.
She does this in a delicate way, by anthropomorphizing the landscape that speaks to the returning son: The four landmarks reflect the feelings of the prodigal son. We see his doubts: The fountain is the only landmark that encourages him to return.
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Gide adds a mother and a little brother. Goldberg adds three feminine characters: Comparing the reactions of the four landmarks with those of the six characters in the other poems reveals the parallels. The bride says that she forgave: The elder brother and the father are of the same opinion: The fountain calls the prodigal son and asks him to drink. By her actions, the mother does the same: And opened the door to the wind and the rain. Although Goldberg adds three characters to the original parable, she adds only one more attitude toward the return of the prodigal son.
The attitudes of the father and of the elder son are identical with that of the elder son in the parable.
The additional view is that of the bride and the sister, which find it difficult to forgive but eventually do forgive and forget. It seems that in order to normalize the family Goldberg needed to add the sister and the bride as a balancing approach. The poem is divided into two parts: Koplowitz-Bleier prodigal son in the parable as an example.
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