Lessons from 1st century AD (1)

Bit of a follow on from the morning run and Bible on a stick post. I was listening to the parable of the vineyard where the owner having built the vineyard lets it out to tenants who refuse to pay rent and beat up those who are sent to collect it. Eventually the owner sends his son who the tenants kill.  A not very subtle attack on the religious authorities which was not lost on them – and they got their revenge within the week.  The original story was written 8 centuries before by Isaiah and Jesus the composer and improviser of the parable starts with a familiar story then takes it somewhere different.

Watch_tower_in_vineyard What struck me was how he used the metaphor of stones all the way through it.  A man clears some ground – ie takes out the stones so he can plant, puts a wall around it, builds a watchtower and winepress (of stone).  When the son is killed and thrown out it doesn't actually say he was stoned to death but the implication isn't far away as the stone metaphor is repeated and expanded.  And at the end of the story the pay off is as follows – The stone that the builders rejected turned out to be the most important stone: the capstone.

Now conventionally in advertising we will use a single creative idea and repeat it. To reinforce it and embed it (we hope) in memory as the mind makes a new connection.  But in this parable we have a very different technique. Where the concrete image of stones is referenced. But the storyteller turns the metaphor over referencing connotation after connotation. Stones are discarded so the vineyard can be built. Stone is used to turn the vineyard into a going concern. Stones are implicitly used to kill the son and heir – (a pile of stones over the corpse?) and lastly the stone is central to the pay off line. Interesting I thought becaues it was a way to manage connotations instead of ignoring them. And by referencing so many connotations the message about the stone was more precise.

I'm reading a lot about middle eastern literature at present. Most of it to do with biblical interpretation. And how these oral texts were constructed to be transmitted and remembered. Will be posting more material as it comes to mind.   

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