What’s a Parable?

My friend Ron Reed happened to quote writer C.H. Dodd today in offering the definition of the word “parable.” Ron referenced this in summing up the virtues of The Return, my favorite film of 2004.

It struck me that, while this definition sums up Jesus’ style of storytelling, it also sums up most of the movies that end up becoming my favorites:

A parable is:

A metaphor or simile

drawn from nature or common life

arresting the hearers by its vividness or strangeness

and leaving the mind in sufficient doubt to its precise application

to tease the mind into active thought.

Doesn’t that apply to most of the films you end up having long talks about with your friends and neighbors?

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About Jeffrey Overstreet

Don't you hate these ugly click-bait ads? Visit LookingCloser.org for a bigger, better, ad-free version of Jeffrey Overstreet's blog. Jeffrey Overstreet is the senior film critic for Christianity Today, the author of Through a Screen Darkly and Auralia's Colors, and he teaches writing and film at Seattle Pacific University, Houston Baptist University, and Northwest University.