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

Jeffrey Overstreet departed the Patheos network in order to escape click-bait advertisements that were offending him and his readers. He will re-launch Looking Closer at lookingcloser.org soon. He is the author of The Auralia Thread, a four-volume fantasy series that begins with Auralia's Colors, and a memoir of "dangerous moviegoing" called Through a Screen Darkly. He teaches creative writing and film studies; speaks internationally about art and faith; served as Writer-in-Residence at Covenant College; and is employed by Seattle Pacific University as a project manager, copyeditor, and writer.


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