Tormented in Hades: The Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31) and Other Lucan Parables for Persuading the Rich to Repentance

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9781620323908: Tormented in Hades: The Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31) and Other Lucan Parables for Persuading the Rich to Repentance

The parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31) seems to condemn the rich man to torments in Hades for no other apparent reason than his wealth and to reward poor Lazarus with bliss at Abraham's side for no other apparent reason than his poverty. Is divine judgment simply a matter of eternal reward for the poor and condemnation for the rich, a mathematical function inversely proportional to one's financial net worth? Or taken another way, is not the rich man's prosperity a tangible sign of divine blessing for a life well lived, and the poor man's misery an obvious sign of a divine punishment for a life of moral bankruptcy? But if this were true, then why would God reverse the eternal fates of these men upon their deaths? The parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus is one of seven "money-lover" parables in the Lucan Travel Narrative that addresses the issue of whether it is possible to be both rich and Christian-and if so, how so? When read utilizing the socio-narratological approach employed in this book, these parables come alive with new insights and implications for living a more authentic Christian discipleship.

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"Employing a creative method that makes use of both literary criticism and social scientific analysis, John Szukalski's engaging study sheds new light on the Lucan parables. Written in a way that is accessible to students as well as scholars, this work provides a profitable way to read and understand these familiar stories."--FRANK J. MATERA, The Catholic University of America"Tormented in Hades is a sophisticated socio-narratological exploration of Luke's lover of money parables, with a particular focus on the rich man and Lazarus parable. A significant contribution to our understanding of Luke's characterization of the repentant and unrepentant rich, this book details Luke's coherent rhetorical strategy that challenges the wealthy to repent: the rich either choose to fulfill their obligations to help the poor or remain recalcitrant idolaters. Both choices have eternal consequences."--DAVID B. GOWLER, Oxford College of Emory University"Szukalski makes an excellent contribution to the study of the Lucan parables concerning the use of wealth. Using a socio-narratological approach, he opens up a new path for understanding how these parables, particularly that of the rich man and Lazarus, function to persuade those who are rich of the proper use of wealth and proper social relations. The challenge remains as potent today as in the time of Luke."--BARBARA E. REID, Catholic Theological Union

About the Author:

John A. Szukalski is Assistant Professor of Theology at Divine Word College in Epworth, Iowa. He holds a PhD in New Testament from the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.

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