Original Research - Special Collection: James Alfred Loader Dedication

When patrons are patrons: A social-scientific and realistic reading of the parable of the Feast (Lk 14:16b–23)

Ernest van Eck
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 69, No 1 | a1375 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v69i1.1375 | © 2013 Ernest van Eck | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 10 December 2012 | Published: 09 May 2013

About the author(s)

Ernest van Eck, Department of New Testament Studies, University of Pretoria, South Africa


This article presents a social-scientific and realistic interpretation of the parable of the Feast. The characteristics of a pre-industrial city are used to determine the realism of the parable. The social-scientific interpretation of the parable considers meals as ceremonies. The cultural values embedded in meals, namely honour and shame, patronage, reciprocity and purity, receive attention. The social dynamics of invitations in the 1st-century Mediterranean world is used as a lens to understand the invitations as an honour challenge, and the social game of gossip is used to obtain an understanding of the excuses in the parable. The conclusion reached is that the parable turns the world in which it is told upside down. As such, the parable has something to say about the injustices that are a part of the society we live in.


parables; parable of The Feast; exegesis; the gospel of Luke; social-scientific criticism; historical Jesus


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