Article Title

The Authenticity of the Parable of the Leaven


Author #1


The Parable of the Leaven (Matt 13:33 // Luke 13:20–21), until recently, has not endured much debate concerning its authenticity and is often interpreted as a growth parable with eschatological implications with the Parable of the Mustard Seed. Recently, objections regarding whether these words properly constitute a saying from the Historical Jesus arose, notably by J. P. Meier, as he denies its authenticity largely on the grounds of not fulfilling the criteria of multiple attestation, and more loosely, discontinuity, or embarrassment. However, a closer examination reveals that the criteria of discontinuity, coherence, and embarrassment are fulfilled with the Parable of the Leaven. Furthermore, the criterion of Palestinian environment, which Meier relegates as secondary or dubious,[1] is also fulfilled. Although the criteria have been a subject of great debate, which will be briefly discussed, Meier utilized his five criteria in order to attain his happy few authentic parables. Likewise, this paper argues for the authenticity of the Parable of the Leaven by applying the criteria of dissimilarity, Palestinian environment, coherence, and lastly, embarrassment. These are some of the same criteria Meier utilizes.

[1] Meier, A Marginal Jew, 5:194.