“In the Jewish wisdom tradition a parable (mashal) could be a dark and ambiguous saying like a riddle, but the dominant use of parables among contemporary Jewish teachers was as a means of clarifying scriptural difficulties. As an analogy in narrative form, it could lead someone from an understanding of the familiar to an understanding of the strange.”  —  Luke Timothy Johnson, in The Writings of the New Testament: An Interpretation (boldface added)

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