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chapter 5
Challenge Parables: Part 3
Let Anyone With Ears To Hear Listen!

In 1973 I was an associate professor at DePaul University in Chicago and had just published In Parables: The Challenge of the Historical Jesus, the first in a series of books that would culminate with The Historical Jesus: The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant in 1991. An editor from Argus Press asked me to write a more popular version of In Parables to be published in 1975. When finished, I called it The Dark Interval: Towards a Theology of Story, having borrowed part of that title from The Book of Hours, written by the Prague- born German- language poet Rainer Maria Rilke from 1899 to 1903. For Rilke, the “dark interval” was the musical interval between the notes of life and death, which are so hard to reconcile, because “death’s note tends to dominate.” I did not, however, use Rilke’s phrase the same way in my title. I used it for the pause between hearing and understanding or reading and interpreting. I intended it as the holding moment between parable and interpretation or challenge and response...

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