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Chapter Two

The Parable of the Lost Coin

by Susan Marie Praeder
from The Word in Women’s Worlds, Four Parables
Published in 1988 by Michael Glazier, Inc. Wilmington, Delaware.
Published on our website with the necessary permission

Lk 15:8-10 “Or what woman with ten silver coins, if she loses one silver coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and seek carefully until she finds it? And once she has found it, she calls together her women friends and neighbors, saying, ’Rejoice with me, because I have found the silver coin that I lost!’ Just so, I say to you, there is joy before the angels of God over one repentant sinner.”

In the first part of this chapter I illustrate the question in the parable of the lost coin on the basis of pertinent ancient sources. The setting for the question about the woman’s losing, seeking, and finding is an ancient house. The coin that she loses and finds is a silver drachma, and in her search she uses a broom and an oil lamp. In the second part I study the parable’s question, introduced quotation, and interpretative conclusion in relation to the parables of the lost sheep and lost son and the setting for Luke 15. The portrayals of the woman, shepherd, and father in Luke 15 offer parabolic instruction concerning the relationship of God and repentant sinner and the table-fellowship of Jesus, tax collectors, and sinners.

Of Drachmas, Household Lamps, and The Woman’s Losing, Seeking, and Finding

“Silver coin” and “silver coins” are descriptive renderings of singular and plural forms of drachmē, a Greek unit of coinage often translated as “drachma.” The drachma was a basic unit in various systems of coinage including those in use in the Athenian city-state, empire of Alexander the Great, and eastern territories of the Roman empire. The value of the coin was determined by its weight, a figure usually set in the range of three to five grams of silver or other metals. Multiples of the drachma such as the didrachmon or “two-drachma piece” and tetradrachmon or “four-drachma piece” were of approximately double or quadruple value and weight.(1)

Among the drachmas in circulation in the eastern territories of the Roman empire in the first century C.E. were the Attic, Rhodian, Syrian, and Tyrian drachmas or their multiples. In 64 C.E. the Roman emperor Nero assigned the Attic drachma and the Roman denarius the common weight of 3.41 grams. The weight of both coins, the one the drachma of Athens and Alexander the Great and the other a basic unit of Roman coinage, had been reduced over the centuries.(2) An inscription from 71 C.E. attests to the abundant supply of Rhodian drachmas or their multiples in first-century Asia Minor. A certain C. Veratius Philagrus furnished four hundred thousand drachmas for the funding of a gymnasium in Cibyra.(3) The provincial mint in Antioch appears to have issued Syrian drachmas only during the reigns of Claudius and Nero. During the reigns of other emperors the tetradrachmon, valued at three denarii, was the mint’s principal silver issue.(4) Drachmas, two-drachma pieces, and four-drachma pieces produced in the Syro-Phoenician city of Tyre during the second and first centuries B.C.E were still in circulation in Palestine in the first century C.E. The Tyrian drachma, weighing about 3.63 grams, was considered the approximate equivalent of the Attic drachma and the Roman denarius.(5)

The ten drachmas of the parable are probably Attic or Tyrian drachmas, the Greek silver coins in circulation in first-century C.E. Palestine and Syria. Josephus assumes that his first-century C.E. readers are familiar with Attic drachmas and attests to the circulation of Tyrian coinage in Galilee. He reckons a shekel at four Attic drachmas and a Tyrian coin in use in Galilee, presumably the tetradrachmon, at the same value (Ant. 3.8, 2§195; JW 2.21, 2§592).(6) In his autobiography Josephus reports that he used a small sum of drachmas, their place of origin unspecified, as a subtle form of bribery against a soldier sent to him by his opponents. First he granted him twenty drachmas for food and lodging and then succeeded in getting him to drink (and talk) at the rate of one drachma per sip of wine (Life 224-25).

In all systems of coinage ten drachmas amounted to a small sum of money important only to people of modest means and the poor. The story of Josephus and the soldier shows that the one man could afford to part with tens of drachmas at a time and that the other, more modestly situated man seized at the opportunity to acquire some extra drachmas. The fortunes of the rich were reckoned in tens and hundreds of thousands of drachmas. Apollonius of Tyana is said to have encountered a father of four daughters who was praying and sacrificing to Mother Earth for the discovery of buried treasure for their dowries. As he explained to the sage, his mere fortune of twenty thousand drachmas was not enough for himself and his unmarried daughters (Philostratus VA 6.39). During the reign of Tiberius a Roman equestrian in love with a woman of the nobility was willing to offer two hundred thousand drachmas to spend one night with her (Josephus Ant. 18.3, 4§65-80, esp.§67).

Some commentators on the parable suggest that the ten drachmas are decorative coins on a bridal headdress or necklace. Against this suggestion, the description “woman with ten silver coins” reads as a simple case of possession: a woman with some money. There is no hint of a bridal or decorative collection of coins. Further problems are that the suggestion is based on modern attire and ornaments and on the assumption that there should be a special motive for the search(7)

In her search for the lost drachma, the woman first lights a lamp. Lychnos, “lamp,” is a general term and thus tells us nothing about the material construction, size, or style of the lighting device. Assuming that the parable was heard and told in Palestine, we can use archaeological sources to form some idea of the sort of lamp that tellers and hearers of the parable would have had in mind. Although tellers and hearers in other places would have thought of other materials, sizes, and styles, first-century C.E. household lamps were similar in structure.(8)

The Palestinian household lamps of NT times were oil-burning lamps made of fired clay. Rather small, roundish, with a hole in the center and a hole to the side on a sort of ledge, these lamps lend themselves to description as covered, dishlike or squat containers. The hole in the center was for pouring in the oil that filled the lamp, and the hole to the side was for the wick. Prohibitions and recommendations concerning oils and wick materials for sabbath lamps suggest that various substances had found their way into household use. Olive oil was the typical fuel oil, but other substances, either animal or vegetable in origin, served this purpose. Wicks were fashioned from plants and plant products such as flax and linen cloth. Palestinian household lamps of the first half of the first century C.E., the so-called Herodian lamps, were decorated with simple line designs or undecorated. Lamps produced later in the century often bore elaborate decorations around the pouring hole.(9)

The parable summarizes the woman’s lighting of the lamp as a single action. Presumably, her source of fire is the already-burning hearth fire. Her readying of the lamp could involve other tasks such as pouring in a fresh supply of oil and pulling up and trimming the wick. We are not told what she does with the lamp once it is burning, but a saying of Jesus suggests that the lampstand was a common household article, “No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a vessel, or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, that those who enter may see the light” (Lk 8:16; cf. Mt 5:15; Mk 4:21; Lk 11:33; Gos. Thom. 33). After the woman lights the lamp, she sweeps the house in search of the lost drachma. Sweeping implies the use of a broom, which in ancient times consisted of a handle or stick with attached myrtle, palm, or tamarisk branch trimmings or twigs.(10)

The woman’s lighting of the lamp and sweeping are realistic details based on the conditions for searching in ancient houses. The windows of ancient houses were too small to provide sufficient light, and first-century C.E. Palestinian houses were dark even during the day. Floors included surfaces of dirt and stone, and sweeping and watering for a solid or more solid surface belonged to the regular maintenance routine for dirt or part-dirt floors.(11) A drachma that had fallen under loose dirt or into the dirt-filled cracks and gaps of a stone floor could be recovered by sweeping. Some coins lost in the dirt fillings of stone floors have been recovered only in modern times. Excavations of the black basalt stone floor of the first-century C.E. house in Capernaum popularly called “The House of St. Peter” found coins still lodged in the dirt filling.(12)

The extent of the woman’s search depends on the dimensions of the house. Some houses in first-century C.E. Palestine were simple one-room, one-story structures. Other houses had separate rooms and upper stories.(13) The traditions represented in Luke usually seem to have the larger type in mind: houses accommodating in-laws, overnight guests, and slaves and serving as the setting for meals attended by invited and uninvited guests. For example, the Passover meal or Last Supper of Jesus and his disciples is set in “a large upper room furnished” (22:12).(14) Despite this evidence “the house,” the only information about the dwelling in the parable, does not allow us to outline the dimensions of the structure.

There are several ancient parallels to the woman’s search. A parabolic commentary on Pr 2:4 cites the case of a man’s household search in order to encourage study of the Torah. Pr 2:4 compares the quest for wisdom to the search for silver and other valuables, “if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures.” Part of the commentary recalls the question in the parable of the lost coin,“it is like a man who, if he loses something in his house, lights many lamps and other sources of light until he recovers it.”15 The conclusion “from lesser to greater,” a minori ad maius, recommends study of the Torah that is as intensive as the search for worldly treasures. In his study of character types, Theophrastus includes a sketch of a miser or penurious soul, “And if his wife loses a bronze coin, he is the sort who moves around household utensils, beds, and storage bins and searches through the garbage sweepings” (Char. 10.6).(16)

The woman in the parable of the lost coin should be imagined as searching for a small amount of money in a dark house of uncertain size and on a dirt floor or a dirt and stone floor. The object of her search, one drachma or silver coin, suggests that she is a woman of relative poverty; a rich woman would not be troubled by the loss of such a sum. The question demonstrates that she searches with special care, not that she is penurious or pursuing a worldly treasure.(17)

The Parables of the Lost Coin, Sheep, and Son

Lk 15:1-2 contains the setting for the parables of the lost coin, sheep, and son. The characters in the setting are Jesus, tax collectors and sinners who come to hear him, and Pharisees and scribes who murmur, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” By “sinners” they mean tax collectors, who were considered sinners for reasons of personal and professional conduct, and other unspecified offenders and outsiders in terms of religious law and tradition.(18) Their murmured objection seems to be a general criticism of Jesus’ ministry rather than an observation limited to this particular situation—unless it is supposed to supplement the information provided by the narrator. The narrator observes that the tax collectors and sinners are interested in hearing Jesus, but the Pharisees and scribes object to his receiving of sinners and eating with them, one of his characteristic activities in Luke.

The setting and the series of parables in Luke 15 are reminiscent of other situations in the gospel that bring together Jesus and the groups represented in vv 1-2. The meal at the house of Levi the tax collector is attended by Jesus, his disciples, the Pharisees, their scribes, and “a large company of tax collectors and others.”The Pharisees and their scribes ask the disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus replies to their objection, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (5:27-32). In comments to a crowd including Pharisees and tax collectors, Jesus quotes the criticism that some people make of his ministry, “The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ’Behold a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ ” (7:34). In the story of Jesus and Zacchaeus the tax collector, an unidentified group of people observes, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” At the conclusion of the story Jesus explains that his association with outcasts fulfills the purpose of his ministry, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (19:1-10).

The people who call Jesus and his disciples into question in the setting in Lk 15:1-2 and the stories of Levi and Zacchaeus are all said to “murmur.” The simple verb goggyzõ and its compound diagoggyzõ suggest that the Pharisees, scribes, and others are questioning God and a representative of God. In the LXX these verbs and related words are used of the questioning attitude and rebelliousness of the sojourning people of Israel against God, Moses, and Aaron (e.g., Ex 16:2, 7, 8; Num 14:2, 27, 29, 36; 16:11; cf. 1 Cor 10:10). Further passages in Luke imply that so-called sinners are closer to God than self-righteous questioners by contrasting a Pharisee or Pharisees with tax collectors, a sinful woman, and a tax collector. Tax collectors accept John the Baptist’s baptism and God, but Pharisees reject it and God; a sinful woman is forgiven much and loves much, but Simon the Pharisee is forgiven not so much and loves not so much; a tax collector praying in the temple is truly righteous, but a Pharisee doing the same is self-righteous (7:29-30, 36-50; 18:9-14).

It seems that the Pharisees, scribes, tax collectors, and sinners form the audience for the three parables in Luke 15. The parables are a response to the Pharisees and scribes, but the tax collectors and sinners overhear the response. The narrator’s only indication of the audience is a vague third person plural in the introduction to the parable of the lost sheep, “So he told them this parable” (v 3). Jesus’ questions in the parables of the lost sheep and lost coin imply that the audience is restricted to men, “What man of you...?” but “Or what woman...?” (vv 4, 8).(19) In his other responses to murmured objections, Jesus defends his ministry to tax collectors and sinners in pointed sayings. In this parabolic response he forsakes his usual tactic of short personal defense for a story discussion of the relationship of God, repentant sinner, and self-righteous person.

The parable of the lost coin is structured in three parts: a question, an introduced quotation, and an interpretative conclusion. The question introduces the woman and her ten silver coins and tells of her losing, seeking, and finding of one of the coins. The form of the question “Or what woman.. .does not...?” assumes that the audience of the parable is familiar with women who lose, seek, and find, drachmas as a unit of coinage, and searches in ancient houses. The introduced quotation reports the woman’s finding of the lost coin, summoning of friends and neighbors, and words of invitation. There is no indication that the audience is supposed to be familiar with parties for the finding of lost coins. The interpretative conclusion relates the joy shared by the woman and her friends and neighbors to the joy of God in the presence of angels or to the joy shared by God and the angels over one repentant sinner. (20)

The structure and vocabulary of the parables of the lost sheep and lost coin are remarkably similar, a fact suggesting that they should be heard, read, and interpreted as a pair.(21) Both consist of a question, an introduced quotation, and an interpretative conclusion and are concerned with losing, searching, finding, and shared joy. In order to understand the role of the parable of the lost coin in Jesus’ response to the Pharisees and scribes, we should first consider how it is like and how it is unlike the pair parable of the lost sheep.

The question in the parable of the lost sheep not only assumes that the audience is familiar with shepherds who lose, seek, and find, flocks of sheep, and searches in the wilderness but also asks the men in the audience to see themselves in the role of the shepherd, “What man of you... does not. ..? ” The corresponding elements in the questions in the parables of the lost sheep and lost coin are “what man of you” and “what woman.” one hundred sheep and ten silver coins, one lost sheep and one lost coin, the searches of the man and the woman, and the concluding “until he finds it” and “until she finds it.” In addition to the level of participation expected from the audience, there are several important variations amid all the correspondences. The ninety-nine sheep are involved in losing, seeking, and finding in a way that the nine coins are not. It is not only that one sheep is lost; it is that “one of them” is lost. The shepherd leaves the ninety-nine in the wilderness at the risk of losing them and in order to recover the one lost sheep. (22) In his search the shepherd traverses an unspecified distance. The woman’s search is described in more detail and involves careful seeking in the confines of a relatively small space.(23) The shepherd is a moderately rich man looking for one of a hundred sheep, and the woman is a relatively poor woman looking for one of ten coins.(24) The complementary points seem to be that the large size of the flock does not diminish the shepherd’s concern for one stray sheep and that the small sum of drachmas makes it very important for the woman to recover the one lost coin.

The introduced quotations report the finding of the lost, summoning of friends and neighbors, words of invitation, and occasions for rejoicing. The shepherd’s joy is reported in vivid detail. Once he has found the lost sheep, “he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing,” and returns home. Members of a single sex are invited to the parties for the lost sheep and the lost coin. The shepherd calls together “his men friends and neighbors,” and the woman calls together “her women friends and neighbors.” The wording of the invitations and occasions for rejoicing is similar, “Rejoice with me, because I have found my lost sheep!” and “Rejoice with me, because I have found the coin that I lost!”(25)

In the interpretative conclusions the common elements are joy, celestial settings, and one repentant sinner. The joy “in heaven” and “before the angels of God” is supposed to be like the joy of the man, the woman, and their friends and neighbors. Only the parable of the lost coin suggests that the joy of God and the angels is the shared joy of a party situation, The comparison of one repentant sinner and ninety-nine righteous people in the parable of the lost sheep corresponds to the portrayal of the one hundred sheep. The interpretative conclusion in the parable of the lost coin focuses on one repentant sinner; similarly, the question focuses on the one lost coin.(26)

The parallel roles of the man in the parable of the lost sheep and the woman in the parable of the lost coin can be interpreted as complementary illustrations of God’s losing, seeking, finding, and joy. This is a tentative reading inasmuch as the interpretative conclusion limits the parallelism to their like joy.(27) The characters in the parallel roles, the rich man and the poor woman, are sexually and socially comple- mentary. Their losing is a familiar “no fault” occurrence. Men with sheep and women with coins will lose one of them sooner or later. Seeking is the sequel to losing. His search is extensive, her search is intensive, and both searches are unceasing, “until he finds it” and “until she finds it.”Their joy is the complementary and shared joy of parties of men and women and, so it seems to me, so abundant or superabundant as to be absurd.(28) Parties for the finding of one lost sheep and one lost coin! Some or all of this is meant to apply to God: losing of sinners as a factor in salvation history; extensive, intensive, and unceasing searching for the lost until they are found; shared and superabundant joy; and universalism expressed in sexual and social complementarity.

Although the structure of question, introduced quotation, and interpretative conclusion does not reappear in the parable of the lost or prodigal son in Lk 15:11-32, some of the thematic ideas and vocabulary of the first two parables are repeated here and there. The prodigal son characterizes himself as a repentant sinner in the speech he rehearses and repeats in part in the presence of his father, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me as one of you hired servants” (vv 18-19, 21). The father twice sums up his son’s return in the terms applied to the sheep and the coin, “he was lost, and is found” (vv 24, 32). He also proclaims his son’s return as an occasion for great joy (vv 23, 32). (29)

The portrayal of the father develops one of the elements in the characterizations of the man and the woman. Although he describes his son as lost and found, he is not said to have lost, sought, and found him. Considerable attention, however, is devoted to his support of shared and superabundant joy. He provides for a lavish celebration of dance, dining, and instrumental music and tries to persuade his elder son to join in the festivities. The elder son is portrayed as a righteous or self-righteous man. He characterizes himself as his father’s faithful servant and complains that there has not been the least celebration for him and his friends. The father’s lack of joy over his elder son and his service is like God’s lesser joy over ninety-nine righteous people. The lost son is more like a repentant sinner than are the one lost sheep and the one lost coin. The son repents and returns to his father, but the sheep and the coin are retrieved on the initiative of the man and the woman.

In their basic outline the relationship of God, repentant sinner, and righteous person and the roles in the parables mirror the relationship and roles of the characters in the introductory setting. The man, the woman, the father, and Jesus in his ministry to tax collectors and sinners reflect divine interest and involvement in the cause of the lost. Divine interest and involvement are represented in terms of losing, searching, finding, sharing joy, and welcoming into table-fellowship. The sheep, coin, and son suffer the same fate as “one repentant sinner” in that they are lost and found. The Pharisees and scribes dismiss the tax collectors and sinners as lost souls, but their coming to Jesus suggests the possibility of retrieval or return to God. They are or can be found. The elder son and the Pharisees and scribes are righteous or self-righteous people. The elder son is upset about the party for his brother, and the Pharisees and scribes object to receptions including people in need of repentance. Thus far Jesus defends his ministry in response to the Pharisees and scribes.

The full story discussion of the relationship of God, repentant sinner, and righteous person that forms his defense transcends the particular situation. Amid all the structural and thematic repetitions, each parable is allowed to make a special contribution to the discussion. The particular concern of the portrayal of the woman’s losing, seeking, finding, and rejoicing in the parable of the lost coin seems to be her careful search with broom and lamp in the confines of a dark and dusty house. My tentative reading of the parallel roles of the man and the woman interpreted her search as an illustration of God’s intensive seeking in respect to “one repentant sinner.”

A further and related point is that she is the only character in the three parables who is said to “seek” and to “seek carefully” at that. Luke uses “seek,” a rendering of the verb zëteö, of all sorts of searching, including Jesus seeking and saving of the lost in the Zacchaeus story.(30) It is possible that Luke modeled the woman’s “seeking” on the Son of Man’s “seeking” or vice versa. Since zēteõ is not a characteristic term for his mission, the parallelism, although attractive, remains uncertain. Elsewhere Luke reserves words related to epimelõs, “carefully,” for relationships of special friendliness and neighborliness. The Good Samaritan lavished special care on his adopted neighbor, and Paul’s friends do the same for him during a stop on his journey to Rome (Lk 10:34, 35; Acts 27:3).(31) Perhaps the adverb in the parable suggests something of God’s special concern for the lost.

1. E. Babelon, Traité des monnaies grecques et romaines. Théorie el doctrine (Paris: Lerous, 1901) 401-21; F. Lenormant, “DRACHMA (Drachmē);’ Dictionnaire des antiquités grecques et romaines 2.397-403.

2. H. Chantraine, “Denarius,” Der kleine Pauly 1.1488.

3. E. Babelon, Traité, 500-501; F. Lenormant, “DRACHMA,” 403.

4. W. Wruck, Die syrische Provinzialprägung von Augustus bis Traian (Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1931) esp p. 87.

5. E. Babelon, Traité, 502-4.

6. Josephus is the starting point for R. S. Hanson’s study of Tyrian coinage in Galilee (Tyrian Influence in Upper Galilee [Meiron Excavation Project 2: Cambridge, MA: American Schools of Oriental Research. 1980]).

7. For the parable, see K., E. Bailey, Poet and Peasant: A Literary Cultural Approach to the Parables in Luke (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1976) 157; J. Jeremias, Parables, 134-35. For ancient and modern ornaments, see H. Weippert, ”Schmuck,” Biblisches Reallexikon (2d ed.), 282-89; S. Weir, ”A Bridal Headdress from Southern Palestine,” PEQ 105 (1973) 101-9.

8. V. Sussman, Ornamented Jewish Oil-Lamps: From the Destruction of the Second Temple through the Bar-Kochba Revolt (Westminster: Aris & Philips, 1982) 1-12; J. Toutain, “LUCERNA, LYCHNUS,” Dictionnaire des antiquités grecques et romaines 3.1320-39.

9. R. H. Smith. “The Household Lamps of Palestine in New Testament Times,”BA 29 (1966) 2-27; V. Sussman, Oil-Lamps, 14.

10. S. Saprai, Archäologie, 1.77; E. Saglio, “SCOPAE,” Dictionnaire des antiquités grecques el romaines 4.1122.

11. S. Safrai “Home and Family,” The Jewish People in the First Century: Historical Geography, Political History, Social, Cultural and Religious Life and Institutions (ed. S. Safrai and M. Stern; CRINT 1; 2 vols.; Assen: Van Gorcum, 1974-76) 2.733-34.

12. V. Corbo, The House of St. Peter at Capharnaum (Publications of the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum, Collectio minor 5; Jerusalem: Franciscan Printing Press, U1969) 39.

13. S. Safrai, “Home and Family, ” 730-35.

14. Luke’s understanding of family dwellings is not limited to Palestinian structures; see J. A. Fitzmyer, The Gospel According to Luke (AB 28; 2 vols.; Garden City; Doubleday, 1982-85) 1.582.

15. Str-B 2.212. “Something” renders a disputed word in the Str-B translation of Midr. Cant. 1:1 (79b).

16. “Garbage sweepings” is a rendering of kallysmata. Kalymmata, “boards,” “curtains,” or other types of coverings, is the manuscript reading. See LSJkallysma” and “kalymma.”

17. J. A. Fitzmyer (Luke, 2.1080) comments. “Luke may intend to depict her as miserly.”

18. For the reputation and status of tax collectors, see O. Michel, “telõnēs,” TWNT 8.98-106/TDNT 8.99-105.

19. J. Jeremias (“Tradition und Redaktion in Lukas 15.” ZNW 62 [1971] 188-89) takes v 4 as proof that v 3 is a redactional addition. Shepherding was a sinful profession, and Pharisees and scribes would not have been able to imagine themselves in the role of the shepherd.

20. For the idea of shared joy, see A. F. Walls, ’“In the Presence of the Angels’ (Luke XV 10),” NovT 3 (1959) 314-16.

21. For outlines of their common structure and vocabulary, see J. J. Bartolomé, “Comer en común. Una costumbre tipica de Jesús y su proprio comentario (Lc 15),” Salesianum 44 (1982) 673-74.“

22. J. Jeremias (Parables, 133-34) tries to fill in the details of the shepherd’s search.

23. L. Ramaroson (“Le coeur du Troisième Évangile: Lc 15,” Bib 60 [1979] 350-51) observes that the second parable in the pair emphasizes searching.

24. J. A, Fitzmyer, Luke, 2.1080.

25. The renderings of the parallel passages are my translations.

26. In the interpretative conclusion of the parable of the lost sheep, the joy is eschatological or future joy (“there will be more joy”). In the parable of the lost coin the joy is present joy (“there is joy” ). See L. Ramaroson, “Le coeur,” 351 n. 4.

27. Scholarly interpreters of the parable tend to include seeking in the parallelism; e. g., J. A. Fitzmyer, Luke, 2.1080.

28. For a general study of atypical characters, events, and circumstances in the parables, see N. A. Huffmann, “Atypical Features in the Parables of Jesus,” JBL 97 (1978) 207-20. E Linnemann (Gleichnisse Jesu. Einführung und Auslegung [6th ed.; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1981] 72) interprets the shared joy at the party for the lost coin as a special human touch. See also J. D. M. Derrett, “Fresh Light on the Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin,” NTS 26 (1979) 41-42.

29. For verbal repetitions in the three parables, see J. J. Bartolomé, “Comer en común,” 676-77. For a summary of the thematic ideas of Luke 15, see L. Ramaroson, “Le coeur,” 358-59.

30. For Luke’s use of the verb, see 2:48-49; 5:18; 6:19; 9:9; 11:9-10, 16, 24, 29; 12:29, 31, 48; 13:6-7, 24; 15:8; 17:33; 19:3, 10, 47; 22:2, 6; 24:5.

31. Lk 10:34, 35 epimelēthē, epimelēthētì; Acts 27:3 epimeleias. The only other NT reference is in 1 Tim 3:5.

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