In this text, Joachim Jeremias explores the variety of ways of interpreting the parables of Jesus, including their translation; the way different audiences altered the parables Jesus told; and the role of the New Testament writers in shaping their telling of the parables. He also provides a thematic discussion of the theological messages contained within the parables.
The first half of the book seeks to "recover" the "original" form of the parables, as the author believes that only by doing this that the "true" meaning can be recovered. I can find very little to commend in this methodology. Whilst I see the value of redaction criticism in exploring layers of meaning in the text, I believe that these layers are subordinate to that contained in the canonical form. I am even less comfortable with the casting vote often given to the Gospel of Thomas in arguments in this edition. In fact, the consistently positive attitude towards the Gospel of Thomas was one of the more confusing aspects of this book.
The second half of the book looks at ten key themes that underpin the majority of Jesus' parables. Whilst this work does, to certain extent, draw on the first half of the book, much of it does stand even when that derivation is disallowed. This fact does lead me to wonder further about the value of such circumlocutions. Whilst the first section appears dated in its attitude to first century Palestine and towards the text, the second section is still, I believe, a rich and worthwhile mine of resources for those looking to teach and apply the good news of Jesus in lives today.