Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - SCU Access Only


Santa Clara : Santa Clara University, 2021.

Degree Name

Licentiate in Sacred Theology (STL)


Jean-François Racine


This thesis is a social-historical and literary re-reading of the Parable of the Talents (Matt 25:14-30) that considers the narrative setting and the peasants’ socioeconomic conditions at the time of Jesus (ca. 30 CE) and those of the Matthean community (ca. 80-90 C.E.). It challenges the established social structure that rewards venture capital, wealth accumulation, and economic exploitation.

Two of the main characteristics of the Parables of Jesus are (1) their capacity to allow for richness and multivalence in meaning and signification, and (2) their evocativeness in envisioning for their varied audiences the Basileia of God that is at the center of Jesus’ teaching and ministry. A critical perspective against the dominant interpretation of the parable that vilifies the third servant as an irresponsible steward is, therefore, imperative for any contemporary reading of the Parable of the Talents that vows to be faithful to the Jesus of the Gospels and the text. The assessment of the third servant’s motive for his action shows that the action is an accusation of the master as exploitative and a resistance to economic exploitation. Thus, the third servant is a courageous role model for Jesus’ disciples to emulate. For these reasons, this thesis re-interprets the Parable of the Talents from an intercultural approach with all-encompassing African socio-cultural background. The parable’s re-interpretation is indispensable as an ethical response to the global problems of poverty and injustice, a new way to encounter Jesus in our time, and a call for a prophetic voice.

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