HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies (May 2015)

When an outsider becomes an insider: A social-scientific and realistic reading of the Merchant (Mt 13:45–46)

  • Ernest van Eck

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 71, no. 1
pp. e1 – e8


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This article presents a social-scientific and realistic reading of the parable of the Merchant, also known as the parable of the Pearl. The parable is interpreted against the backdrop of two cultural scripts that were part of the social world of its first hearers; a negative perception of merchants and mercantilism, and the concept of limited good. As is the case in several other parables of Jesus, the Merchant is about an outsider who becomes an insider, someone who epitomises the values of the kingdom.