A PARABLE OF TALENT LESLIE BRISMAN Yale University Who chooseth me must give and hazard all he hath. - The Merchant of Venice T he fact that talent, in the sense of an innate but cultivable ability, 1l derives from Matthew's parable of the talents (25:14-30), makes this parable a privileged text for the study of religion and the arts. There is no doubt that the parable itself, unlike the single talent on which it focuses, has been put to "use," inspiring works that allude to it, and influencing, in a broad sense, how we regard energetic, artistic individuality. There is doubt, however, about what history of thought concerning individual . talent lies behind the parable-whether an ur-text referred to a more general question of individual ability or simply to a different, but still communal question of "use." To honor the priority of importance that the parable itself gives to interest over principal, I propose to give priority of place to a contemporary poem that makes fine use of the parable. We can then turn back to Matthew and to the vexed question of the way he turned back to, or just turned (skewed), what Jesus threw on
Religion and the Arts – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1996
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