n Neotestamentica - The Q parables of the mustard seed and leaven : half-baked and garden-variety metaphors? - research

Volume 53 Number 2
  • ISSN : 0254-8356
  • E-ISSN: 2518-4628


The parables of the mustard seed and leaven have received countless interpretations over the years. Out of these, interpretations that relate these parables to categories of either impurity or growth (but also contrast) predominate. This article will critically evaluate these approaches before proposing a novel avenue of interpretation. The article relates in three distinct ways to the research and person of Lilly Nortjé-Meyer. Firstly, it treats a “gender-pair” in the Sayings Gospel Q, which links up with Lilly’s work on gender (e.g., Nortjé-Meyer 2008; 2010). As commentators and Q scholars often remark, Q has a tendency to describe male and female behaviour in conjunction, often as consecutive examples or parables of human behaviour in general (see, e.g., Batten 1994, 47–49). The parables of the mustard seed and leaven represent one instance of this tendency in Q. Secondly, in ways that will become clear, the article relates directly to Lilly’s most recent focus on the liberation of animals and the interconnectedness of all creation (e.g., Nortjé-Meyer 2019). Thirdly, also in ways that will become clear, the article relates strongly to Lilly’s focus and intent with her research to promote the liberation of humans, especially those who suffer in this world (e.g., Nortjé-Meyer 2002; 2018). It is a huge pleasure and honour to dedicate this article to my friend and colleague, Lilly Nortjé-Meyer.

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Article metrics loading...


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error