Barth’s reading of the Parable of the Prodigal Son in Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead: Exploring Christlikeness and homecoming in the novel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

While the theological and literary significance of Calvin and of the parable of the Prodigal Son in Marilynne Robinson’s novel Gilead has been critically explored, the role of the theology of Karl Barth and his understanding of the parable has been largely ignored. Here, Barth’s presence in the novel is discussed as an influence on the development of John Ames’s self-understanding in theological terms, in particular through his growing identification with the younger son in the parable, as well as with the father. It is argued that the relationship between the Prodigal Son, Ames and the reader is given focus in the themes of Christlikeness and homecoming which Barth’s reading of the parable encourages.
Keywords: Marilynne Robinson, Gilead, Karl Barth, John Calvin, parable of the Prodigal Son, Christlikeness, homecoming
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)100-116
JournalLiterature and Theology
Volume32
Issue number1
Early online date23 Aug 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018

Keywords

  • Marilynne Robinson
  • Gilead
  • Karl Barth
  • John Calvin
  • parable of the Prodigal Son
  • Christlikeness
  • homecoming

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Barth’s reading of the Parable of the Prodigal Son in Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead: Exploring Christlikeness and homecoming in the novel'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this