Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Kenneth E. Bailey  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Non-Fiction

Born: 1930 in Bloomington, Illinois

-- Website --
-- Kenneth E. Bailey on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Bailey was born in Bloomington, Illinois and attended Monmouth College in Monmouth, Illinois.

Biographical and Professional Information

Kenneth Bailey is a writer and lecturer at the Ecumenical Institute for Theological Research in Jerusalem, Israel. He has been the Canon theologian of Episcopal Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf since 1990 and the Diocese of Pittsburgh of the Episcopal Church since 1997. In 2005, he founded and became the director of the Focus on Middle Eastern New Testament Studies.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Poet and Peasant and Through Peasant Eyes: A Literary-Cultural Approach to the Parables in Luke (Combined edition)
ISBN: 0802819478

Eerdmans. 1983

This volume is a combined edition of Poet and Peasant and Through Peasant Eyes, Kenneth Bailey's intensive studies of the parables in the gospel of Luke.

Bailey begins by surveying the development of allegorical, historical-eschatological, aesthetic, and existential methods of interpretation. Though figures like Julicher, Jeremias, Dodd, Jones, and Via have made important advances, Bailey sees the need to go beyond them by combining an examination of the poetic structures of the parables with a better understanding of the Oriental culture that informs the text.

Bailey's work within Middle Eastern peasant culture over the last twenty years has helped him in his attempt to determine the cultural assumptions that the teller of the parables must have made about his audience. The same values which underlay the impact of the parables in Christ's time, Bailey suggests, can be discovered today in isolated peasant communities in Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq. Because time has made almost no impact in these cultural pockets, it is possible to discern, for example, what it meant 2,000 years ago for a friend to come calling at midnight, or for a son to ask for his inheritance prior to his father's death.

In addition to illuminating the cultural framework of the parables, Bailey offers an analysis of their literary structure, treating the parabolic section as a whole as well as its individual components. Through its combination of literary and cultural analyses, Bailey's study makes a number of profound advances in parabolic interpretation.

Jacob & the Prodigal: How Jesus Retold Israel's Story
ISBN: 0830827277

IVP Academic. 2003

Israel, the community to which Jesus belonged, took its name from their patriarch Jacob. His story of exile and return was their story as well. In the well-known tale of the prodigal son, Jesus reshaped the story in his own way and for his own purposes. In this work, Kenneth E. Bailey compares the Old Testament saga and the New Testament parable. He unpacks similarities freighted with theological significance and differences that often reveal Jesus' particular purposes. Drawing on a lifetime of study in both Middle Eastern culture and the Gospels, Bailey offers here a fresh view of how Jesus interpreted Israel's past, his present and their future.

Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes: Cultural Studies in the Gospels
ISBN: 0830825681

IVP Academic. 2008

Beginning with Jesus' birth, Ken Bailey leads you on a kaleidoscopic study of Jesus throughout the four Gospels. Bailey examines the life and ministry of Jesus with attention to the Lord's Prayer, the Beatitudes, Jesus' relationship to women, and especially Jesus' parables. Through it all, Bailey employs his trademark expertise as a master of Middle Eastern culture to lead you into a deeper understanding of the person and significance of Jesus within his own cultural context. With a sure but gentle hand, Bailey lifts away the obscuring layers of modern Western interpretation to reveal Jesus in the light of his actual historical and cultural setting. This entirely new material from the pen of Ken Bailey is a must-have for any student of the New Testament. If you have benefited from Bailey's work over the years, this book will be a welcome and indispensable addition to your library. If you are unfamiliar with Bailey's work, this book will introduce you to a very old yet entirely new way of understanding Jesus.

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)

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