Date of Award

Spring 2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Classical Studies

Thesis Advisor

Dr. Alisa DeBorde

Committee Professor

Dr. David Masterson


The parables of Jesus are well-known and oft-repeated. They are commonly taught to children in Sunday school, but Jesus used them to reveal truth to his adult audiences. This paper explores the importance of Jesus choosing to use stories to teach adults, whether these stories qualify as folklore, and also whether they can be analyzed as literature. After drawing conclusions on these matters, this paper analyzes several of the parables of Jesus according to Vladimir Propp’s Morphology of the Folktale and looks to see if Jesus told stories that fit within Propp’s proposed functions. Finally, this paper asks what can be learned from such an analysis in a culture where Christians shy away from their call to engage in the arts to establish paideia.