Friday, 8 April 2016
The Parables: Jewish Tradition and Christian Interpretation,
Brad H Young, Hendricksen, 1998
Chapter 11, "The Find" (pp. 199-221), page 217
Young next considers the debate as to whether, in particular, the man buying the hidden treasure is making a legal transaction. Is he, in essence, deceiving the current owner of the field and stealing what is rightly his for just the minimal value of the field?
The legal evidence as well as the silence of the parable indicate that the man obtained the field along with everything in it without breaking the law. The process required significant risk because he was forced to sell everything he owned in order to buy the property, The self-sacrifice and risk involved in his decision to embark on a real-estate venture in which he could lose all is the fundamental plot of the story. If he found the treasure, someone else could also so do.
Young seems to be arguing that the sacrifice and risk involved added so much to the cost from the buyer's point of view that the price became fair. But does that do anything for the vendor? What do you think? Young goes on to quote another commentator:
Crossan concludes, "If the treaure belongs to the finder, buying the land is unnecessary. But if the treasure does not belong to the finder, buying the land is unjust." Scott goes further in stressing that buying the land to obtain the treasure is an unjust act and probably prevented the man from enjoying his newly discovered wealth.
How are we to resolve this?