A recent post by BHodges on bycommonconsent.com reviewed the book The Power of Parable: How Fiction by Jesus Became Fiction about Jesus. In the book, the author John Dominic Crossan wonders if the four gospels are parables? According to Hodges’ review:
. . . [Crossan] makes the unique argument that the four gospels (combining Acts with Luke) . . . are parables about Jesus, or “megaparables” as he calls them. He suggests the gospels, as with Jesus’s stories, are carefully designed stories intended to subvert social expectations and prompt self-reflection about the risen Christ. . . .
His retorical leverage for concluding the gospels are parables is two-fold: first, he explores Hebrew Bible examples of book-length parables in Ruth, Jonah, and Job to argue that such megaparables weren’t unheard of. Second, he . . . approaches the sticky question of historicity using the example of Caesar’s crossing of the Rubicon. He explores historical sources on Caesar’s famous crossing, [as a possible] mixture of fact and possible fiction.
. . . [Crossan] examines the four gospels in turn, concluding that, based on the historical communities to which each writer directed their works, they selectively shaped the story of Jesus’s life to emphasize their own agendas. . .
Most Christians suspect that much in the OT is either metaphor or parable, and not to be taken literally. And as Crossan has pointed out, there are also issues with the NT. Mormons have similar issues with the First Vision and the Book of Mormon. Everybody with faith has to grapple with tough issues related to the doctrine they chose to believe in. As science, history, anthropology, archeology, etc. progress in their knowledge of the past, we will all need to personally deal with what is metaphor and what is parable in our belief system.