To do this, one must understand the relationship between Jews and Samaritans.
This is sometimes hinted at in modern interpretations of the parable but rarely fully grasped. Levine explains that they were not simply outcasts: They were the despised enemies of the Jews.
They came to be known as an unstoppable force capable of raiding and trading on four continents, yet our understanding of what led up to that June day on Lindisfarne is surprisingly shaky.
A recent discovery on a remote Baltic island is beginning to change that.
Exploratory voyages to the west took them all the way to North America.
The Vikings’ explosion across Europe and Asia and into the Americas was the result of the right combination of tools, technology, adventurousness, and ferocity.
The forensic archaeologist may also help with the excavation, using similar tools and expertise to those used at an archaeological dig.
These sometimes-unusual interpretations are no doubt an attempt to find meaning in the parable for the times and concerns of a changing audience.
And although that may be a worthy cause, Levine notes that in order to grasp the full import of the story, one must understand the times and concerns of first-century Judea, where Jesus and his followers lived.
Amy-Jill Levine of Vanderbilt University explains how getting an accurate answer to the question “Who were the Samaritans?
” can shed light on how shocking the Good Samaritan parable would have been to Jesus’ audience.