I received the following message (abbreviated) from a colleague describing a new interpretation of the identity of the 'nobleman' in the parable of the talents (a/k/a parable of the pounds) as wrought by Latin American liberation theology:
"The nobleman gets rich by charging people
interest. All through the Middle Ages, charging
interest was considered a sin because one was not
loving one's neighbor as oneself. (sic) In this light, the
nobleman would not be symbolizing God but rather seen
as a "bad guy". Those servants who also charged
interest were playing along with the game and would
also be evil. The final servant recognized the
profiteering for what it was and chose not to
participate in it. In this sense, Christ was
criticizing this system in his final sentence and
lauding those who do not participate in it."
While this makes for a creative modern spin, I seriously don't think it's textually justified. My understanding (apart from WT) had been than in the Lucan spin to the Churches, the slaves were the collective Churches (and Churches are people) and their talents might have been various forms of resources. Written from the perspective of the churches vis-a-vis the synagogue communities of 80-90 CE, this was an indictment of those Churches who were not cultivating Jesus worship in the way they were supposed to. Further, the author couches the telling of this parable in Jesus' approach to Jerusalem and his assumption of authority, thus leading the hearer/reader to draw the inference that Jesus is the nobleman, not a 'villain.' I am interested in all of your thoughts and comments, both upon the alternate spin, the traditional one, my understanding, and the WT spin, of course!