Scholarship on the parables has at times negatively evaluated Luke’s treatment of the good Samaritan. While many scholars claim to hear in Luke 10:30–35 nothing less than the ipsissima vox Jesu, the verses’ supposed lack of “fit” within their Lukan frame have precipitated descriptions of the Third Evangelist as an editorial bungler. I attempt to rescue Luke from this criticism by suggesting that the parable’s content forces Jesus’s conversation partner (by means of the inherent reciprocity at work in the relationship that people living in the ancient world shared with their “neighbors”) to admit his ironic indebtedness to all Samaritans. Through the power of a metaphorical story that Jesus asks the lawyer to interpret for himself, Samaritans become for him “those who have shown mercy.” This realization serves as the ground for Jesus’s request that he “go and do likewise.”

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