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Encyclopedia > Prodigal Son
The Return of the Prodigal Son (1773) by Pompeo Batoni
The Return of the Prodigal Son (1773) by Pompeo Batoni

The Prodigal Son, also known as The Lost Son is one of the best known parables of Jesus. The Return of the Prodigal Son by Pompeo Batoni. ... The Return of the Prodigal Son by Pompeo Batoni. ... Portrait of Charles Crowle Pompeo Girolamo Batoni (1708-1787), Italian painter, was born at Lucca. ... An ill digested lesson The Governess. ... Jesus, also known as Jesus of Nazareth, is the central figure of Christianity, in which context he is known as Jesus Christ (from Greek Ιησούς Χριστός) with Christ not being a name but rather a title meaning Anointed. He is also considered a very important prophet in Islam. ...

The story is found in Luke 15:11-32 of the New Testament of The Bible, where it is the third and final member of a trilogy, being immediately preceded by The Lost Sheep and The Lost Coin. The Prodigal Son refers to a son who returns home after squandering his fortunes; and the term "prodigal son" has also passed into wider usage to mean a son or other dependent who does not live up to the expectations of those who have launched him or her into a life or career. The Gospel of Luke is the third of the four canonical Gospels of the New Testament, which tell the story of Jesus life, death, and resurrection. ... // What is the New Testament? The New Testament, sometimes called the Greek Testament or Greek Scriptures, is the name given to the part of the Christian Bible that was written after the birth of Jesus. ... The Bible (From Greek βιβλια—biblia, meaning books, which in turn is derived from βυβλος—byblos meaning papyrus, from the ancient Phoenician city of Byblos which exported papyrus) is the sacred scripture of Christianity. ... A trilogy is a set of three works of art, usually literature or film, that develop a single theme over three works. ...

The story

In the story told by Jesus, a man has two sons. The younger demands his share of his inheritance while his father is still living, and goes off to a distant country where he "wasted his substance with riotous living", and eventually has to take work as a swineherd. There he comes to his senses, and determines to return home and throw himself on his father's mercy. But when he returns home, his father greets him with open arms, and does not even give him a chance to express his repentance; he kills a "fatted calf" to celebrate his return. The older brother becomes angry. But the father responds:

It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.


Although the story is traditionally referred to as "The Prodigal Son", this title is not found in the gospel, and many commentators have argued that it would be better called "The Lost Son", showing its parallels to the parables of the "Lost Sheep" and "Lost Coin" which immediately precede it in Luke 15. In all three, the theme is the concern of God for the repenting sinner, as opposed to strictly for the unfailingly righteous. Indeed, many people with no other acquaintance with the word "prodigal" mistakenly believe it means lost; it actually means extravagant (as in Charles Darwin's description in Origin of Species of nature as "prodigal in variety, though niggard in innovation"). Others have argued that the parable might be better called the story of "The Two Sons", to emphasise the role of the elder son, and the lesson against envy and low-mindedness that it contains. In his lifetime Charles Darwin gained international fame as a controversial and influential scientist. ... The 1859 edition of On the Origin of Species First published in 1859, The Origin of Species (full title On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life) by British naturalist Charles Darwin is one of the pivotal... Look up niggardly in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...

The story is one of several very well known parables of Jesus that are only found in Luke's gospel; and like the others, it expresses Luke's distinctive theology of the inclusive love and grace of God. The forgiveness of the son is not conditional on good works, since he has plainly done nothing "good" throughout the story, other than to return home, symbolic of repentance; and although he formulates the intention of admitting his guilt to his father, his father accepts him even before he gets the chance to carry his intention out, although he indeed makes his prepared speech of confession in the end. Most Christian theologians note that the story demonstrates repentance: Jesus is suggesting that the recognition by the returning son that he had erred, and his demonstration by his return that he now recognized the error of his ways, was the key to him receiving the father's forgiveness. The correct understanding of repentance as it is used in the New Testament (and, indeed, in the Hebrew Bible) is a change in the direction of one's life—which the Prodigal Son literally demonstrates. Theology is reasoned discourse concerning God (Greek θεος, theos, God, + λογος, logos, word or reason). It can also refer to the study of other religious topics. ... Divine grace is believed by Christians to be the sovereign favour of God exercised in the bestowment of blessings upon those who have no merit in them. ... Repentance is the feeling and act in which one recognizes and tries to right a wrong, or gain forgiveness from someone that they wronged. ... As a noun, Christian is an appellation and moniker deriving from the appellation Christ, which many people associate exclusively with Jesus of Nazareth. ... 11th century manuscript of the Hebrew Bible with Targum This article discusses usage of the term Hebrew Bible. For the article on the Hebrew Bible itself, see Tanakh. ...

The Eastern Orthodox Church traditionally reads this story on the Sunday of the Prodigal Son, which in their liturgical year is the Sunday before Meatfare Sunday and about two weeks before the beginning of Great Lent. One common kontakion hymn of the occasion reads, The Vladimir Icon, one of the most venerated of Orthodox Christian icons of Mary. ... The liturgical year, also known as the Christian year, consists of the cycle of liturgical seasons in some Christian churches which determines when Feasts, Memorials, Commemorations, and Solemnities are to be observed and which portions of Scripture are to be read. ... Sunday is the first or second day of the week, between Saturday and Monday, and the second day of the weekend in some cultures. ... Great Lent is the greatest fasting period in the church year in Eastern Christianity, which prepares Christians for the greatest feast of the church year, Easter (or Holy Pasch). Although it is in many ways similar to Lent in Western Christianity, there are important differences in the timing of Lent... A hymn is a song specifically written as a song of praise, adoration or prayer, typically addressed to a god. ...

I have recklessly forgotten Your glory, O Father;
And among sinners I have scattered the riches which You gave to me.
And now I cry to You as the Prodigal:
I have sinned before You, O merciful Father;
Receive me as a penitent and make me as one of Your hired servants.

External links

  • The story online

Also the title of a Hong Kong movie release in 1982, starring Yuen Biao and Sammo Hung, released by Golden Harvest Studios LLC. It was also the title of an MGM film in 1955 that starred Lana Turner as the high priestess of the goddess Astarte, and Edmund Purdom as the Prodigal Son. A failure at the time, it's surprisingly entertaining when viewed today.



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