1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Parable

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PARABLE (Gr. παραβολή, a comparison or similitude), originally the name given by Greek rhetoricians to a literary illustration avowedly introduced as such. In late Greek it came to mean a fictitious narrative or allegory (something that might naturally occur) by which moral or spiritual relations are set forth, as in the New Testament. The parable differs from the apologue in the inherent probability of the story itself, and in excluding animals or inanimate creatures from passing out of their natural sphere and assuming the powers of man, but it resembles it in the essential qualities of brevity and definiteness, and also in its Eastern origin. There are many beautiful examples of the parable in the Old Testament, that of Nathan, for instance, in 2 Sam. xii. 1–9, that of the woman of Tekoah in 2 Sam. xiv. 1–13, and others in the Prophets.