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Of the thirty or so parables in the canonical Gospels, this was one of the four that were shown in medieval art almost to the exclusion of the others, but not mixed in with the narrative scenes of the Life of Christ the others were the Wise and Foolish Virgins , Dives and Lazarus , and the Good Samaritan.

From the Renaissance the numbers shown widened slightly, and the various scenes — the high living, herding the pigs, and the return — of the Prodigal Son became the clear favourite. Rembrandt depicted several scenes from the parable, especially the final episode, which he etched, drew, or painted on several occasions during his career. In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries the theme was a sufficiently popular subject that the Prodigal Son Play can be seen as a subgenre of the English morality play.

Many of these adaptations added to the Biblical material to lengthen the story; for example, the film The Prodigal took considerable liberties, such as adding a temptress priestess of Astarte to the tale. Oblique adaptations include that by the Reverend Robert Wilkins , who told the story of this parable in the song "Prodigal Son", which is probably best known as a cover version by the Rolling Stones on their album Beggar's Banquet.

The British heavy metal band Iron Maiden recorded a song titled "Prodigal Son", based on the parable of the same name, which appeared on their second release, Killers , in U2 recorded a song titled "The First Time" on their album Zooropa.

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While based on the parable, it presents the idea of an alternate ending to the story. It could be argued that Kelly Willard 's song, Make Me A Servant is based on what the son said to his father when he returned home. Detroit musician, Kid Rock , also recorded a song titled "Prodigal Son", which appeared on his second album The Polyfuze Method , in Kid Rock later re-recorded the track for his album The History of Rock. The Christian Rock trio BarlowGirl recorded the song "She Walked Away", influenced by the parable, [17] as part of their self-titled album.

Musician Dustin Kensrue wrote a song about the Prodigal Son entitled "Please Come Home" on the album of the same name released in The band Extreme recorded a song titled "Who Cares? British Reggae band Steel Pulse recorded a song titled "Prodigal Son" on their debut album Handsworth Revolution , recreating the Biblical story as a Rastafarian parable.

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The Post-Hardcore band "Gideon" released a song called "Prodigal Son", which appeared on their second album Milestone. Christian rock outfit The Chinese Express opened and closed their release with a two part telling of the parable with songs titled "Said the son to the Father" and "Said the Father to the Son". Post-hardcore band "Jamie's Elsewhere" also released a song titled "Prodigal Son". The Irish rap group House of Pain references the parable in one of the verses of their song, " Jump Around ".

English indie rock band alt-J references the parable in the first verse of their song "Left Hand Free". On their album Something Different , the Christian band Sidewalk Prophets included an uplifting song titled "Prodigal" with lyrics that are directed towards the Prodigal Son from the parable, or any person who is or has felt like they are in a similar situation.

The song is based on the son's prospective of coming home after he's ruined himself in the world. A Story of Homecoming , in which he describes his own spiritual journey infused with understanding based on an encounter with Rembrandt's painting of the return of the Prodigal and deals with three personages: Rudyard Kipling wrote a poem [21] giving an interpretation of the younger brother's perspective. The Parable of the Prodigal Son is also a recurring theme in the works of Rainer Maria Rilke , who interpreted the parable in a different way to the conventional reading.

His version of the parable was not so concerned with redemption and the forgiveness of family; the love of the family, and human love in general, was seen as less worthy than unreciprocated love, which is the purest form of love. In loving the family less, the Son can love God more, even if this love is not returned.

A similar parable of a lost son can also be found in the Mahayana Buddhist Lotus Sutra.


In the biblical story, there is an immediate reunion of the two. In contrast, in the Lotus sutra, the poor son does not recognize the rich man as his father. When the father sends out some attendants to welcome the son, the son panics, fearing some kind of retribution. The father then lets the son leave without telling him of their kinship. However, he gradually draws the son closer to him by employing him in successively higher positions, only to tell him of their kinship in the end. Their kinship symbolises that any being has Buddha nature. The concealment of the kinship of the father to his son is regarded as a skillful means Sanskrit: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

For other uses, see The Prodigal Son disambiguation. Parable of the Forgiving Father Hultgren, The Parables of Jesus: Fleischer and Susan C.

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Scott, Rembrandt, Rubens, and the art of their time: Yale University Press 7: The New York Times. Retrieved October 5, A Story of Misperceptions". Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies 4. Opening the Heart of the Cosmos. Language of Jesus Bibliography Films. The Parable of the Prodigal Son in arts and culture.

The Return: Grace and the Prodigal. by J. John, Chris Walley by J. John

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