Most books on the parables of Jesus seem to slice away at the biblical text. They parse sentences until a parable's plot crumbles into fragments, or they so domesticate the narratives that they become little more than helpful hints for daily living. If a writer isn't careful, even the best biblical exegesis can render a parable lifeless. But David Buttrick's new book clearly belongs to a different breed. Readers may wonder if the "speaking" in Buttrick's title is a verb or an adjective. Take your pick. As the former, it indicates the book's guidance on how to unleash these picture stories from the pulpit. As the latter, it points to Buttrick's ability to show the parables' potent speaking life--an immediacy just itching to awaken the imagination.