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Reading from Cultural Spaces

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A one-session presentation on culturally-contextual biblical interpretation and the difference that culture makes when reading the Bible.

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Reading from Cultural Spaces

  1. 1. Reading from Cultural SpacesThe Difference that Culture Makes in Biblical Interpretation
  2. 2. Background “The Flesh and Blood Reader”Fernando Segovia. “Toward a Hermeneutics of theDiaspora: A Hermeneutics of Otherness andEngagement.” Pages 1-35 in Reading From This Place.Volume I: Social Location and Biblical Interpretation inthe United States. Ed. Fernando F. Segovia and MaryAnn Tolbert. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1995.
  3. 3. The “Culture” ExerciseThree Questions: What is your culture? In what ways do you reflect or resist your culture? How does your culture influence your reading of the biblical text?
  4. 4. Performing Culture Marlon Esguerra
  5. 5. Culturally ContextualBiblical Interpretation
  6. 6. Culturally Contextual Biblical InterpretationWhat is CULTURE?“The concept of culture I espouse…is essentially a semioticone. Believing, with Max Weber, that man is an animalsuspended in webs of significance he himself has spun, Itake culture to be those webs, and the analysis of it to betherefore not an experimental science in search of law but aninterpretative one in search of meaning.” ~Clifford Gertz, The Interpretation of CultureCulture is a “system of discriminations and evaluations… italso means that culture is a system of exclusions” ~Edward Said, The World, the Text, and the Critic
  7. 7. Culturally Contextual Biblical InterpretationWhat do we mean by CONTEXT?Three spheres or “worlds” of context:1) World behind the text2) World of the text3) World in front of the text
  8. 8. Culturally Contextual Biblical InterpretationWhat is BIBLICAL INTERPRETATION? Question(s): What makes for good biblical interpretation? What are our assumptions? What is our criteria? Who decides? What role does culture play in the questions above?
  9. 9. Mark 7:24-2824 From there he set out and went away to the region of Tyre.* He entered a house and did not want anyone to know he was there. Yet he could not escape notice, 25but a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately heard about him, and she came and bowed down at his feet. 26Now the woman was a Gentile, of Syrophoenician origin. She begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. 27He said to her, „Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children‟s food and throw it to the dogs.‟ 28But she answered him, „Sir,* even the dogs under the table eat the children‟s crumbs.‟ 29Then he said to her, „For saying that, you may go—the demon has left your daughter.‟ 30So she went home, found the child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.
  10. 10. Readers Reading Abraham/Sarah/Hagar (Gen 16 and 21) Genesis 16 and 21 Readers Reading Genesis 16 and 21  Gerhard von Rad: 20th C. German scholar, Lutheran pastor  Phyllis Trible: late 20th C. first gen. feminist biblical scholar  Delores Williams: late 20th C. Womanist theologian
  11. 11. Readers Reading Abraham/Sarah/Hagar (Gen 16 and 21) Genesis 16 and 21 Readers Reading Genesis 16 and 21  Gerhard von Rad: 20th C. German scholar, Lutheran pastor “…a fainthearted faith that cannot leave things with God and believes it necessary to help things along.”
  12. 12. Readers Reading Abraham/Sarah/Hagar (Gen 16 and 21) Genesis 16 and 21 Readers Reading Genesis 16 and 21  Gerhard von Rad: 20th C. German scholar, Lutheran pastor “…a fainthearted faith that cannot leave things with God and believes it necessary to help things along.” “so conceived in defiance or in little faith cannot be the heir of promise.”
  13. 13. Readers Reading Abraham/Sarah/Hagar (Gen 16 and 21) Genesis 16 and 21 Readers Reading Genesis 16 and 21  Gerhard von Rad: 20th C. German scholar, Lutheran pastor “…a fainthearted faith that cannot leave things with God and believes it necessary to help things along.” “so conceived in defiance or in little faith cannot be the heir of promise.”
  14. 14. Readers Reading Abraham/Sarah/Hagar (Gen 16 and 21) Genesis 16 and 21 Readers Reading Genesis 16 and 21  Gerhard von Rad: 20th C. German scholar, Lutheran pastor  Phyllis Trible: late 20th C. first gen. feminist biblical scholar “Yet she experiences exodus without liberation, revelation without salvation, wilderness without covenant, wanderings without land, promise without fulfillment, and unmerited exile without return.”
  15. 15. Readers Reading Abraham/Sarah/Hagar (Gen 16 and 21) Genesis 16 and 21 Readers Reading Genesis 16 and 21  Gerhard von Rad: 20th C. German scholar, Lutheran pastor  Phyllis Trible: late 20th C. first gen. feminist biblical scholar “Yet she experiences exodus without liberation, revelation without salvation, wilderness without covenant, wanderings without land, promise without fulfillment, and unmerited exile without return.”
  16. 16. Readers Reading Abraham/Sarah/Hagar (Gen 16 and 21) Genesis 16 and 21 Readers Reading Genesis 16 and 21  Gerhard von Rad: 20th C. German scholar, Lutheran pastor  Phyllis Trible: late 20th C. first gen. feminist biblical scholar “Yet she experiences exodus without liberation, revelation without salvation, wilderness without covenant, wanderings without land, promise without fulfillment, and unmerited exile without return.”
  17. 17. Readers Reading Abraham/Sarah/Hagar (Gen 16 and 21) Genesis 16 and 21 Readers Reading Genesis 16 and 21  Gerhard von Rad: 20th C. German scholar, Lutheran pastor  Phyllis Trible: late 20th C. first gen. feminist biblical scholar “Yet she experiences exodus without liberation, revelation without salvation, wilderness without covenant, wanderings without land, promise without fulfillment, and unmerited exile without return.”
  18. 18. Readers Reading Abraham/Sarah/Hagar (Gen 16 and 21) Genesis 16 and 21 Readers Reading Genesis 16 and 21  Gerhard von Rad: 20th C. German scholar, Lutheran pastor  Phyllis Trible: late 20th C. first gen. feminist biblical scholar “Yet she experiences exodus without liberation, revelation without salvation, wilderness without covenant, wanderings without land, promise without fulfillment, and unmerited exile without return.”
  19. 19. Readers Reading Abraham/Sarah/Hagar (Gen 16 and 21) Genesis 16 and 21 Readers Reading Genesis 16 and 21  Gerhard von Rad: 20th C. German scholar, Lutheran pastor  Phyllis Trible: late 20th C. first gen. feminist biblical scholar “Yet she experiences exodus without liberation, revelation without salvation, wilderness without covenant, wanderings without land, promise without fulfillment, and unmerited exile without return.”
  20. 20. Readers Reading Abraham/Sarah/Hagar (Gen 16 and 21) Genesis 16 and 21 Readers Reading Genesis 16 and 21  Gerhard von Rad: 20th C. German scholar, Lutheran pastor  Phyllis Trible: late 20th C. first gen. feminist biblical scholar  Delores Williams: late 20th C. Womanist theologian “The story of the Egyptian slave and her Hebrew mistress is hauntingly reminiscent of the disturbing accounts of black slavewomen and white mistresses during slavery.”
  21. 21. Readers Reading Abraham/Sarah/Hagar (Gen 16 and 21) Genesis 16 and 21 Readers Reading Genesis 16 and 21  Gerhard von Rad: 20th C. German scholar, Lutheran pastor  Phyllis Trible: late 20th C. first gen. feminist biblical scholar  Delores Williams: late 20th C. Womanist theologian “The story of the Egyptian slave and her Hebrew mistress is hauntingly reminiscent of the disturbing accounts of black slavewomen and white mistresses during slavery.”
  22. 22. Readers Reading Abraham/Sarah/Hagar (Gen 16 and 21) Genesis 16 and 21 Readers Reading Genesis 16 and 21  Gerhard von Rad: 20th C. German scholar, Lutheran pastor  Phyllis Trible: late 20th C. first gen. feminist biblical scholar  Delores Williams: late 20th C. Womanist theologian “The story of the Egyptian slave and her Hebrew mistress is hauntingly reminiscent of the disturbing accounts of black slavewomen and white mistresses during slavery.”
  23. 23. Readers Reading Abraham/Sarah/Hagar (Gen 16 and 21) Genesis 16 and 21 Readers Reading Genesis 16 and 21  Gerhard von Rad: 20th C. German scholar, Lutheran pastor  Phyllis Trible: late 20th C. first gen. feminist biblical scholar  Delores Williams: late 20th C. Womanist theologian Kevin, Interfaith Youth Core, “When IshmaelComes Home”

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