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GLOBAL INTERPRETATIONS OF CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES RLST 206 AND DIV 3845 March 12, 2012.

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Presentation on theme: "GLOBAL INTERPRETATIONS OF CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES RLST 206 AND DIV 3845 March 12, 2012."— Presentation transcript:

1 GLOBAL INTERPRETATIONS OF CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES RLST 206 AND DIV 3845 March 12, 2012

2 Today a) 3:10 Developing the first part of your Paper (next week) b) 3:50 Group Discussion (two examples of comparing multiple readings ): Numbers Ezra-Nehemiah c) 4:40 General Discussion—reports by the Scribes d) 5:00 Strategies for developing your paper

3 EZRA-NEHEMIAH: READINGS: GBC Ezra- Nehemiah Dana Nolan Fewell (USA Presenter of GBC : Alex Dahlgreen Leader: Julia Rushing Respondent: George Greene With Miladys Perez Katy Biddle Courtney Drescher Zachary King Michael Durham Nicky Hackett Brian Rossbert

4 Numbers: Jione Havea, South Pacific Islands Presenter of GBC : Brendan Matthews Leader: Shaun Kahler Respondent: Brittany Melvin With: Julie Carli Samantha Hesley Alexandria Chanel Baker Toni Bland Annie Ameha Brenda Kao Ali Stuhl

5 Your Paper -PART I- YOUR LIFE CONTEXT AND THE TEXT & GBC (30%) -PART II- YOUR CONTEXTUAL COMMENTARY 5% a) Analysis of the Text I: an Overall Presentation of the Biblical Book, so as to locate in it the passages and textual features that will be discussed in detail. (Use scholarly sources) 40% b) Analysis of the Text II: Commentary upon the passages that addresses the contextual issues). (Use scholarly sources!) PART III- 20% YOUR CONTEXTUAL COMMENTARY AND THE GBC’s -PART IV- 5% OVERALL CONCLUSIONS

6 Your Paper A Contextual Commentary 95% OF the paper is CONTEXTUAL INTERPRETATION In this class (actually everywhere) the focus is NOT on what is “ THE ” meaning of the biblical text for everyone (a universal meaning) BUT on what is “ The meaning of the biblical text ” for specific (groups of) readers A text does not have a meaning by itself Meaning occurs when the text is 1) read (analyzed) by a certain reader; 2) in a certain context (thus in relationship with other people); and 3) with a certain hermeneutical/religious/theological perspective.

7 Scriptural Criticism: 3 dimensions of reading Scripture

8 March 19: Focus on Part I 1. Galatians / Mission withSamantha Hesley John / Inclusivism, Christian Identity with Michael Durham 3. Ruth / Trust with Brittany Melvin

9 March 19: Focus on Part I: 1 group 3 presentations Leader presenting her/his Part I & GBC = 10/12 minutes (with handout) see below Respondent: what are the differences between their two contexts, problems, root-problems … What would it mean to view the RESPONDENT’s context with the DIFFERENT root-problem (either the Leader’s or the GBC’s)? How does the respondent see HIS/HER context in a different way? (with handout) Rest of the Group: What are the differences between the contexts, problems, root-problems presented by the two leaders and those of the GBC commentaries

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11 Your Paper -PART I- YOUR LIFE CONTEXT AND THE TEXT & GBC (30%) -PART II- YOUR CONTEXTUAL COMMENTARY 5% a) Analysis of the Text I: an Overall Presentation of the Biblical Book, so as to locate in it the passages and textual features that will be discussed in detail. (Use scholarly sources) 40% b) Analysis of the Text II: Commentary upon the passages that addresses the contextual issues). (Use scholarly sources!) PART III- 20% YOUR CONTEXTUAL COMMENTARY AND THE GBC’s -PART IV- 5% OVERALL CONCLUSIONS

12 PART I- (30%) a) IDENTIFYING THE LIFE- CONTEXTS b) ANALYZING IT (general) a) IDENTIFYING THE LIFE-CONTEXT in which the Biblical Book Is Interpreted. How does your life-context compare with (differ from) the life context of the GBC commentary on the same book? b) ANALYZING THE LIFE CONTEXT, its Problems and the Theological Issues it Raises Regarding the Relationship between the People of God/Believers and World. The Contextual and Theological Questions that focus 1) your reading of the biblical book and 2) the GBC reading of the book.

13 Part 1 a) IDENTIFYING THE LIFE- CONTEXT a) Introduction: Identifying the Life-Context in which the Biblical Book Is Interpreted. FOR YOU Telling stories of the believer[s] reading this text of Scripture = stories where there are problems For people in a concrete situation in life which concerns us Geographical, religious, cultural, political, economic, and/or social; individual[s], community[ies]; group[s] in this context = The raw material for understanding a context; a context from which we read the text; a context for which we read the text; a context regarding which we want to assess the value of a biblical interpretation How does your life-context compare with (differ from) the life context of the GBC commentary? (Same Questions as above)

14 Part I:IDENTIFYING THE LIFE- CONTEXT First step your paper **Tell the story** writing 200 words, that will be a section in the introductory part of your paper developing in a preliminary way the life-context you will use in your paper Using it from now on, until the end of the semester To find the teaching of each text for your chosen life- context **Tell the story** Isasi-Díaz, Ada María. En la Lucha, In the Struggle: A Hispanic Women’s Liberation Theology. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1993.

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17 PART I- YOUR LIFE CONTEXT AND THE TEXT (30%) a) Introduction: Identifying the Life-Context in which the Biblical Book Is Interpreted. Your concrete presentation of this life-context **Tell the story** [200 words] of this (these) Christian believer[s] and of the problem[s] they/he/she face[s] as these believers interact with “ the world ” the characters in the story need to be "well rounded ” “ full ” characters (with feelings, intentions, goals, etc.; they “ have a life ” ); Characters include Christian believers, but also other people with whom they interact or want to interact. the story needs to have a plot (some kind of problem in quest for a resolution) and how the characters in the story hope to resolve the problem

18 PART I- YOUR LIFE CONTEXT AND THE TEXT (30%) 1. **Tell the story** [200 words] of this (these) Christian believer[s] and of the problem[s] they/he/she face[s] as these believers interact with “ the world ” 2. Analysis # 1 What is/are the problem[s]? Which parts of life is involved? 3. Reading Scripture # 1 (“Liturgizing” for Hispanic W.) What is this book about (cite a scholarly source)? Its different parts? Which parts of it deal with the problem[s]; 4. Strategy # 1: How to address the problem? Role of Scripture? Correspond to which traditional view?

19 Part I b) ANALYZING THE LIFE CONTEXT b) Analyzing the Life Context, its Problems and the Theological Issues it Raises Regarding the Relationship between the People of God/Believers and the World The Contextual and Theological Questions that focus 1) your reading of the biblical book and 2) the GBC reading of the book.

20 PART I- YOUR LIFE CONTEXT AND THE TEXT (30%) 2. Analysis # 1 Analyzing the Life Context, its Problems and the Theological Issues it Raises Regarding the Relationship between the People of God and World. Analysis # 1a: How does the story define the problem[s]? Making it concrete: problems concerning the Relationship between the People of God and World.

21 PART I- YOUR LIFE CONTEXT AND THE TEXT (30%) Analyzing the Life Context, its Problems and the Theological Issues it Raises Regarding the Relationship between the People of God and World. Analysis # 1b: a) How does the story define the problem and root problem? Lack of/wrong knowledge, will, ability, vision/faith Reading Scripture # 1: How does reading the biblical text change the way the problem[s] and root-problem are defined? Strategy # 1: What kind of “solution” can one envision?

22 PART I- YOUR LIFE CONTEXT AND THE TEXT (30%) 1. **Tell the story** OF GBC [200 words] 2. Analysis #2 IN GBC What is/are the problem[s]? Which parts of life is involved? 3. Reading Scripture # 2 What is this book about ? Its different parts? Which parts of it deal with the problem[s]; 4. Strategy # 2: How to address the problem? Role of Scripture? Correspond to which traditional view?

23 PART I- YOUR LIFE CONTEXT AND THE TEXT (30%) Tell story # 2 = from Global Bible Commentary = Context of author Analysis # 2: How does the story # 2 define the problem[s]? The Root-problem? Reading Scripture # 2: How did reading the biblical text change the way the problem[s] and root-problem are defined? Strategy # 2: What kind of “solution” can one envision?

24 “Breaking Biblical Texts” What do we do with texts such as Numbers and Ezra-Nehemiah? In which sense are they Scripture? In which sense are they “the Word of the Lord?” Take Number 5: Ordeal of a SUSPECTED adulteress, forced to drink “ bitter water ” (holy water + dust from the floor + some bitter potion [=poison]). ””

25 “Breaking Biblical Texts” Number 5:29 This is the law in cases of jealousy, when a wife, while under her husband's authority, goes astray and defiles herself, 30 or when a spirit of jealousy comes on a man and he is jealous of his wife; then he shall set the woman before the LORD, and the priest shall apply this entire law to her. 31 The man shall be free from iniquity, but the woman shall bear her iniquity. ””

26 Or of Titus 2: Tell slaves to be submissive to their masters and to give satisfaction in every respect; they are not to talk back, 10 not to pilfer, but to show complete and perfect fidelity, so that in everything they may be an ornament to the doctrine of God our Savior. 1 Corinthians 14:33-36 As in all the churches of the saints, 34 the women should keep silence in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be subordinate, as even the law says. 35 If there is anything they desire to know, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church. 36 What! Did the word of God originate with you, or are you the only ones it has reached?

27 Or of (Psa 21:1, 9-13, NRSV) A Psalm of David.> In your strength the king rejoices, O LORD, and in your help how greatly he exults! … 9 The LORD will swallow [his enemies] up in his wrath, and fire will consume them. 10 You will destroy their offspring from the earth, and their children from among humankind. 11 If they plan evil against you, if they devise mischief, they will not succeed. 12 For you will put them to flight; you will aim at their faces with your bows. 13 Be exalted, O LORD, in your strength! We will sing and praise your power.

28 “Breaking Biblical Texts” Number 5:11-31 Lamp to my feet? Canon? Good news? Family album? Corrective glasses? Empowering Word Holy Bible? Breaking biblical texts; wrestling with biblical texts/holy texts as Jacob struggled with God/the angel at Jabbok ””

29 “Breaking Biblical Texts” Number 5:11-31 Genesis 32:24 Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket; and Jacob's hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. 26 Then he said, "Let me go, for the day is breaking." But Jacob said, "I will not let you go, unless you bless me." 27 So he said to him, "What is your name?" And he said, "Jacob.“ 28 Then the man said, "You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans, and have prevailed." ””

30 An Encounter of the Literal Kind Christ-centered interpretive concerns led another early-Christian thinker to a very different valuation the Hebrew Bible – THROW IT OUT! Marcion (c. 165 CE) – a literal reading = Lamp to my Feet or Canon/Rule of Community OR Family Album as moral teaching God asks Adam, “Where are you?” (Gen 3) God must be ignorant! God tells Joshua and the Israelites to kill innocent people in the conquest – God must be cruel and immoral. Ordeal of a SUSPECTED adulteress, forced to drink bitter water ” (holy water + dust from the floor + some bitter potion [=poison]). This god of the Hebrew Bible who created the world can not be the same God of Jesus and must therefore be a totally different god. SUPERSESSIONISM

31 Multiple Senses of Scripture John Cassianus (5th century CE) following Origen: literal The letter shows us what God and our fathers did; spiritual interpretations, subdivided into: (1) tropological, moral meaning gives us rules of daily life; (2) allegorical shows us where our faith is hid; (3) anagogical shows us where we end our strife.

32 Your Interpretations of Numbers and Ezra-Nehemiah Literal/historical? Family Album Stories in which to enter? Retelling the stories, making it your stories? Or Resisting it? Allegorical? Faith/vision Corrective Glasses, Holy Bible Moral? Models; laws to follow? Lamp to my feet Rule of Com Anagogical? Image of the End of time; the world to come? New Temple, New Jerusalem, Promise land = the Kingdom in Heaven; Paradise Corrective Glasses, Holy Bible

33 Numbers and Ezra-Nehemiah Insiders/Outsiders Insiders/Outsiders dichotomy was noted either in many of your interpretations This was one of the reasons for many of you to reject the teachings of these two books. an unacceptable way to establish one’s identity as a people or as an individual But, we must heed Alan Cooper and Susanne Scholtz’s warning (re. Leviticus) Dismissing these books is a Christian, anti-Jewish attitude (with long-ranging consequences)

34 Numbers and Ezra-Nehemiah Insiders/Outsiders In sum: yes the teachings of these books according to our interpretations are quite problematic, and should be rejected... rejections of foreign women and their children (Ezra and Nehemiah) Treatments of women (e.g., Numbers 5) Exclusion, Killing and expropriation of the “foreigners” = the natives of the land (of Canaan) But this is the teaching of these books when read either in a literal/historical or moral way (for models and laws to be followed, literally)

35 Numbers and Ezra-Nehemiah Insiders/Outsiders and Identity But one can read these texts “allegorically” (or in a midrashic way, as the Rabbis do) Insiders/Outsiders dichotomy, separation is indeed an unacceptable way to establish one’s identity (as people or as individual) When it is a contextual, ideological separation: = domination over someone else; oppression; affirming oneself by oppressing others; power games; etc. Yet, separation is necessary to gain identity: AUTONOMY

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37 EZRA-NEHEMIAH: READINGS: GBC Ezra- Nehemiah Dana Nolan Fewell (USA Presenter of GBC : Alex Dahlgreen Leader: Julia Rushing Respondent: George Greene With Miladys Perez Katy Biddle Courtney Drescher Zachary King Michael Durham Nicky Hackett Brian Rossbert

38 Numbers: Jione Havea, South Pacific Islands Presenter of GBC : Brendan Matthews Leader: Shaun Kahler Respondent: Brittany Melvin With: Julie Carli Samantha Hesley Alexandria Chanel Baker Toni Bland Annie Ameha Brenda Kao Ali Stuhl

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42 Numbers and Ezra-Nehemiah Insiders/Outsiders and Identity THREE MODES OF EXISTENCE AUTONOMY = someone with identify = ability to say “I” = separate identity RELATIONALITY: the realm of contextual relations, interactions with others, can be constructed in very different ways (reciprocal, hierarchical, etc.) according to one’s Ideology “Ideology is a ‘Representation’ of the Imaginary Relationship of Individuals to their Real Conditions of Existence” Louis Althusser, Essays on Ideology (London: Verson, 1984), p. 36 HETERONOMY: encounter with the Sacred, Holy, Mystery in which one lose oneself.

43 Numbers and Ezra-Nehemiah Insiders/Outsiders and Identity AUTONOMY = someone with identify = ability to say “I” = separate identity yes: But what kind of separation? IT CAN BE BASED ON RELATIONAL SEPARATION: contextually separating oneself from others (as having a particular knowledge, will, ability, ideological vision); Identity defined in terms of the dichotomy of insider/outsider; hierarchical relationships = I am “better” than the other; “I am” an individual belonging to this group, and not one of these “despised" outsiders We saw how problematic this way of gaining identity is. It is at the expense of others.

44 Numbers and Ezra-Nehemiah Insiders/Outsiders and Identity AUTONOMY = someone with identify = ability to say “I” = separate identity yes: But what kind of separation? It CAN ALSO BE BASED ON HETERONOMY: encounter with the Sacred, Holy, Mystery in which one loses oneself in the Other and gain oneself (= receive a “true” and “new” identity). Heteronomy/encounter with the Holy: demands separation: of a ritual (entering a liminal space or time); of a mystical experience (in silence); or of a “honeymoon experience” when the lovers are lost in each other

45 Numbers and Ezra-Nehemiah Insiders/Outsiders and Identity Is AUTONOMY primarily based on RELATIONALITY? [with disastrous consequences] Or HETERONOMY? [very much emphasized in the “priestly” material… the question is: how to be a holy people? To encounter the Holy? to be holy? If it is based on HETERONOMY, then the identity does not need to be grounded in an “insecure” way in one’s relations with others; by affirming ourselves as “better” than outsiders or of others in one’s group. Holiness, quest for holiness, models of rituals can be the focus of an allegorical/midrashic reading of Numbers and Ezra-Nehemiah and of the separation mentioned there. Rather than as literal or as moral teaching (as Christians do, thinking of “law and gospel” issues.

46 Numbers and Ezra-Nehemiah Insiders/Outsiders and Identity If HETERONOMY is primary, is the way in which identity, AUTONOMY, is primarily established Then RELATIONALITY (contextuality) does not need to be characterized by a quest for identity an “insecure” relationship with others; affirming one’s identity at the expense of others. Then RELATIONALITY – Contextuality –Ideology -- our ‘Representation’ of the Imaginary Relationship of Individuals to our Real Conditions of Existence and thus to others Can be reciprocal; and involve respecting others; affirming others in their otherness.


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