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Context discerning the detail of scripture 2 Samuel 12: 1-22.

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Presentation on theme: "Context discerning the detail of scripture 2 Samuel 12: 1-22."— Presentation transcript:

1 Context discerning the detail of scripture 2 Samuel 12: 1-22

2 CBS: honouring the detail of scripture  In Contextual Bible Study we read unfamiliar biblical texts or unfamiliar ‘blocks’ of text read familiar texts in unfamiliar ways  In the “Tamar Campaign” we offered the church an unfamiliar text.  But we are now re-reading this once unfamiliar text in an unfamiliar way …

3 The Tamar Bible study  1. Listen to a dramatic reading of 2 Samuel 13:1-22. What you think the text is about?  2. Who are the main characters in this story and what do we know about them?  3. What is the role of each of the male characters in the rape of Tamar?  4. What does Tamar say and what does Tamar do?  5. Are there women like Tamar in your church and/or community? Tell their story.  7. What resources are there in your community for survivors of rape?  8. What will you now do in response to this Bible study?

4 A new question …  The Ujamaa Centre began working with the Tamar CBS in 1996, and the Tamar Campaign was launched in  Since then we and others have done hundreds, even thousands, of this CBS.  A common challenge that is posed to us by women is, “Please come and work with our men”.  Two constraints: Working with those who ‘invite’ us … Discerning an appropriate biblical text …

5 New ‘space’ for men  The advent of HIV has gradually opened up space for men to take more responsibility for their sexuality, particularly since the roll-out of ARVs  So we have been able to launch a “Redemptive Masculinities” campaign alongside the “Tamar Campaign”  We began to receive invitations or at least opportunities to work with men

6 In search of scripture  We work, increasingly, with a sense of the contestation within scripture, recognising both “texts of terror” for women and texts that offer potentially “redemptive masculinities”  So we began to experiment with a series of biblical texts with the potential for exploring alternative forms of masculinity, including Mark 5:21-6:1 and Matthew 20:17-33  But, quite recently, we have returned to 2 Samuel 13, the story of Tamar.

7  Most men who have participated in the Tamar CBS have found it an empowering experience, enabling them “to talk about things we do not talk abut in church”.  They have been able to recognise the complicity of patriarchal structures and so the roles of each of the male characters in the rape of Tamar.  But the focus has been on Tamar, and the men have been seen as perpetrators, so most of the male participants have identified with Tamar, standing in solidarity with her.  And while some of the male participants did identify with Absalom, the male servants, and David, very few identified with Amnon.  Then during a workshop in 2007, I ‘noticed’ verse 2; this verse, I realised, had the capacity to enable ordinary men to identify with Amnon.  This began a process of re-reading this text in search of redemptive masculinities.

8 ‘New’ detail in 2 Samuel 13:1-22  1. Listen to the text being read dramatically. Have you heard this text read publicly … on a Sunday? Share your experiences of this text.  2. Who are the characters and what do we know about each of them?  3. What is the role of each of the male characters in the rape of Tamar?

9  4. How would you characterise Amnon’s masculinity? Consider: What prevents Amnon initially from acting on his love/desire for Tamar (v2)? What is it that changes Amnon’s love (v1) to lust (v2), and then enables him to act on his lust (v4-6)? How does he react to Tamar’s attempts to reason with him (v14)? How does he behave after he has raped Tamar (v15-17)?  5.What kind of man does Tamar expect or hope Amnon to be? Consider: What does she say (v12-13,16), and what do each of the things she says tell us about her understanding of what it means to be ‘a man’? What does she do (v19), and what do each of things she does tell us about her understanding of what it means to be ‘a man’?

10  Question 6: What are the dominant forms of masculinity in our contexts (in each age group), and what alternative forms of masculinity can we draw on from our cultural and religious traditions?  Question 7: How can we raise the issue of masculinity in our various gender and age- groups? Action plan 1: an immediate plan of action for your context Action plan 2: a more long-termed action plan Action plan 3: a ‘dream’ action plan

11  1. Have you heard this text read publicly … on a Sunday?  2. Who are the characters and what do we know about each of them?  3. What is the role of each of the male characters in the rape of Tamar?  4. How would you characterise Amnon’s masculinity?  5. What kind of man does Tamar expect or hope Amnon to be?  6. What are the dominant forms of masculinity in our contexts (in each age group), and what alternative forms of masculinity can we draw on from our cultural and religious traditions?  7. How can we raise the issue of masculinity in our various gender and age-groups?  1 In front of the text =  Community appropriation  2 On the text =  Literary analysis  3 On the text and behind the text =  Literary and socio-historical analysis  4 In front of the text =  Community appropriation

12 Context discerning scriptural detail  Scripture has a remarkable capacity ‘to speak anew’  The guiding interpretive principle in our work is: “I will not let you go, unless you bless me” (Genesis 32:26)  We may limp, as a consequence of wrestling with the detail of scripture, but we will persist, contending for readings that bring liberation and abundant life for all (John 10:10)


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