Challenging hegemonic masculinity in John 7:53-8:11

Orpin, Dooyum Atindi (2018-12)

Thesis (MTh)--Stellenbosch University, 2018.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Violence against women can be perpetrated in various ways, among which is masculine supremacy or the desire to be a successful man at the expense of women. However, when manhood is seen as something that can only be achieved and defended through violent means, the vulnerability of women, who are in most cases regarded as the inferior and weak sex, becomes inevitable. This is one of the problems faced by Nigerian women. The experiences of my two mothers in their matrimonial home shared with my father provide a practical example of the violence Nigerian women face repeatedly. Since violence against women is often theologically motivated, it is important to address the norms that justify the abuse of women through a sound exegesis of a biblical text. This study therefore studied a text, John 7:53-8:11, which depicts violence being perpetrated against an unnamed woman in the name of a construction of manhood. In order to achieve this, this study adopted a multifaceted hermeneutical approach. In this multifaceted study, the initial focus was on understanding John 7:53-8:11 within the narrative of John through the use of narrative criticism (Chapter 2). The focus in Chapter 2 thus is on the text and the world in the text. In Chapter 3, the focus is on John and the world behind the text. It is argued that the narrative of John and the world in the text reflect the socio-cultural values of the first century GrecoRoman world, even though these two “worlds” are not identical. Chapter 3 provides an analysis in terms of how men at the time of the writing of the Gospel of John constructed their masculinity. In Chapter 4, the text is read from a feminist perspective to ascertain if it can indeed contribute to the empowerment of contemporary women. It thus focuses on the world in front of the text. It is the intention of this study to suggest an alternate way of constructing manhood. The study urges men to be redemptive, thereby taking swift steps to challenge women abuse, rather than instigating it. It is argued that one of the ways of achieving this is through Jesus Christ. Even though he was an ideal masculine figure, whose masculine attributes were divinely granted, he was also moulded by the androcentric culture of the time within which he was born and also grew up. Nevertheless, he chose to act contrary to the cultural values of his time. Occasionally, Jesus is seen in John’s Gospel as engaging with or participating in the patriarchal system of the society in which he was born. However, this did not change his attitude towards the women with whom he came into contact. He treated them as equal to men. This is a credible example that should be emulated by men of the twenty-first century, especially Nigerian men.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Geweld teen vroue kan op 'n verskeidenheid maniere gepleeg word ten einde die heerskappy van mans oor vroue te handhaaf. Wanneer manlikheid egter gesien word as iets wat slegs deur gewelddadige middele bereik en verdedig kan word, is die uitbuiting van vroue en die siening dat hulle 'n minderwaardige geslag is onvermydelik. Dit is dan ook een van die uitdagings wat Nigeriese vroue ervaar. Die ervaring wat my twee moeders in hul huwelike met my pa gehad het, is 'n praktiese voorbeeld van die geweld wat Nigeriese vroue byna daagliks ervaar. Aangesien geweld teen vroue dikwels teologies gemotiveerd is, is dit belangrik om die norme wat die misbruik van vroue regverdig, deur middel van die goeie eksegese van die Bybel aan te spreek. Hierdie studie beoog dus om Joh. 7:53-8:1, wat getuig van manlike geweld teenoor 'n naamlose vrou, te bestudeer. Om die teks verantwoordelik te lees, volg hierdie studie 'n veelvlakkige hermeneutiese benadering. In hierdie veelvlakkige studie is die aanvanklike fokus op die lees van Johannes 7:53-8:11 deur middel van narratiewe kritiek (Hoofstuk 2). Die fokus in hierdie hoofstuk is op die teks en die wêreld in die teks. Hoofstuk 3 fokus op die geïmpliseerde leser van Johannes en die wêreld agter die teks. Daar word geargumenteer dat die geïmpliseerde leser van Johannes 'n leser is wat kennis dra van die sosio-kulturele waardes van die Grieks-Romeinse wêreld van die eerste eeu wat in die teks in die teks weerspieël word, hoewel hierdie twee wêrelde nie identies is nie. Hoofstuk 3 ontleed die gekose teks in terme van hoe mans ten tye van die skryf van die Johannes-Evangelie hul manlikheid gekonstrueer het. In Hoofstuk 4 word die teks vanuit 'n feministiese perspektief gelees om vas te stel of dit inderdaad kan bydra tot die bemagtiging van kontemporêre vroue. Dit fokus dus op die wêreld voor die teks. Dit is die bedoeling van hierdie studie om 'n alternatiewe konstruksie van manlikheid voor te stel. Die studie moedig mans aan om hulleself los te maak van negatiewe vorms van manlikheid en om mee te werk aan die uitdaging van die mishandeling van vroue. Daar word geargumenteer dat een van die maniere om dit te bereik, deur Jesus Christus is. Alhoewel hy 'n ideale manlike figuur is, is hy ook gevorm deur die androsentriese kultuur van die tyd waarin hy gebore is en geleef het, soos uitgebeeld deur Johannes. Tog dui Johannes daarop dat Jesus die kulturele waardes van sy tyd uitgedaag het. Soms word Jesus in Johannes se Evangelie uitgebeeld dat hy die patriargale stelsel van die samelewing waarin hy gebore is, nagevolg het. Dit het egter nie sy houding teenoor die vroue waarmee hy in kontak gekom het, verander nie. Hy het hulle as gelyk aan mans behandel en bied hierin 'n geloofwaardige voorbeeld wat Nigeriese mans kan navolg.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/105018
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