Reinventing ourselves : white male biblical scholars and the responsibility towards the other

Pérez, Garcés Juan Luis (2003-03)

Thesis (DTh)--Stellenbosch University, 2003

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The problem discussed in this thesis is how to resist and subvert the complicity of biblical studies with neo-colonialism as a white male biblical scholar. Traditionally the interpretation of the bible by white male biblical scholars has not been recognised as an interested and situated practice, unlike the interpretations by readers from marginalised backgrounds. The thesis put forward here is that it is the other - understood as infinite and irreducible - that opens up the habitual vicious circle of identity formation and identifiable practices. This interruption is a moment of true decision, i.e. a moment where the self cannot follow any preestablished ethico-political programme but has to respond in a truly innovative way. This innovation is understood to be brought about in a double strategy, which juxtaposes a hegemonic practice with its binary opposition in a nondialectical way. The space in which such an interruption occurs is the interstitial borderline, the liminal space and interface between the self and its other. In the first part, the thesis critically engages with the work of three white male biblical scholars - Daniel Patte, Jeffrey Staley, and Gerald West - who try to overcome the traditional academic discourse of biblical studies by problematising the relationship between their own identities and their academic practices. In the second part, deconstruction, as shorthand for the work of Jacques Derrida, is subsequently presented as a thoroughly postcolonial critique of western ontological concepts and as a viable manner in which to theorise the critical contributions of Patte, Staley, and West. In the third and final part, three approaches within biblical studies - historicism, the bible as popular text, and literary approaches - are singled out and discussed as possible liminal spaces within which the identity of the white male biblical scholar can be reinvented in responsibility to the other.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die vraagstuk onder bespreking in hierdie verhandeling is hoe om, as blanke manlike bybelgeleerde die onderlinge medepligtigheid tussen die studie van die bybel en neo-kolonialisme te weerstaan en te ondermyn. Volgens tradisie word die vertolking van die bybel deur blanke manlike bybelgeleerdes nie erken as 'n ge·interesseerde en gelee praktyk nie, in teenstelling met die vertolkings van geleerdes afkomstig uit minderheidsgroepe. Die stelling wat hier gemaak word is dat dit die 'ander' is - begryp as oneindig en onverminderbaar - wat die gebruiklike bose kring van identiteitsvorming en identifiseerbare praktyke oopmaak. Hierdie onderbreking is 'n oomblik van ware besluitneming, i.e. 'n oomblik waarbinne die self nie enige voorafbepaalde eties-politiese program kan volg nie, maar waarbinne die self werklik op 'n oorspronklike en nuwe wyse moet reageer. Dit word verstaan dat hierdie nuwigheid tot stand gebring word in a dubbele strategie wat die heersende praktyk op 'n nie-dialektiese wyse langs sy binere opposisie plaas. Die ruimte waarbinne hierdie onderbreking plaasvind is die tussengrenslyn, die oorgangsruimte en skakel tussen die self en die 'ander'. Die eerste gedeelte van die verhandeling is 'n kritiese bespreking van die werke van drie blanke manlike bybelgeleerdes, naamlik Daniel Patte, Jeffrey Staley en Gerald West, wat poog om die tradisionele akademiese diskoers oor die studie van die bybel te bemeester deur die verhouding tussen hulle eie identiteite en hul akademiese gebruike te problematiseer. Die tweede gedeelte bied dekonstruksie, as snelskrif vir die werk van Jaques Derrida aan as 'n deurdagte post-koloniale kritiek van westerse ontologiese konsepte en as 'n lewensvatbare wyse waarop die kritiese bydraes van Patte, Staley en West teoretiseer kan word. In die derde en laaste gedeelte word drie benaderings tot die studie van die bybel, naamlik 'n historiese benadering, die bybel as populere teks en litirere benaderings uitgesonder en bespreek as moontlike oorgangsruimtes waarbinne die identiteit van die blanke manlike bybelgeleerde herversin en bedink kan word met verantwoordelikheid teenoor die 'ander'.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/53028
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