Job in dialogue with Edward Said : contrapuntal hermeneutics, pedagogical development, and a new approach to Biblical interpretation
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Biblical interpretation in the contemporary context of globalisation faces a variety of challenges. This thesis addresses the challenges presented to the discipline by the incorporation of poststructuralism, postcolonialism, and liberation theologies, particularly the problem of interpretive ghettoisation and the ethics of contemporary biblical interpretation. It proposes one possible answer to the question of how the field of biblical hermeneutics can move beyond the segregation passively encouraged by subjectivity and self-determination toward the integration of academic and vernacular hermeneutics in the interests of justice for the dominated and the reconstitution of the dominant. This thesis first presents the interpretive theories of Edward W. Said, addresses the major criticisms of his work, and proceeds to discuss the adaptation of his concept of contrapuntal reading to the interpretation of biblical texts. Second, it presents a survey of current work in the field which attempts to overcome the gap between academic and vernacular hermeneutics and critiques these approaches in light of Said’s concepts. Third, it presents the book of Job as an appropriate context in which to explore the possibilities of contrapuntal hermeneutics. This section analyses various academic and vernacular interpretations of the book of Job and places these interpretations in contrapuntal dialogue over the course of three chapters. The first of these chapters explores the possibilities for dialogue between those interpretations that view suffering as a key theme in the book and those that do not; the second chapter explores interpretations of the book of Job and the issue of suffering in various Euro-North American psychological contexts and in various African contexts of HIV/AIDS; and the third chapter juxtaposes academic and vernacular interpretations of the book of Job in various Asian contexts. Finally, the study closes with an argument for pedagogical reform based upon the ethical and interpretive insights of contrapuntal hermeneutics.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Embargo Date: 2019-09-28
Embargo Reason: Thesis restricted in accordance with University regulations. Electronic version restricted until 28th September 2019
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