Week 8 – Response to Eric

Although I whole-heartedly responded to the two Sugirathajah readings affectively as Eric did, I was caught in “rapture” at the hermeneutical response of Mark by these two men.   I too struggle with these ideas:  Jesus as top down autocrat; redefining family and leadership into egalitarian terms, yet contradicting it with a lifestyle of hierarchy; even defining the Kingdom as one founded on “might-as-right” ideology, as he sees Mark telling us the story.  Of this lack of agreement and it’s emotive response, I have no quarrels.  Where I would disagree or depart, however, is the nature with which we dismiss this reading.  Eric writes:

In his piece on the pro-colonial overtones present in Mark’s depiction of the power of Jesus, Liew, stands in opposition to hundreds of years of biblical and cultural interpretations of the Gospel of Mark.

What I see herein, and have heard or read within other reflections about our coursework, is the “standard”, “classic”,  or “normal” interpretation of the text.  I would gently offer that this statment is made from the interepretive aspects of a historio-critical hermeneutic.  It is an assumption however, and if I am incorrect, Eric, please let me know.  A valid hermeneutic, it includes historical context & language translation, and is a beneficial and fruitful means to exegete text.  But it is also one steeped in culture, with it’s own bentness and subjective weaknesses.  In addition, it has also grown up in the empire; at least it has become the empire’s way of exegesis.  The hundreds of years of biblical interpretation, again of the sort I’m guessing Eric is alluding to, are those that are from a euro-centric position of power, authority, etc.  It is classic and normative to us, but not to Liew who lived under said empire, and hence a different perspective.

Part of the difficulty, and this includes my own response, is to allow for the post-colonial hermeneutic as a valid and fruitful way to approach a text, just as liberation, historio-critical, and missional hermenteutics are.  (Again, I struggle with this!  I don’t get it; don’t see Mark that way!)  However, if one is held above another, we have then created an ideology, a manner of exegesis in which YHWH has specifically chosen to reveal himself in Scripture in this manner only.  God in a box:  this is the way he operates, can be understood, etc.  Disagreement in dialogue is not what is at question; it is the allowance of other voices to further our understanding of God and his character and work from the voices of other.

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~ by Brian Shope on November 16, 2007.

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