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Old Testament Essays

On-line version ISSN 2312-3621
Print version ISSN 1010-9919

Abstract

KLOPPER, F.. Interpretation is all we have: A feminist perspective on the objective fallacy. Old testam. essays [online]. 2009, vol.22, n.1, pp.88-101. ISSN 2312-3621.

Feminist biblical interpretation has the task of finding the most promising reading strategy for dealing with the male bias of the biblical text, since all reading strategies are not equally valid. Feminist histories of women in ancient Israel are often coloured with objective certainty and become influential research resources. This article argues that some of these histories tell us as much about the historian as they do about the subjects of inquiry. The reason being that authors as readers cannot avoid approaching the text from their social location that determines their presuppositions and the way they read the text. Texts do not mirror historical reality; all we have is interpretation. To illustrate this point, the narrative of Hagar and Ishmael in Genesis 16 and 21 is examined through the interpretations of nineteenth-century lay women, visual interpretations from the world of art and a resistant feminist interpretation. The objective is to come to terms once again with the indeterminacy of historical inquiry.

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