Old Testament Essays
On-line version ISSN 2312-3621
Print version ISSN 1010-9919
NADAR, Sarojini. Beyond the "ordinary reader" and the "invisible intellectual": Shifting contextual bible study from liberation discourse to liberation pedagogy. Old testam. essays [online]. 2009, vol.22, n.2, pp.384-403. ISSN 2312-3621.
Drawing on eight years of experience gathered at contextual bible studies facilitated by the author, this article intends to push the boundaries of the understanding of the role of the "ordinary" reader and the intellectual in the process of contextual bible study (a method of bible study that attempts to work at the interface between faith communities and the academy around issues of social transformation). It argues that if transformation is the end-goal of contextual bible studies then the critical resources which the intellectual brings to the process will have to be far more emphasised and nuanced than it has been in the past; that the effects of globalisation, particularly as reflected in the ubiquitous term "biblical values" which comes up often in contextual bible studies will have to be addressed; and the identity and role of the intellectual will have to be more fully interrogated than it has been in the past. The article argues that neither an understanding that promotes "community wisdom" or "hidden transcripts" nor an understanding of the "all-powerful" intellectual is helpful in understanding the dynamics of contextual bible study. This discussion will be facilitated by elucidating some of the characteristic features of CBS, what I have termed the five C's of CBS - Community, Context, Criticality, Concientisation and Change.