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Old Testament Essays

versão On-line ISSN 2312-3621
versão impressa ISSN 1010-9919

Old testam. essays vol.22 no.1 Pretoria  2009

 

Interpretation is all we have. A feminist perspective on the objective fallacy1

 

 

F. Klopper

University Of South Africa

Correspondence

 

 


ABSTRACT

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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BIBLIOGRAPHY

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_____ "The history of women in ancient Israel: Theory, method and the book of Ruth." Pages 211-231 in Her master's tools? Feminist and postcolonial engagements of historical-critical discourse. Edited by Vander Stichele, C. & Penner T. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2005.         [ Links ]

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Correspondence:
Frances Klopper
Dept of Old Testament & Ancient Near Eastern Studies
University of South Africa
PO Box 392, Pretoria, 0003
E-mail: klopper5@mweb.co.za

 

 

1 This article is a revised version of a paper presented at the annual meeting of the Old Testament Society of South Africa held in Windhoek, Namibia, 10-12 September 2008.

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