Intertribal Hermeneutics in the Context of Myanmar

A Study of Roles and Function of Jeremianic Female Imagery, dissertation by M. La Rip

In these times, when the reading of sacred texts leads in all possible ways to excluding, not welcoming, and even killing the other, the urgency of finding ways in which the reading of Sacred Scripture contributes to peace, as the acceptance of the presence of the other, is unprecedented. In his fine dissertation dr. M. La Rip shows us the way. La Rip realized his innovative research in the extremely complex tribal and multireligious context of Myanmar. The central research question of the dissertation has been very much related to this context: to what extent can an exchange between an exegetical approach and an intertribal reading of the same biblical texts (of Jeremiah) be mutually enriching and contribute to processes of bridging tribal divides and to more hermeneutical competence?

The study consists of two parts. In the first part, several examples of female imagery in the book of Jeremiah are analyzed through a variety of exegetical methods. Active, but also passive representations of roles and functions of women such as Judah, Israel and Jerusalem become apparent. Some of these representations belong to a genre that has been called ‘prophetic pornography’.

Whereas the first part of the dissertation consists of a thorough exegetical approach, the second part of the study is empirically oriented. Now intertribal reading is practiced. Almost hundred ordinary readers from twelve different Myanmar ethnic groups and different social-political-cultural backgrounds are invited to read the same texts that were analyzed in the first part and start dialoguing with a partner group about their meaning and significance. Here a fascinating process develops in which important changes of perspective occur: of the meaning of the texts, but also, and perhaps in the first place, of the perception of the other readers, of the other tribe. Vague ideas about the context of the others are replaced by knowledge; prejudices by comprehension.

lt is amazing to see how the old, and sometimes difficult texts start to speak to the lives of these readers and enable bridging tribal divides. The cry of Rachel for her missing children becomes their own cry. The fact that Yahweh is also depicted as a compassionate mother invites readers to a new praxis, to establish a new relationship with the other, from other tribes.

The hermeneutical context of Myanmar is not unique. We find hermeneutical tribalism all over the world. It is therefore that La Rip’s book is so important. He teaches us how to do it, how to practice intertribal hermeneutics, how to bridge divides. He teaches us that the encounter with other readers is more than an exotic event, that it can be an epiphanic moment. This is what La Rip has given us: a real, new, and important contribution to intertribal hermeneutics.

Additional Info

  • boek_id: sup. 17
  • plaats: Bergambacht
  • prijs: 12,50
  • status: Beschikbaar
  • pagina's: 290
  • isbn: 978 94 90393 67 0
  • jaar uitgave: 2018
  • uitgever: 2 VM
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