Charlene Van der Walt


Theoretically the process of intercultural Bible reading should create a safe space
where the voice of the individual can be heard in community with others. It should
be a space where the individual is not only free to speak but also to have the innate
experience of truly being heard. In this respect the intercultural Bible reading
experience becomes a space that promotes human dignity and has the inherent
capacity to facilitate social transformation. Although these Bible study groups can
ideally be a safe space with the potential for social transformation, the practical
reality shows a more complicated dynamic. Two important factors that contribute to
the complexity are the ideological framework of individual participants and the
underlying power dynamic in the social interaction. To bring the concepts of power
and ideology in intercultural Bible reading into focus, an empirical study was
conducted. My two part paper will discuss this qualitative research project that took
place in Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. In the
culturally diverse study, groups of women engaged with one another in a discussion
of the biblical text in 2 Samuel 13:1-22 which describes the rape of Tamar. Part I of
my contribution functions as the theoretical backbone to the empirical exploration
that will be discussed in Part II.


Intercultural Bible Reading; Power; Ideology

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ISSN 2305-445X (online); ISSN 0254-1807 (print)

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