DECONSTRUCTION AND BIBLICAL STUDIES IN SOUTH AFRICA
AbstractThis essay notes the widespread, often perturbed, interest in Derridean deconstruction among biblical scholars, and argues for deconstruction’s appropriateness for biblical studies in the present South African context, as a style of Accusation’ rather than as a ‘methodology’. The argument proceeds by way of a summary of the essentials of Derrida’s thought, followed by its application to a discussion of Paul’s Letter to the Galatians, initiated by Professor Bernard Lategan. The essence of the argument offered from this deconstructionist glimpse into Galatians is that the South African socio-political crisis throws into high relief an ‘absence’ of the gospel so confidently claimed as ‘present’ by scholars. This insight is used to suggest a re-situation of biblical studies, from its present metaphysical orientation to a thoroughly hermeneutical task, which is to be an unceasing deconstruction of the tendency to rest in final interpretations. Such a hermeneutical orientation would function to force biblical studies into its biblical role of confronter of the status quo. The argument presents the institutionalised dyad, expert/ordinary reader as a tangible beginning to this relocation of biblical studies.
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