T M S Long


This 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.


Biblical studies in South Africa

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

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