THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN DIFFERENT MODES OF READING (THE BIBLE) AND THE ORDINARY READER

Gerald West

Abstract


Something is missing in contextual biblical hermeneutics in South Africa. The voice(s) of ‘the people’ or what I have called ‘the ordinary reader’ is missing. However, the influence of reader-response criticism in biblical studies, the commitment to an option for the poor and oppressed in liberation hermeneutics, and the consensus in post-modernism that here is no epistemologically privileged position, variously remind us of the voice of the ordinary reader (West 1991a).

Fortunately, there has been some recognition of the need to hear the ordinary reader in the South African context (West 1991:161-180; Mosala 1989; Smit 1989; Draper and West 1989; and Lategan and Rousseau 1988). This paper continues with this work.

In this paper I am concerned with the interface between the trained reader and the ordinary reader. More specifically, I am concerned to explore the responses of ordinary readers to the different modes of reading emerging from biblical scholarship. In Biblical Hermeneutics of Liberation: Modes of Reading the Bible in the South African Context I began this exploration (West 1991); this paper continues the exploration.

Keywords


Contextual biblical hermeneutics; South Africa; The ordinary reader; Liberation hermeneutics; The trained reader; Modes of reading

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7833/9-0-1971

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

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