Challenges That Confront Any Attempt to Construct a Contextual Hermeneutic

In: Contextual Biblical Hermeneutics as Multicentric Dialogue

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This chapter maps out key influences on reading the Bible in Singapore. Using Tracy’s portrayal of the theologian as situated between the publics of academy, church and society, I identify the dominant discursive powers that control biblical interpretation in each arena. Then I bring them together to situate the key issues as (un)problematic Bible, (un)problematic capitalism and (un)problematic secularism. The common signifier, (un)problematic, is meant to point to the fact that the common thread through each of them is that it is mostly hidden from plain sight. Its hiddenness is largely contributed by structuring the discursive environment to favour trends in western biblical interpretation as well as overlooking the foundational elements of class and race that grant privilege to elite, English-educated Chinese majority in the Singaporean context. As a result, the Bible, capitalist transformation of Singaporean society and entrenching of militant secularism are normally seen as unproblematic in contextual interpretation.