Daniel: From the Ancient Near East to Singapore

In: Contextual Biblical Hermeneutics as Multicentric Dialogue

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Having considered these three case studies separately, I bring them together to bear directly on the context of Singapore. In other words, I answer the key questions I raised in the introduction. With regards to (un)problematic secularism, I show that my readings point to biblical scholars as seeing religion as opposing politics whereas for my Asian interlocuters, it is religion reforming politics. However the Singaporean standpoints I have chosen would destabilise these categories and demonstrate that Daniel cannot be read unproblematically through a distinction of religion and politics. This brings me to a closely related concern of (un)problematic capitalism where the options by biblical scholars are either to maintain one’s religious piety or challenge the system. My Asian interlocuters push me to resist Daniel and embrace a non-confrontational posture towards empire. The Other in Singapore however proves that it is not possible to keep to the purity of any action because very often our circumstances would not allow such a luxury.

This leads me to re-evaluate the (un)problematic text. This is before moving towards re-evaluating the (un)problematic text. In the Singaporean context, I argue that it would be more appropriate to move our conception of text as rhetoric to a site of struggle as well as consider the kind of texts we use to read alongside the Bible so as to include subaltern cultural production. I then draw the conversation to a close by looking at how my identity is formed in Singapore to demonstrate how this reading could pluralise my consciousness. Finally the chapter concludes on evaluating the discursive effects of this reading on the Other in the Singaporean context.