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Toward a Postcolonial Reading of the Epistle of James

James 2:1-13 in its Roman Imperial Context

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Ingeborg Mongstad-Kvammen

Toward a Postcolonial Reading of the Epistle of James offers an interpretation of Jas 2:1-13 putting the text in the midst of the Roman imperial system of rank. This study shows that the conflict of the text has more to do with differences of rank than poverty and wealth. The main problem is that the Christian assemblies are acting according to Roman cultural etiquette instead of their Jewish-Christian heritage when a Roman equestrian and a beggar visit the assembly. The members of the assemblies are accused of having become too Roman. From a postcolonial
perspective, this is a typical case of hybrid identities. Additional key concepts from postcolonialism, such as diaspora, ‘othering’, naming of oppressors, and binarisms such as coloniser/colonised, centre/margin, honour/shame and power/powerless, are highlighted throughout the study.

Hyphenating Moses

A Postcolonial Exegesis of Identity in Exodus 1:1-3:15

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Federico A. Roth

Postcolonial biblical criticism took shape, largely, by critiquing the book of Exodus. Because of the eventual dispossession of Canaanites in the conquest narratives, so goes the thinking, the Hebrews’ God amounts to little more than a dangerous, destructive, and ethnocentric figure.

In Hyphenating Moses Federico Alfredo Roth challenges this consensus by providing an alternative reading of its early narratives (1:1-3:15). Redeploying postcolonial theory and themes, Roth presents a reading of these well-known scenes as orbiting around the topic of identity formation, climaxing in the burning bush episode. In the giving of the name, YHWH promotes the virtue of conceiving identity as a malleable reality to be sought after by all parties caught in the dehumanizing discourse of colonial subjugation.

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Jeremy Punt

In Postcolonial biblical interpretation Jeremy Punt reflects on the nature and value of the postcolonial hermeneutical approach, as it relates to the interpretation of biblical and in particular, Pauline texts. Showing when a socio-politically engaged reading becomes postcolonial, but also what in the term postcolonial both attracts and also creates distance, exegesis from a postcolonial perspective is profiled. The book indicates possible avenues in how postcolonial work can be helpful theoretically to the guild of biblical scholars and to show also how it can be practiced in exegetical work done on biblical texts.