Original Research - Special Collection: Biblical values on social change

‘I gave them laws that were not good’ (Ezk 20:25): A biblical model of complex subjectivity and the prospects of multi-ethnic contextual reading

Dexter E. Callender
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 48, No 1 | a1828 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v48i1.1828 | © 2014 Dexter E. Callender | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 05 April 2014 | Published: 05 December 2014

About the author(s)

Dexter E. Callender, Department of Religious Studies, University of Miami, Coral Gables United States and Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, South Africa


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Abstract

The purpose of this article is to address the problem of multi-cultural multi-ethnic contextual Bible reading by giving attention to identity and subjectivity and how it is modeled both in our analyses of contemporary life and in our reconstructions of antiquity and ancient contexts. The aim here is to suggest a position that engages the question of shared values; that creates a space for dialogue between contrasting discourses; and that gives attention to the question of authenticity. I suggest that resources for such a project may be found partly in a re-engaging of biblical prophecy in light of contemporary reflection on subjectivity that embraces recent developments in the debate over modern and postmodern approaches to language and experience tied to the rise of cognitive science. Through an examination of the subject in Žižek, particularly as he engages cognitive science, and in the prophetic rhetoric of Ezekiel, this article argues for grounding multi-group reading strategies or projects on a conception of complex subjectivity that seeks to bridge contemporary discourse with the language of the biblical text.

‘Ek het vir hulle voorskrifte gegee wat nie goed was nie’ (Eseg 20:25): ’n bybelse model van komplekse subjektiwiteit en die moontlikhede van multi-etniese kontekstuele interpretasie. Die oogmerk van hierdie artikel is om die probleem van ’n multi-kulturele,multi-etniese kontekstuele lees van die Bybel te ondersoek. Met dit ten doel, gee die ondersoekaandag aan identiteit en subjektiwiteit en hoe dit gedemonstreer word in die analise van die hedendaagse sowel as in die rekonstruksie van antikwiteite en antieke kontekste. Dieuiteindelike doelwit is om ’n posisie voor te stel wat omgaan met die vraag van gedeelde waardes; wat ruimte skep vir ’n dialoog tussen teenstrydige diskoerse; en wat aandag gee aan die vraag van geloofwaardigheid. Die voorstel word gemaak dat ’n nuwe betrokkenheid by bybelse profesie in die lig van hedendaagse denke oor subjektiwiteit die hulpmiddele bied vir so ‘n poging. Hierdie nuwe denke verbind onlangse ontwikkelinge in die debat oormoderne en postmoderne benaderings tot taal en ervaring met die opkoms van die kognitiewewetenskappe. Die artikel ondersoek die onderwerp soos deur Žižek voorgestel word, veral met betrekking tot hoe hy kognitiewe wetenskap bytrek, en soos dit in die profetiese retoriek van Esegiël beslag vind. Daaruit betoog die artikel vir ’n begronding van multi-groep leesstrategieëof -projekte in die gedagte van komplekse subjektiwiteit wat ten doel het om die hedendaagse diskoers met die taal van die bybelse teks te oorbrug.


Keywords

subjectivity; ethics

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