Friday, July 15, 2016

An Introduction to Womanist Biblical Interpretation by Nyasha Junior

★★★☐☐ The publisher has provided a copy for review.
A valuable addition to African American and womanist theology. Would not personally relate to the agenda, except that I serve with feminist and womanist scholars where I have encountered similar viewpoints. Each scholar claims the right to draw conclusions from our research. Therefore, such a personal and professional slant on theology is acceptable among researchers.

Junior offers us theological scholarship through the particular lens of African American culture, American history, and womanist theology. Her theological reading, not necessarily in agreement with the Church's systematic theology or biblical theology, adds a contemporary voice to ongoing theological conversations and trends. She provides niche-theology by responding as a scholar who perceives the world as an African American woman. Every voice adds to an ongoing and evolving conversation.

That said, I read this as a Canadian raised to expect the integration of people groups. We may remember the strengths and weaknesses of our heritages and histories ... but we seek to move ahead. I was taught that our differences provide the foundation for contributions to society in a positive way. Historically, Canadians have celebrated and embraced the migration of people groups and our historical differences. Sure, we stereotype and sass each other with our tribes' strengths and weaknesses, the bad and good things we've been through and done, and rehash the stories of our parents, grandparents, and forebearers. But we preface answers to "Where are you from?" with "Italian-Canadian," "Hong Kong-Canadian," and "Sudanese-Canadian" - reflecting acceptance and pride in the legacy of our ancestors.

The ongoing grievances of African American slave histories are kept alive, constantly revisited, and rehashed as excuses for unresolvable racism and violence in the USA. That attitude is astonishing and depressing for outsiders. I felt Junior's resistance to a peaceful resolution or moving forward into a healthy future of racial reconciliation. She seemed uninterested in embracing racial, ethnic, or gender differences as a foundation for positive theological contributions.

While this volume adds many insights from the perception of American blacks, I'm not sure it adds (or wants to add) God's peace or healing for those reading and studying the Bible. Instead, it explains and promotes racial and black feminist divisions and distinctions from historical theology. That was disappointing.

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