A hermeneutic of vulnerability
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Keywords

vulnerability
decoloniality
racism
biblical hermeneutics
Reformed Churches of South Africa
unsettling empathy

Abstract

The purpose of this essay is to expose reader vulnerability by unmasking what is hidden in the reading of a (biblical) text. The working hypothesis is as follows: The mythical norm of reading the biblical text masks the issue of race in biblical hermeneutics in assuming white innocence and hiding a moral injury caused by the imperial agenda of modernity. A hermeneutics of vulnerability is suggested in order to acknowledge the moral injury that the racial implications of the imperial agenda of modernity caused and is still causing. The moral injury is mitigated by a process of difficult or unsettling empathy engendered by a hermeneutic of vulnerability. The arguments are set up as follows: the first section endeavours to figure out what lies behind the projection or construction of white innocence associated with the mythical norm (given the preponderance of race in current discourse in South Africa and the USA). The second section deals with the way a hermeneutic of vulnerability can enable a reader to credibly respond from a position of whiteness to, for example, the pressures from the decolonial turn in the discourse on race, asking what it means to be vulnerable and how one accounts for vulnerability. The third section embroiders on the consequences of accepting and revealing vulnerability, namely to show empathy and more specifically an uneasy or difficult empathy in a racially tense society.


Opsomming

Die doel van hierdie opstel is om die weerloosheid van die leser bloot te lê deur dit wat verborge is in die lees van 'n (Bybelse) teks, te ontmasker. Die werkshipotese is soos volg: Die mitiese norm van die lees van die Bybelse teks verbloem die kwessie van ras in die Bybelse hermeneutiek deur die aanname van wit onskuld en die verdoeseling van 'n etiese wond wat veroorsaak is deur die koloniale agenda van moderniteit. 'n Hermeneutiek van weerloosheid word voorgestel om dié morele wond raak te sien in terme van rassisme wat deur die koloniale agenda van moderniteit veroorsaak word en nog steeds veroorsaak. Die etiese letsel word egter versag deur 'n proses van moeilike of ontsetelende empatie wat deur 'n hermeneutiese kwesbaarheid veroorsaak word. Die argumente word soos volg opgestel: die eerste afdeling poog om uit te vind wat agter konstruksie van witwees se onskuld lê ten opsigte van die mitiese norm van uitleg (gegewe die oorwig van ras in die huidige diskoers in Suid-Afrika en die VSA). Die tweede afdeling handel oor die manier waarop 'n hermeneutiek van weerloosheid 'n leser in staat kan stel om geloofwaardig vanuit 'n posisie van witwees te reageer op, byvoorbeeld, die druk van die dekoloniale wending in die diskoers oor ras deur te vra wat dit beteken om kwesbaar te wees en hoe neem 'n mens met kwesbaarheid rekening hou. Die derde afdeling verduidelik wat die gevolge is wanneer weerloosheid aanvaar en erken word, naamlik om empatie en meer spesifiek 'n ongemaklike of moeilike empatie in rassespanning te toon.

 

https://doi.org/10.19108/KOERS.86.1.2506

https://doi.org/10.19108/KOERS.86.1.2506
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