An American and Maasai Intercultural Analysis
Although the demographics of World Christianity demonstrate a population shift to the Global South, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, the preponderance of biblical scholarship continues to be dominated by Western scholars in pursuit of their contextual questions that are influenced by an Enlightenment-oriented worldview. Unfortunately, nascent methodologies used to bridge this chasm often continue to marginalize indigenous voices. In contradistinction, Beth E. Elness-Hanson’s research challenges biblical scholars to engage stronger methods for dialogue with global voices, as well as encourages Majority World scholars to share their perspectives with the West.
Elness-Hanson’s fundamental question is: How do we more fully understand the “generational curses” in the Pentateuch? The phrase, “visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation,” appears four times in the Pentateuch: Exod 20:4–6; Exod 34:6–7; Num 14:18; and Deut 5:8–10. While generational curses remain prevalent within the Maasai worldview in East Africa, an Enlightenment-influenced worldview diminishes curses as a phenomenon. However, fuller understandings develop as we listen and learn from each other.
This research develops a theoretical framework from Hans-Georg Gadamer’s “fusion of horizons” and applies it through Ellen Herda’s anthropological protocol of “participatory inquiry.” The resulting dialogue with Maasai theologians in Tanzania, builds bridges of understanding across cultures. Elness-Hanson’s intercultural analysis of American and Maasai interpretations of the Pentateuchal texts on the generational curses demonstrates that intercultural dialogues increase understandings, which otherwise are limited by one worldview.
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- New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2017. XVIII, 292 pp., 6 b/w ill., 4 tables
- About the author(s)/editor(s)
- About the book
- Advance Praise for Generational Curses in the Pentateuch
- This eBook can be cited
- Table of Contents
- Chapter One: Question and Texts
- The Rise of World Christianity Compels Intercultural Analysis
- My Horizon Shaped by My Sociolocation
- Observations Provoked Research Inquiry
- Overview of Dialogue with Maasai Participants
- Chapter Two: Theoretical Framework for Intercultural Hermeneutics
- Overview of Intercultural Hermeneutics
- Gadamer’s “Fusion of Horizons”
- Influential Exponents in Intercultural Hermeneutics
- Letting X Interpret Y or Y Interpret X
- Multidimensional Exegesis
- Blessings and Curses in Speech-Act Theory
- Practical Application of the Theoretical into Intercultural Hermeneutics
- Chapter Three: The Maasai Concept of Generational Curses as Reconciliation
- Maasai Origin and Social Structure
- Maasai Cosmogony and Cattle as the Center of Life
- An Analysis of a Portion of the Traditional Maasai Worldview
- A General Maasai Christian Perspective
- Chapter Four: Exegesis in Dialogue with the Maasai Conceptual Paradigm of Reconciliation
- Developing the Contextual Conceptual Paradigm
- The Maasai Compared with Ancient Israel
- Dialogical Exegesis of Exodus 20:4–6
- Dialogical Exegesis of Exodus 34:6–8
- Dialogical Exegesis of Numbers 14:18
- Dialogical Exegesis of Deuteronomy 5:8–10
- Chapter Five: Analysis and Potentials
- Summary of Findings
- Exegetical Findings Toward a Fusing of Horizons
- How Were the Hows?: Critique of Methodology with Hermeneutical Lens
- Potentials for Intercultural Biblical Hermeneutics
- Possibilities for Further Study and Application
- Appendix 1: Summary of Informants
- Appendix 2: Beginning Questions for Participatory Inquiry in 2012
- Appendix 3: Summary of Kimaasai Words for Curses
- Appendix 4: Summary of 2012 Transcription Analysis
- Appendix 5: Follow-up Questions for Participatory Inquiry in 2013
- Appendix 6: Various Ways of Numbering the Ten Commandments
- Appendix 7: “Curse” in the Hebrew Bible
- Subject Index
- Scripture Index
- Series index
About the author(s)/editor(s)
Beth E. Elness-Hanson (Ph.D., VID Specialized University, Stavanger, Norway) is Lecturer in Old Testament at Johannelunds Teologiska Högskola in Uppsala, Sweden, an institution with over 150 years of relationships within East Africa.
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