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Maasai Women and the Old Testament

Towards an Emancipatory Reading


Hoyce Jacob Lyimo-Mbowe

The research presented in this book is a critical study of some effects of popular biblical interpretations in the context of an East African ethnic group, the Maasai. The book focuses on parallels between concepts of female inferiority in biblical texts and in Maasai traditional culture. It investigates some parallels and analyses their problems as they are conceptualized in popular Maasai biblical interpretation and how these affect the social transformation of the contemporary Maasai women.

Therefore, this book aims at sensitizing readers of the Bible about popular interpretation of biblical texts that consciously, and more often unconsciously, function as a legitimizing force, which authorizes or reinforces socio-cultural structures that oppress women. However, it demonstrates the potential of reading biblical texts from emancipatory perspectives, both in popular and academic critical contexts. Also, this book demonstrates how some popular Maasai biblical interpretations contributes in the academic works for the emancipation of women. Moreover, this work develops its own contextual hermeneutics approach of woman liberation known as enkitok. The new approach borrows some aspects from social fields and it has been employed in this work on some selected biblical texts.

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Thank you, God, that you made man and woman equal in your image and execute justice for the oppressed. Thank you for this opportunity to work in this project and for your guidance throughout the research.

This monograph is based on the Maasai and the Bible project at VID Specialised University conducted in Arusha region. It benefited from the inputs of a number of individuals and different institutions. Thus, I would like to offer my sincere appreciation to all who supported its successful achievement.

At VID Specialised University/Stavanger, Norway, I record my gratitude to all those who have contributed to the realisation of this project. I express my profound thanks to the project director Prof. Knut Holter for vigorous support and constructive criticism, which has shaped this book. For the administrators and librarians at VID Specialised University and researcher’s cluster in Stavanger, I thank all for their gracious support -Tusen Takk. I acknowledge with much appreciation my team members: Dr. Beth Elness-Hanson and Rev. Zephania Shila for their creative ideas. For Dr. Beth Elness-Hanson, Anya Hanson, Pastor Dean Swenson, Dr. James Bangsund, and Judy Bangsund who were my English critics, I thank them for editing this manuscript. In connection to VID Specialised University, this project received financial assistance from the Norwegian Research Council. I appreciate this financial support, for without it, this project would have been impossible.

At Tumaini University, Makumira, I appreciate the assistance of the staff members, especially all who...

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