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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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Chapter Five Summary and Concluding Remarks


Summary and Concluding Remarks

The primary objective of this research work has been to explore possible ways in which a popular reading of the Bible may facilitate emancipatory perspectives. The Bible is one of the most influential religious books in Africa. Most ordinary readers of the Bible in Africa perceive the Bible as a divine Word of God. Therefore, it is considered a respected and authoritative canon in the life of every individual. This means that the word of God, the Bible may not be questioned. My enthusiasm, therefore, apprehends the attitude of biblical scholarships and in particular African scholars towards the biblical hermeneutics that insists inculturation, liberation, womanism, post-colonial hermeneutics, “reading with,” “reading otherwise,” and other forms that deem emancipatory perspectives. I argue that the interpretation of the Bible must be taken seriously and make sure that it brings relief and liberation to people and does not enhance the oppressive systems.

The introductory section of this monograph presented a case study to set up the premise for a better understanding of the implications popular interpretations of the biblical texts have in the Maasai society. The research question and its background were expounded in detail at the first stage of this writing. The Maasai background and some contextual problems were briefly surveyed. The main concern was to exemplify how interpretations of biblical texts function as a tool to either emancipate or oppress the marginalised. The focus was on the existing concept of female inferiority. This concern...

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