Friday, July 01, 2011

another published piece – The Gospel and the Land of Promise

I’ve just had a chapter published (the book arrived today) in a new book, The Gospel and the Land of Promise: Christian Approaches to the Land of the Bible. Published by Wipf and Stock the book explores an acute theological problem, how to relate to “land” in light of the Bible.

My chapter explored the Jacob narrative in Genesis. I offer a post-colonial reading, reading the narrative in light of New Zealand indigenous, animal and migrant stories. Here’s my conclusion:

I have used four readings – Nga Ururoa, a poem by Nola Burrell, Te Horeta and Cook’s diary – to read the world in front of the Biblical text. Themes of land, indigenous species, ownership, supernatural, hospitality, weather and mapping have opened up some fresh angles with regard to the migrant journey of Jacob in Gen 28:10–18. Many resonate with post-colonial themes. These include the following:
• Land has been reframed to include indigenous species, and to be considered as both gift and responsibility to all migrants.
• Pluralism has been considered in light of Jacob’s ability to discern “I Am” in the “holy place” of anOther.
• Awareness of Eurocentric narratives of power and control has been raised by hearing Maori understandings of land ownership, and subverted by considering a theology of providence which opens up space for the discovery of new configurations of being human.
• Reaction against Western ways of thinking and producing has been unearthed in relation to the presence of the supernatural.
• The prominence of diaspora and indigenous issues has been heard in terms of all peoples as migrants. Indeed, all people who live in Aotearoa New Zealand have, by the very fact of New Zealand being an island, had ancestors who have had to cross “watery chaos.” Further, we have been exposed to hospitality as a potential mark of cross-cultural exchange, along with the potential of food to re-negotiate human relationships.

Other chapters explore other Old and New Testament themes in response to the notion of “Land of Promise.” The book gets some great wraps ….

“These able and provocative essays will offer us skilled guidance in territory few scholars are willing to enter.” -Gary M. Burge, Wheaton College

“the brilliant scholarship, biblical integrity, and keen commitment to justice that emanates from every chapter” -Alex Awad, Bethlehem Bible College

“In these excellent essays, Christian scholars in New Zealand–where indigenous land rights have long been at the center of public discourse–reflect on ‘land’ in the Bible” -Chris Marshall, Victoria University of Wellington

“an immensely important work of biblical scholarship on the theology of the holy land.” -Stephen Sizer, Christ Church Vicarage

Posted by steve at 08:29 PM

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