Decolonizing Biblical Studies: A View from the Margins

Article excerpt

Decolonizing Biblical Studies: A View from the Margins by Fernando F. Segovia Orbis, Maryknoll, NA, 2000. 177 pp. $24.00. ISBN 157075-338-5.

THIS VOLUME GATHERS EIGHT previously published essays, providing one of the best available overviews of the changing landscape of biblical criticism. Segovia plots the development of biblical criticism in the last quarter of the twentieth century in terms of four different paradigms or umbrella models of interpretation: historical criticism, literary criticism, cultural criticism, and cultural studies or ideological criticism. He provides a perceptive comparative analysis of six basic elements operative in each (location of meaning, reading strategy, theoretical foundations, the role of the reader, theological presuppositions, and pedagogical implications). The still emerging paradigm of cultural studies, where Segovia's own commitments lie, is "a child of mixed parentage-on the one hand, a product of the profound methodological and theoretical shifts introduced into the discipline by both literary and cultural criticism; on the other hand, and above all, the result of certain crucial demographic and sociocultural changes at work in the discipline, that is, an ever-growing presence of outsiders (Western women; non-Western critics and theologians; and non-Western minorities residing in the West) in the discipline, who have entered what had been a thoroughly clerical, male, and Western domain" (p. …