Stony the Road We Trod: African American Biblical Interpretation

By Cain Hope Felder | Go to book overview

3

Reading Her Way through
the Struggle:
African American Women
and the Bible

Renita J. Weems

An on-going challenge for scholars committed to a liberation perspective on the Bible is explaining how and why modern readers from marginalized communities continue to regard the Bible as a meaningful resource for shaping modern existence. This is a challenge because in some crucial ways not only do biblical authors at times perceive reality very differently from these groups, but the Bible itself is often used to marginalize them. For example, feminist biblical scholars have made the helpful insights that the androcentric milieu of the ancient world pervades biblical texts, and they have convincingly demonstrated that specific texts are unalterably hostile to the dignity and welfare of women; because of these and other similar findings, these scholars are hard pressed to explain why large numbers of religious women (including feminists) still identify with many of the ideals and characters found in the Bible. Likewise, African American scholars have brought eloquent and impassioned charges against the Bible as an instrument of the dominant culture that was used to subjugate African American people. However, the Bible is still extremely influential in the African American religious life, and these scholars are hard pressed fully to explain why. Scholars must real-

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