Maricel Mena Lopez
MARICEL MENA LOPEZ
Maricel Mena Lopez, “Decolonizing the Bible and its interpretations: Approaches from black feminist intercultural Latin American hermeneutics”
Western way of thinking is a privileged scientific form of thinking, for this reason, it almost always ignores that there are other ways of thinking, like the popular knowledge of indigenous peoples, Afro-descendants, peasants, men, women and differential sex-gender identities in so many regions of the world. And although Western critical thinking preaches equal rights, it is not capable of dealing with diversity or hierarchies. Being a monocultural and Eurocentric form of thinking, it is born within Western theoretical frameworks, to the extent that modern sciences assume totalizing propositions, scientists begin to make an “antiscience” as a reaction, thus, proposing a critical epistemology is, in Bachelard ‘s opinion: “to give science the philosophy it deserves”(p., ). This criticism of science as “religion-science”, that is, truth revealed and dogmatically taught without any critical-epistemological sense, is the core of the propositions of Latin American critical epistemologies; these studies denounce the myth of pure and neutral science and the apolitical nature of scientific research.
This paper addresses the issue of diversity from two critical feminist epistemologies: the intercultural (Aquino and Nunes, 2008) and the Black Latin American Feminist Biblical Hermeneutics (HBNFL). The first, understood as a conceptual framework where not only the emancipatory traditions of any dominated culture are accepted as a valid model of production and reproduction of knowledge, but also because it evaluates how, within these cultures, women have also been excluded from the production and reproduction of knowledge. Above all, because this epistemology proposes alternative models in the processes of acquisition, production and reproduction of knowledge.
The second proposes a critical reading from a decolonizing and decolonial perspective of the biblical-theological ethnocentrism that neglected the active and constant participation of peoples of Afro-Asian origin and their religions in the history of Israel and Judah. This is important since the study of the history of Africa, and the development of its form of thinking inside and outside the continent has become a challenge today for the so-called Latin American Afro-diasporic studies. A challenge because it implies the recognition of forms of knowledge that escape the pre-established molds of “rational” philosophical thought developed in the West and placed as a paradigm for all peoples.
In this paper, I understand philosophy as a knowledge that is not specific to a race, civilization or social class. Philosophy is the very thought of human beings, developed by different civilizations, at different times, cultivated by various peoples under different paradigms. Based on this concept, I want to question classist, racist and sexist biblical interpretations that have prevented the recognition of ancestral Afro-Asian female knowledge that pre-existed Judaic and Christian monotheism.
In this sense, black feminist intercultural hermeneutics start from the awareness that this knowledge was masked, camouflaged, disfigured and mutilated, by ignorance and interest, from the very origin of Israelite monotheism.
Dejected by several centuries of oppression, the African continent witnessed generations of travelers, slave traders, explorers, missionaries, scholars of all kinds who ended up setting an image of this land and its descendants of misery, barbarism, irresponsibility, in essence, of chaos. This image was perpetuated over time to justify their situation of poverty in the present and in the future.
Speaking of black feminism and intercultural hermeneutics means breaking with standards and values pre-established by Western philosophical thought, seen linearly, or perceived in a general way as the thought of all humanity. In history we find a model where the specificity of the Black Being is not contemplated, and less so the Being of the Black Woman.
In this essay I propose to make a decolonial hermeneutical exercise of Jr 44, 15-19 in which women in the Jewish diaspora exercise priestly activities around the cult of the Queen of Heaven and their knowledge. Their offerings and cults are demonized by the androcentric and patriarchal prophetic tradition, which blames women for the tragic events experienced by the Israelite people before the Babylonian invasion. Perhaps this experience will shed light on us and will allow us to understand the absurdity of the current fratricidal massacre of a center of political, religious and ideological power against men and women who understood that dispersion also makes a homeland.