Christian culture 基督教文化学刊

R. S. Sugirtharajah's Contribution to Postcolonial Biblical Criticism and its Hermeneutical Discourse Construction

Author: ZHANG Chun, PhD. Candidate, School of Humanities, Zhejiang University; Lecturer, College of Foreign Languages, Guizhou University.



R. S. Sugirtharajah is one of the leading figures in the field of postcolonial biblical interpretation. He has made an indispensible contribution to the development of the new biblical discourse of hermeneutics. As a diasporic scholar born and educated in a society with plural faiths and cultures, now working and living in a European metropolis, how does Sugirtharajah negotiate between the two contexts so as to construct a new strategy of biblical hermeneutics that accords with both Asian contexts and his diasporic experience? This paper shows the signifcant contribution Sugirtharajah has made in postcolonial biblical criticism, and considers his insight into the issues of: how to define postcolonialism, how postcolonialism is related to biblical study and relativizing the Bible. The second considers the six types of resistant discourse overlooked by mainstream criticism, which form the basis and methodology for a critical postcolonial perspective in biblical scholarship, as Sugirtharajah proposes a vision of “diaspora hermeneutics” that advocates a hermeneutical gesture of “vernacular cosmopolitanism”. The paper emphasizes that there is much room for further exploration of the theoretical development of postcolonialism and postcolonial biblical interpretation and the legitimacy of its practical agenda.



R. S. Sugirtharajah, postcolonialism, postcolonial biblical criticism, “vernacular cosmopolitanism”


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