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Interpreting Power: Rethinking the Relationship between Mythos and Logos as Prolegomena to an Intercultural Theological Hermeneutics

  • Marion Grau
Chapter
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Part of the New Approaches to Religion and Power book series (NARP)

Abstract

The practice of interpretation, which hermeneutics discusses, is a form of religious, social, and cultural power: interpretive frames determine our perceptions, how we read the past into the present, and eventually how we act, personally and communally. As our world is becoming increasingly intercultural and complex, it is imperative that we develop smart discursive alternatives to smart bombs, military measures, and economic terror.

Keywords

Strip Mining Christian Theology Religious Discourse Interpretive Frame Theological Discourse 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Michel Foucault, “Two Lectures”, in Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews & Other Writings 1972–1977, ed. Colin Gordon (New York: Pantheon, 1980), 112–113.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Donna J. Haraway, Modest_Witness@Second_Millennium. Female Man©_Meets_OncoMouse™ (New York/London: Routledge, 1997), 8.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    Gayatri Spivak has pointed out how central a character, the colonial wife of the main character in Jane Eyre, is to the action and characters of the entire novel. And yet, she remains a secret to be hidden away. Theology, in many contexts, seems to have become a shamefully hidden away, culturally inappropriate shadow in the attic. See Gayatri Spivak, “Three Women’s Texts and a Critique of Imperialism”, in Critical Inquiry 12, 1 (1998): 243–261.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 6.
    For the context of these terms, see Catherine Keller and Laurel Schneider, eds., Polydoxy: Theology of Multiplicity and Relation (London/New York: Routledge, 2010).Google Scholar
  5. 7.
    In an aside to a discussion of the Egyptian Thoth and the Greek Hermes, Derrida offers this comment on the resemblances between the Platonic and mythological forms of writing. Jacques Derrida, Dissemination, trans. Barbara Johnson (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981), 86.Google Scholar
  6. 8.
    Compare George Lakoff and Mark Johnson, Metaphors We Live by (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 9.
    Ingolf U. Dalferth, Jenseits von Mythos undLogos: Die Christologische Transformation der Theologie, Quaestiones Disputatae, Vol. 142 (Freiburg: Herder, 1993), 28.Google Scholar
  8. 13.
    Underlying this connection is the question of the relation between myth and animism in modern Western scientific and theological discourse. While animism itself is a category invented by religious scholars in order to name what they were considering to be pre-en-lightened forms of knowledge, it designates something that was considered distinct from more contemporary modern forms of reasoning and therefore seemed to call for identification as different, perhaps as pre-or non-Western. New engagements with the topic raise the question whether animistic thinking can undergo a rehabilitation that overlaps to some degree with that of mythos. David Abram, The Spell of the Sensuous (New York: Random House, 1996), 121.Google Scholar
  9. 14.
    For example, Alejandro Haber’s attempt at integrating the practice of Western archaeology with rituals signifying the spiritual ancestors in place at the site in Catamarca, Argentina, and thus forming the beginnings of an intercultural archaeological practice. Alejandro F. Haber, “Reframing Social Equality within an Intercultural Archaeology”, in World Archaeology 39, 2 (June 2007): 281–297.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 16.
    Bruce Lincoln, Theorizing Myth:Narrative, Ideology, and Scholarship (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1999), 9.Google Scholar
  11. 27.
    G. Christopher Stead, “Logos”, in Theologische Realenzyklopädie, Vol. 21, Gerhard Müller, ed. (Berlin: De Gruyter, 1991), 436.Google Scholar
  12. 36.
    Andrew F. Walls, The Missionary Movement in Christian History: Studies in the Transmission of Faith (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1996), 31.Google Scholar
  13. 39.
    Ibid., 114 See also Bernd Jaspert, ed., Bibel and Mythos (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1991).Google Scholar
  14. 42.
    Daniel Boyarin has pointed out that within rabbinic Judaism “all Logos and Sophia talk” is transformed to the Torah. Daniel Boyarin, Borderlines: The Partition of Judaeo-Christianity (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004), 129.Google Scholar
  15. 50.
    Ibid., 174. See also Sallie McFague, Metaphorical Theology: Models of God in Religious Language (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1982).Google Scholar
  16. 51.
    Kurt Hübner, “Mythos I”, in Theologische Realenzyklopädie, Gerhard Muller, ed. (Berlin: De Gruyter, 1994), 599Google Scholar
  17. 52.
    Raimundo Panikkar, Myth, Faith, andHermeneutics: Cross-Cultural Studies (Bangalore: Asian Trading Corporation, 1979), 43.Google Scholar
  18. 53.
    Fritz Stolz, “Mythos II”, in Theologische Realenzyklopädie, Vol. 23, Gerhard Muller, ed. (Berlin: De Gruyter, 1994), 609.Google Scholar
  19. 61.
    Henning Luther, Religion und Alltag: Bausteine zu einer Praktischen Theologie Des Subjekts (Stuttgart: Radius, 1992).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Joshua Daniel and Rick Elgendy 2015

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  • Marion Grau

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