The Need for Inclusive Biblical Interpretation
“Traditional” Christianity has come to be defined in terms of whom it excludes. Perspectives excluded in biblical laws have also been excluded from Christian traditions and ethical determinations dominated by a white and male standpoint, an exclusion often internalized as valid even by those it targets. Authorities in the church and the academy imagine themselves to be objective readers who disinterestedly “hear” the meanings in the biblical canon; but these readers are “unmasked” as interested, active interpreters who create readings out of their own context and who must bear ethical responsibility for meanings that exclude rather than include various groups. The chapter finds that interpretations implicitly diminishing the full humanity of those marginalized because of sexuality, race, or gender oppose the ongoing divine work of redemptive justice reflected in the Bible. Therefore, incorporating the perspectives of the marginalized majority is a theological imperative that readers of Scripture must heed.
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