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The Formation of Godly Community: Old Testament Hermeneutics in the Presence of the Other

Carolyn J. Sharp

Reading Scripture together has always been a formative practice for Christian communities. In times of acute hermeneutical crisis, it is imperative that we continue to read in the presence of the Other, that is, in conversation with those whose perspectives and commitments differ from our own. Toward this end, the essay underlines the importance of two shifts in hermeneutics: first, the complication of notions of "text" and "reading" by ideological criticism and postmodernist questions; second, the increasingly sophisticated attention being paid to rhetorical aspects of Scripture. The essay then presents a traditional patristic reading of the story of Rahab as a paradigm of Gentile faith, followed by a contemporary postcolonial rereading of Rahab as a marginalized victim of violent colonization. Bringing alternate readings such as these into conversation may create powerful opportunities for us to live faithfully and responsively as readers of Scripture in matrices of disagreement and alternative witness.

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