Sunday, 21 December 2014

A Hermeneutics of Trust? Part II

So yesterday I responded to a suggestion on the SBL site that the society should have a section on the hermeneutics of trust for people who "take the bible and history seriously." I did what I know how to do best: advance arguments for why this will not work hermeneutically or historiographically. In the discussion on FB Margaret Aymer Oget pointed out an issue whose significant had not fully impressed itself on me: persons who belong to historically marginalized groups--women, persons of colour, LGBT persons, etc.--have a hard time subscribing to a hermeneutics of trust when reading a book that has in complex ways contributed to that marginalization. Dr. Oget is 100% right, and I thank her for her insights.

This really drove home to me the importance of diversity within the SBL. As white, straight, male I know that I have blinders. And that in and of itself is fine. We are all a product of our experiences. What is not fine is refusing to deal with those blinders. One must actively work to overcome the blind spots, or what Lonergan calls scotosis. One does this by the work of actively listening to others, letting them teach you about their worlds. That is why diversity is so important. It's not just because women and persons of colour and LGBT persons should have an equal shot at success in our discipline, although that is definitely the case. It is also because a diverse discipline contains a rich mixture of experiences that can mutually enrich and correct each other, and I am just optimistic to believe that through such mutual enrichment and correction we are moving slowly, collectively, painfully, towards greater understandings of our world.

So I stand by my initial critiques of the idea of a hermeneutics of trust. To them I add insights brought to my attention by persons with experiences different from my own. And for those insights I am quite grateful.

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