Relational Hermeneutics: A Womanist's Approach for Renewing the Reader's Self-Understanding, Commitments, and Practices

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2021

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Abstract

How do readers regain their enthusiasm for reading Scripture when what they are reading does not relate to their life’s circumstances? With all the competing voices in the world today, readers find it challenging to read the Bible when what they read is distant from their realities. Some readers have even said they prefer other spiritual books above the Bible. This paper addresses the phenomena of disengagement that is growing amongst Christian readers and looks into ways, particularly relational hermeneutics in which readers can gain renewal in reading for self-understanding, commitments, and practices.

This paper will ask the reader to make a commitment to relocating themselves in the text while paying attention to their own circumstances, emphasizing the importance of building a relationship with the text that translates into relational hermeneutics. This paper will intentionally move away from Eurocentric hermeneutics with the intent of engaging the term relational hermeneutics as an African American woman’s approach that invites readers to reframe their accounts into meaningful stories. Examining the traditional understanding of hermeneutics and cases involving hermeneutics readers can commit to “relocating” their own stories in biblical narratives that help to facilitate their readings - giving the reader the responsibility of renewing their relationship with Christ through relational Biblical stories. Additionally, this paper highlights relational hermeneutics as an African American woman’s approach and concludes with an African American woman’s account of doing relational hermeneutics that resulted in renewal. Hopefully readers can follow this approach with the intent of achieving similar results.

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Daniels, Shreé (2021). Relational Hermeneutics: A Womanist's Approach for Renewing the Reader's Self-Understanding, Commitments, and Practices. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/24457.

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