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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: October 2020

Chapter 10 - The Continuum and Sacred Texts

from Part III - The Human Continuum


The links between beliefs and violence at the conceptual and structural levels of religious systems became clearer to me during the writing of this book. They so disturbed me that I introduced an additional aim, ‘to contribute to a hermeneutic – an elementary method of interpretation of the Bible and tradition – that can never condone discrimination or oppression’. This chapter is my attempt to address this last aim. When I wrote my book, The Savage Text, about the misuse of the Bible and the responsibility of its readers for untold religiously inspired violence against all kinds of ‘others’, I had not fully appreciated the depths of the roots of violence located deep in religious systems of thought. In the last few years I also began to read some of the remarkable work of Muslim women scholars, and their battles with harsh, standard, androcentric interpretations of the Qur’an, with inevitable negative consequences for women. As we shall see, they too battle with the male–female binary in original ways. Their work confirms much of what I want to say about the peaceful reading of sacred texts.