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  • Print publication year: 2012
  • Online publication date: April 2014

3 - Attempting to Bridge the Gap: A Review of Contemporary Efforts to Integrate Academic and Vernacular Voices in Biblical Hermeneutics

from Part I


Thus far, we have explored the oeuvre of Edward W. Said with particular attention to the hermeneutical possibilities inherent in his contrapuntal approach. I have argued that such an approach offers a frame of entry with which we may begin to overcome the contemporary interpretive impasse between academic and vernacular hermeneutics. This effort is, however, by no means the first or the only such effort in contemporary biblical hermeneutics. This chapter will review other attempts to address this issue and will critically evaluate these approaches in light of the promise afforded by contrapuntal hermeneutics.

While vernacular approaches have been popularized and brought into the mainstream field of vision in university contexts, the gap between academic and vernacular approaches has in many cases been firmly and even militantly maintained. Nevertheless, several scholars are currently addressing this gap in various ways. Foremost among these scholars are Kwok Puilan, Elsa Tamez, Gerald O. West, Justin Ukpong, Fernando F. Segovia and R. S. Sugirtharajah. Before proceeding to a contrapuntal exploration of the book of Job, it is necessary first to give a brief overview of recent attempts in the field of biblical hermeneutics to bridge the gap between academic and vernacular frames of entry, to demonstrate the ways in which these approaches fall short of the goal of integration as this project conceives it, and finally to argue for the adaptation of Said's contrapuntal approach as an alternative to current attempts at bridging the gap.