Postcolonial biblical criticism enters the theoretical and methodological repertoire of the discipline in the latter half of the 1990s. Among critical approaches, therefore, it is of late vintage, marking the turn of the century – emerging, as it does, at the very end of the twentieth century and establishing a solid foothold only with the beginning of the twenty-first century. At first, it does so largely among critics fromthe non-Western world living and working in diaspora in the West and thus fitting the category of non-Western racial–ethnic minorities within the West. Such critics come to biblical criticism after the fateful developments in the discipline of the 1970s, which involved not only fundamental changes in method and theory but also incipient transformations in visage and voice. Soon, however, postcolonial criticism would become a major area of interest for non-Western critics outside the West, similar newcomers to the discipline, as well as for Western critics.
The present exposition of this still-developing critical approach proceeds in two steps. The first part offers an overview of the approach as a whole in terms of historical path, theoretical foundations, and methodological configuration. The second part examines its particular application to the Gospel of Matthew, beginning with an overview of postcolonial interpretations of the Gospel in general and concluding with postcolonial readings of Matthew 8:5–13 in particular, the episode traditionally known as “The Healing of a Centurion's Servant.”
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