Original Research - Special Collection: African Hermeneutics

The practices of radical refusal in biblical feminist interpretation and black study

Lerato L. Mokoena
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 43, No 1 | a2398 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v43i1.2398 | © 2022 Lerato L. Mokoena | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 20 October 2021 | Published: 29 March 2022

About the author(s)

Lerato L. Mokoena, Department of Religion Studies, Old Testament and Hebrew Scriptures, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa


Gender-specific frameworks detect androcentrism in biblical texts and create a methodology and a reading practice of reading the stories of women not only as by-products of their environments or religious figures but also humanises them through radical forms of storytelling. The method is followed through by recovery and revisionist readings. These modes of interpretation and examination amongst many (i.e. literary, social and historical) aim to retrieve and revive women, their stories, ways of being and living and experiences from the claws of redactional and ideological criticism and conventional theological constructs of meaning, which subsidise their erasure. It is the contention here that cinematic narrative storytelling of women’s stories, experiences and ways of being both in antiquity and contemporary should not be embraced as merely accidental. Literal archives about women’s lives and experiences should be engaged alongside fictional and religious narratives. These narratives are all encompassing as they are observed through the lens of othering as examined through the prism of what Magubane calls ‘social relations, rather than psychological dispositions only’ as determinative factors of how bodies are seen and perceived and not only as rhetorical devices. Therefore, this article sets out to be a reading that traces methodology and integrates critical fabulation as a possibility of engagement from critical race theory into the Old Testament.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: This article sets to create a discourse between methodologies in Old Testament Theology, biblical feminist ideologies, using critical race theory as interdisciplinary focus, critical fabulation, cinematic narrative analysis as conceptual frameworks in an effort to add to the arsenal of disobedient epistemes.


archive; critical fabulation; biblical feminist interpretation; gender-sensitive frameworks; Saidiya Hartman


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