Sabbatical Lecture: Dr. K.K. Yeo
Dissenting Voices of Biblical Interpretations:
The Spirit Blows How It Wishes
Dr. K.K. Yeo
Harry R. Kendall Professor of New Testament
11:10 a.m. | Room 205, Main Building
About this Lecture
Is Christianity a "white man’s religion"? Did Jesus have blue eyes and blonde hair? Is the King James Version the most widely circulated Bible in the world? The shift away from the Western-centric “orthodox" narrative about Christian origins is matched by the growing realisation that Majority World biblical interpretations and theologies benefit not only their own churches, but also the Western church that is part of the global church. This lecture attempts to have a renewed understanding of the ‘creative tension’ in global encounters as a mechanism for expressing (D)issent against attempts to close down or normalise local Bible reading traditions. We will recount major characteristics of the role and use of the Bible in the Majority World, demonstrating that, in a globalized world, the thesis that the Spirit "blows where/how it wishes" (John 3:8). The key elements establishing a creative tension between these indigenizing Majority World approaches to the Bible and those described in the traditional narrative seem to me to be as follows: an openness to self-theologizing and communal readings, concepts of the Spirit world and human flourishing, and the impact of multiple contexts, vernacular languages, socio-political and ethno-national identities, power and marginalization structures, and ‘framing’ public and ecological issues.