Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Reading against "Authorial Intent"

I have been privileged to participate in learning situations that showcase the wealth of Filipino practices and reading strategies that engage the Bible in unexpected ways. The works of Edicio dela Torre and the late Carlos Abesamis offer excellent examples. You can try these: Take a regular Bible Study session among women. Let them role-play a passage in the Bible. Let’s say, Luke 10:38-42, Jesus visits Martha and Mary. In my experience, most women WILL NOT follow the biblical script. They will change the story. In my biblical writings class this term my students, in six groups, role-played the passage and came up with six different interpretations. Not one followed the original script. Take a nursery Sunday School class. Tell the story of Jonah. Most adults will identify with the plight of Jonah, including the nursery teacher. But children have no problem reading the text from the perspective of the fish, the vine, and the worm, all of whom, by the way, obey God. I call these readings interpretations that go against “authorial intent.” The jeepney is an example of going against authorial intent. I do not believe for a second that Willys or Ford imagined that the military jeep could become a Filipino home on wheels.
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