Weaving webs with Paul : conceptual blending in a reading of Romans 1:1- 5 in the context of the struggle in South Africa in the 1970s and 1980s.
Hillerbrand, Jennifer Dawn.
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With most Biblical scholarship coming from the western world, an African viewpoint can challenge the dominance of the western discourse and create new possibilities of meaning. Using Conceptual Blending this study engages in a reading of Romans 1:1-5 in the South African contexts of the 1970s and 1980s and builds scenarios which describe conversational possibilities between contexts leading to the development of localised meaning and transformative praxis. I use four methods in this study and their application creates a web of meaning, rather than a linear development of ideas. The Tri-polar Method and the Intercontextual Method allow for an African frame of reference in order to arrive at an appropriation for an African context. An intertextual method examines key phrases of the text in the original contexts, South African contexts and the autobiographical context. The phrases are ‘slave of Jesus Christ’, ‘called apostle set apart’, ‘gospel of God’, ‘promised beforehand’ and ‘obedience of faith’. Conceptual Blending creates narratives which invite discussion and encourage the reader to acknowledge his or her ideo-theological biases. These together form a technique which I use here in a case study. The study results in a Conceptual Blend for each key phrase. While conclusions are suggested, the value of the study is in opening new directions of thought for the reader and encouraging a suspension of disbelief in order to perceive new possibilities. The concluding chapter describes a discussion around Conceptual Blending and in it one of the characters makes a comment about a blend which illustrates the experience. “We all identified with that – Jew, Greek, Black and White. The first century had crosses while this age has rubber bullets and tear gas – but there is something viscerally the same in our experiences. It gave an urgency to our work.”