Solevåg, “Perspectives from Disability Studies in the Pastoral Epistles”

In a new Brill volume, Anna Rebecca Solevåg has produced a chapter that examines children in the Pastorals from the perspectives of intersectionality and disability studies. Because of its focus on the Pastorals, we are highlighting it here as an addition to the scholarly literature on the letters.

Solevåg, Anna Rebecca. “Perspectives from Disability Studies in the Pastoral Epistles.” Pages 177–95 in Children and Methods: Listening To and Learning From Children in the Biblical World. Edited by Kristine Henriksen Garroway and John W. Martens. Brill’s Series in Jewish Studies 67. Leiden: Brill, 2020.

Abstract: “The article introduces intersectionality and disability studies as tools for the study of children in the Bible, and applies these tools to a reading of the Pastoral Epistles. The framework of intersectionality shows that the place(s) of children in a society must be seen in relation to other identity categories, such as race, class, gender, etc. Hierarchical relations should be studied in their complexity and also their particularity. The concept of kyriarchy is useful for studying the particularities of intersectional identity in the New Testament, as is the method of “asking the other question.” Concerning disability studies, three insights are introduced that overlap with theoretical reflections from childhood studies. The first concerns questions of agency and voice, the second points to the fluctuality of identity categories, and the third is about metaphorical uses of identity categories.

“The chapter then applies these tools to the Pastorals. In these letters, children are never addressed directly. Nevertheless, they are the object of instructions, and the recipients are framed as metaphorical children. The chapter argues that this approach on the one hand reveals structures of power and silences in the text, and on the other supports the childist quest for children’s active role through a creative imagination of the lived experiences and blurred boundaries of everyday life.”

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