Debunking the Legacy of “Kaburu” Biblical Hermeneutics in Kenya Through a Postcolonial Reading of Socioeconomic Parables in Luke’s Gospel

Musa Maina, Julius Kithinji


Biblical interpretations in post-colonial Kenya and probable in other geopolitical spaces remain indebted to early western missionaries’ lensed biblical “optics,” still very steeply influential in the way the Bible is read and interpreted. Whereas their contributions to the presence and the growth of the church cannot be underestimated, the legacy and validity of their hermeneutics in post-colonial contexts (Kenya) remain questionable and wanting.  This is so because of its failure to adequately address the dire existential and contextual concerns of communities of faith in their commitment to serve prophetically. Fostered during colonial era, the hermeneutics give peripheral attention to glaring social economic and political distresses affecting the majority of people while a few, mostly rich and powerful live in unmerited affluence. For recourse, this paper deems postcolonial frameworks of interpretation as appropriate for reading scriptures anew. To demonstrate its efficacy, it enjoins two socioeconomic parables from Luke’s gospel (12:16-21, 15:11-32) for exegetical review and whose goal is to demonstrate that biblical readings must of essence be proactively context sensitive, liberating and transforming. By calling for a debunking of the missionary hermeneutics in favour of postcolonial readings, this paper advocates for reception of the gospel not as a message of personal salvation from the world, but as the message of a world transfigured right down to its basic structure, the household (Oikos).

Keywords: Bible, Postcolonial, “Kaburu Legacy,” Eurocentric, hermeneutics, Missionary

DOI: 10.7176/JPCR/53-01

Publication date: April 30th 2021

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