ANG 160 Fall 2005
(by Catherine Baril)
For my short paper in Intercultural
Studies (ANG 160, fall of 2005), I have chosen to combine previous studies
(a degree in theology from the UofS) and to ask myself if ‘Othering’,
as the concept is presented in our course with Roxanne, is a practice that
occurs in the collection of ancient writings known in Christian religious
tradition as the “Old Testament” .
My ‘exegesis’ being a
bit rusty, I began by stopping by the ‘Faculté de Philo, théo et éthique’
in the building east of the one where our ANG-160 lectures are held .
‘Exegesis’ is a fancy word that means ‘critical
interpretation of text’ and an ‘exegete’ of the Old Testament
is a person who can read ancient Hebrew and Greek . Since until
recently most exegetes were priests, exegetes also read Latin and Italian as
well as their first language .
An exegete knows several centuries of history as well as we might know
what we have done with the last two years of our own lives .
For today’s movie-going culture, think of the character of the father (aka
Dr. Jones, played by Sean Connery) in the Indiana Jones movies (played by
Harrison Ford) .
In one hallway of the ‘A-7’
section of our campus’ labyrinth of buildings, within a time-frame of about
ninety seconds, I crossed paths with an exegete who knows Greek and Hebrew,
Latin and French (J-M. M.), a theologian who speaks Russian, Ukranian, French,
English, German (and probably a couple of other languages I am not aware of) (A.V.),
and M.G, who was on her way to hear a doctoral student defend her thesis.
M.G. knows her Old and New
Testaments (in French) inside out, upside down and back to front again, and I
asked her to help me de-rust my brain and help me start my short list of words
for my word-search to illustrate ‘Othering’ as a cultural practice of old .
M.G. looked at me as if to say “Silly you !”, don’t you
remember that the word “Holy” (actually, she said the French word
“Saint”) means “set apart”.
Ah yes, ‘separate’ I thought to myself, as it was all coming back to
me slowly .
My first word-search in the online Bible was therefore ‘Holy’ .
I invite you to read the word ‘holy’ as ‘separate’
2:3And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy
3:5God said. "Take off your sandals, for the place
where you are standing is holy ground." Exodus
19:23Moses said to the LORD, "The people cannot come up
Mount Sinai, because you yourself warned us, 'Put limits around the mountain and
set it apart as holy.' "
20:8Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.
I thought of some other words to
searched for, such as “chosen”, “other Gods”, “abandoned”,
“pagan”, which gave the following results :
7:6For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD
your God has chosen you out of all the peoples
on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession .
20:3 "You shall have no other
gods before me .
8:19If you other gods and worship and bow
down to them, you will surely be destroyed .
Samuel 5:21The Philistines abandoned their idols there, and
David and his men carried them off .
2:6 They are full of superstitions from the East and clasp
hands with pagans .
In 1980 I crawled around on my
hands and knees in archaeological dig sites in Egypt and the mountains of Jordan
examining various layers of dirt left by centuries of generations of those who
lived in the Middle East over two millennia ago . I was struck
then, as I still am today, at how amazing it is that such ancient texts have
survived to this day . Some may have
seen the movie “The Body”, in which Madrid-born actor Antonio
Banderas plays a credible Latin-American Jesuit liberation theologian .
In one scene, his character goes up against a Jewish high-priest
and there is heated “discussion” about the interpretation of a verse in the Talmud,
the primary source of Jewish religious law .
 I would like to
give the reason why I like this scene .
Some of us struggle with coming to
grips with the chronology of events of the last 70 years or so .
Some of us know that the 1st world war happened around 1915,
that the 2nd world war, around 1942; nuclear war almost became
reality while Kennedy and Khrushchev were in power in the 60s; a Polish
priest was Pope when eastern and western Europe began to come to grips with
differing economic policies .
And most of us are aware of more recent pittings (in the 90s) of
Muslim and Christian ideologies .
Some spend decades learning ancient
languages, learning unending details of centuries of history .
In Trois-Rivières in 85 an international conference on the
North-African archaeological site of Carthage brought together
A specialist presented a period of history that has been over for a 1500
years; he spent decades studying those 300 years of history, learning
dead languages, reading manuscripts, studying artefacts, using the results of
the scientific findings of physicists on the age of a jar, a piece of cloth, a
When, in the movie “The Body”,
Antonio Bandaras’ character goes up against the character of the Jewish
high priest and he says that the Talmud is an
instrument for the use by men, the high priest says that he is
correct . The verses cited above are evidence of a people’s
struggle to conserve identity .
Collisions between national identities are inevitable today .
One such collision is occurring between the Christian and the Muslims
Last week, the compact disk of the movie “Kingdom of Heaven”
arrived in video stores . This footnote’s
links take you to web pages on the Christian crusades; the CD’s special
features explain that events depicted are historical .
 The movie “The Body” : http://www.spiritualityhealth.com/newsh/items/moviereview/item_3120.html
An Overview of the Crusades The trigger for the First Crusade was Emperor Alexius I's appeal to Pope Urban II for mercenaries to help him resist Muslim advances into territory of the Byzantine Empire. The response was much larger, and less helpful, than Alexius I desired, as the Pope called for a large invasion force to not merely defend the Byzantine Empire but also retake Jerusalem.
Jihad: Killing in Jesus' Name
discussion of the Crusades from the perspective of an ex-Muslim, Dr. Ergun
Caner, author of 'Christian Jihad'. "I guess 'Christian Jihad' was born
out of the fact that if they ever had a point -- even though it is a distant
point, even though it is not a particularly on-target point -- there was a
time in Christian history where we did as bad as Osama bin Ladin has done."
on 'The Kingdom of Heaven': A Discussion with Dr. Ted Baehr
problem with this movie -- and the problem with most of the approaches
toward this topic -- is that it tends to think that Christianity and Islam
are the same.
1,400 Years of Christian/Islamic Struggle: An Analysis Did Christianity and Islam meet with the first Crusade? What happened between the Christians and the Muslims prior to the Crusades? Learn the history behind 1,400 years of struggle.