Perroni Marinella | Biblical Faith and Knowledge

Abstract

Does biblical faith entail a specific concept of knowledge? The wording of this question raises two possible issues, which may at least partly interconnect and both have to do with the "gender" concept. More precisely: May one then still refer to a gendered way of biblical knowledge?
Heuristically speaking, this question can be traced back to a debate that is forever rife concerning the "limited scientificity" of exegesis - given the faith constraint any interpretation of the scripture is per se allegedly subjected to in terms of both fides quae and fides qua creditur. On another, less procedural and more formal level the issue relating to the possible epistemological nature of the theological vision of cosmos that is inherent in biblical faith may be actually elaborated as follows: what epistemology - meaning both comprehension and explanation - results from (or is fostered by) a structure of knowledge of our reality that is grounded in listening to the deity, on a non-occasional and non-context-related basis?
In other words, quoting the felicitous wording used by Rahner, i.e. "Listeners to the Word", and shifting from theological anthropology to exegesis, one may wonder what features of this specific type of knowledge based on listening can be extracted from the Scripture. And to what extent can this knowledge entailing faith in a God-that-speaks and accordingly one's readiness to listen be regarded as episteme? Even more so, can it be regarded as gender-based episteme?
If the issue is worded in this manner, a two-fold question as to freedom and the features of authority is inevitably to be asked both as a precondition and as a consequence thereof. In an epistemological framework that is grounded in listening and oriented towards obedience, what chances has Man to define themselves in terms of free decision-making and to achieve a political dimension mirroring their autonomy? Indeed, is this very framework whereby understanding, defining and realizing oneself are steeped in obedience incompatible with any type of pluralism - since such framework can be only translated into monocratic structures like androcracy, hierocracy, etc. ?
The biblical text allows us to focus on a two-fold possibility:
1. If the listening-based knowledge is targeted to a collective body (the people), biblical epistemology relies on memory hermeneutics: building up collective identity by re-interpreting one's past results into the Pentateuch as an ideological texture;
2. If the listening-based knowledge is targeted to the individual, biblical epistemology relies either on the hermeneutics of discriminants (the prophet/prophetess) or on the hermeneutics of meanings (the learned man/woman).
3. These two possibilities give rise to different consequences in terms of both the addressees of knowledge (de-ontologization) and the social and political impact (tendentiousness).
Starting from the above considerations,
1. To what extent is it feasible to reconcile biblical faith with modern science, or to what extent should one keep them separate? Under what conditions?
2. Utrum exegesis biblica scientia sit: this entails addressing not only procedures, but also legitimation and authoritativeness of the performers of such exegesis. Above all, one should address the clear-cut ideological function that underlies the handing down of memory as well as the driving function discharged by both the hermeneutics of discriminants and the hermeneutics of meanings.
Against this backdrop, where and how does the "gender" category play an indispensable role? Where has it a functional value? Where is it unnecessary?

(It will be in Italian)