What is available to text interpreters is never meaning but meaning potential. That potential is accessed culturally. A culturally responsive engagement with text meaning potential has profound implications for the shaping of a more just biblical society, classroom, and profession. There is a connection between how one exegetes in the classroom and the study and how one operates, justly or unjustly, in the world.

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1 W. E. B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk (Greenwich, CT: Fawcett, 1961), 15.
2 Ibid., 23, 41.
3 See W. E. B. Du Bois, “Criteria of Negro Art,” http://www.webdubois.org/dbCriteriaNArt.html, originally printed in The Crisis 32 (October 1926): 290–97.
4 Du Bois, Souls of Black Folk, 16–17.
5 Ibid., 137.
6 Ibid., 139.
7 Ta-Nehisi Coates, “The Case For Reparations,” The Atlantic, June 2014, https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/06/the-case-for-reparations/361631/.
8 Du Bois, Souls of Black Folk, 16.
9 Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, “Rethinking the Educational Practices of Biblical Doctoral Studies,” in Transforming Graduate Biblical Education: Ethos and Discipline, ed. Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza and Kent Harold Richards, GPBS 10 (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2010), 373–94, here 383.
10 See Vincent Wimbush, “Reading Darkness, Reading Scriptures,” in African Americans and the Bible: Sacred Texts and Social Textures, ed. Vincent Wimbush (New York: Continuum, 2000), 1–46, here 10: “No matter what may be the actual representations in the biblical texts, the gendered and/or racial-ethnic ‘Others’ that were constructed by modern dominants could not either read themselves into these texts or read themselves in affirmative ways as long as they had to begin not with themselves, with their places of enunciation, in their own times, but ‘with the texts,’ viz. with the dominants’ places of enunciation, with their constructed pasts and the hermeneutical spins that continue to give legitimacy and social and ideological power to a present that was secured and justified by those pasts.”
11 Schüssler Fiorenza, “Rethinking the Educational Practices,” 383.
12 Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, “The Ethics of Biblical Interpretation: Decentering Biblical Scholarship,” JBL 107 (1988): 3–17, here 4, https://doi.org/10.2307/3267820.
13 Ibid., 5.
14 Ibid., 8.
15 Fernando F. Segovia, “Criticism in Critical Times: Reflections on Vision and Task,” JBL 134 (2015): 6–29, here 6, https://doi.org/10.15699/jbl.1341.2015.0002.
16 See ibid., 16: “In largely pursuing pressing questions of the discipline while bypassing pressing questions of the world, as they overwhelmingly did in critical times, presidential addresses assumed a political stance of abstraction from the realm of global affairs into the realm of scholarship.”
17 Vincent Wimbush, “Interpreters—Enslaving/Enslaved/Runagate,” JBL 130 (2011): 5–24, here 6, https://doi.org/10.2307/41304184.
18 Ibid., 8.
19 Paul Ricoeur, Interpretation Theory: Discourse and the Surplus of Meaning (Fort Worth: Texas Christian University Press, 1976), 2: “If discourse remains problematic for us today, it is because the main achievements of linguistics concern language as structure and system and not as used. Our task therefore will be to rescue discourse from its marginal and precarious exile.”
20 Ibid., 22.
21 Ibid., 29.
22 Ibid., 30.
23 Ibid., 32.
24 See ibid., 77: “The text as a whole and as a singular whole may be compared to an object, which may be viewed from several sides, but never from all sides at once. Therefore the reconstruction of the whole has a perspectival aspect similar to that of a perceived object.”
25 Ibid., 73.
26 Rudolf Bultmann, “The Problem of Hermeneutics,” in Essays, Philosophical and Theological, LPTh (London: SCM, 1955), 234–61, here 252.
27 See ibid., 240: “The formulation of a question, however, arises from an interest which is based in the life of the inquirer, and it is the presupposition of all interpretations seeking an understanding of the text, that this interest, too, is in some way or other alive in the text which is to be interpreted, and forms the link between the text and its expositor.”
28 Fernando F. Segovia, “Cultural Studies and Contemporary Biblical Criticism: Ideological Criticism as Mode of Discourse,” in Social Location and Biblical Interpretation in Global Perspective, vol. 2 of Reading from This Place, ed. Fernando F. Segovia and Mary Ann Tolbert (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1995), 1–17, here 12.
29 Ibid., 8.
30 Ibid.
31 Dorothee Sölle, Political Theology (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1974), 2.
32 Abraham Smith, “Taking Spaces Seriously: The Politics of Space and the Future of Western Biblical Studies,” in Schüssler Fiorenza and Richards, Transforming Graduate Biblical Education, 59–92, here 65.
33 Laura E. Donaldson, “Are We All Multiculturists Now? Biblical Reading As Cultural Contact,” Semeia 82 (1998): 79–97, here 81.
34 Hans de Wit and Janet Dyk, “Introduction,” in Bible and Transformation: The Promise of Intercultural Bible Reading, SemeiaSt 81 (Atlanta: SBL Press, 2015), 1–16, here 7.
35 Ibid., 4.
36 Hans de Wit, “Through the Eyes of Another: Objectives and Background,” in Through the Eyes of Another: Intercultural Reading of the Bible, ed. Hans de Wit et al. (Elkhart, IN: Institute of Mennonite Studies, 2004), 3–53, here 29: “the inter represents the insight that confrontation with the difference may lead to a new, productive understanding of texts” (italics original).
37 De Wit and Dyk, “Introduction,” 1.
38 Ibid.
39 Cf. Donaldson, “Are We All Multiculturists Now?,” 81.
40 De Wit and Dyk, “Introduction,” 6.
41 Yak-hwee Tan, “Social Location: Dis-Ease and/or Dis-Cover(Y),” in Schüssler Fiorenza and Richards, Transforming Graduate Biblical Education, 47–58, here 50.
42 Fernando F. Segovia, “Intercultural Bible Reading as Transformation for Liberation: Intercultural Hermeneutics and Biblical Studies,” in de Wit and Dyk, Bible and Transformation, 19–51, here 33.
43 See Schüssler Fiorenza, “Rethinking the Educational Practices,” 392: “It insists on an ethical radical democratic imperative that compels biblical scholarship to contribute to the advent of a society and religion that are free from all forms of kyriarchal inequality and oppression.”
44 D. N. Premnath, “Introduction,” in Border Crossings: Cross-Cultural Hermeneutics, ed. D. N. Premnath (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2007), 1–13, here 6.
45 See ibid., 8: “Border pedagogy results in reshaping and reconfiguring boundaries. In [Henry] Giroux’s words, ‘border pedagogy decenters as it remaps.’”
46 Elizabeth Ellsworth, “Why Doesn’t This Feel Empowering? Working Through the Repressive Myths of Critical Pedagogy,” in Feminisms and Critical Pedagogy, ed. Carmen Luke and Jennifer Gore (New York: Routledge, 1992), 90–119, here 108.
47 Ibid., 109.
48 See Lawrence Grossberg, “Introduction: Bringin’ It All Back Home—Pedagogy and Cultural Studies,” in Between Borders: Pedagogy and the Politics of Cultural Studies, ed. Henry A. Giroux and Peter McLaren (New York: Routledge, 1994), 1–25, here 18. Grossberg calls this approach a pedagogy of articulation and risk. “Refusing to assume ahead of time that it knows the appropriate knowledge, language, or skills, it is a contextual practice which is willing to take the risk of making connections, drawing lines, mapping articulations, between different domains, discourses, and practices to see what will work.”
50 Schüssler Fiorenza, “Rethinking the Educational Practices,” 388.
51 Tan, “Social Location,” 47–48.
52 Ibid., 49.
53 Schüssler Fiorenza, “Rethinking the Educational Practices,” 389.
54 W. E. B. Du Bois, Dusk of Dawn: An Essay Toward an Autobiography of a Race Concept (1968; repr., New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Books, 1984), 67.