The primary goal of this article is to provide justifications for moving from monoracial to multiracial biblical studies. I argue that a diagnosis of whiteness as a methodological problem is both timely and necessary and, further, that addressing the issue directly—rather than circumventing it—is crucial for diversifying biblical studies. To that end, decentering whiteness as a singular foundation and foregrounding a multiplicity of global voices, perspectives, and starting points are crucial for envisioning biblical studies beyond whiteness. In putting forth this claim, I appeal to multiracial coalitions of Africana, Asian, Indigenous, Islander, Latinx, and White scholars across racial/ethnic, generational, and geographical lines who have laid the foundation for this work. If multiracial biblical studies represents the antithesis of a monoracial Eurocentric biblical studies, how can a new and emerging generation of scholars enact the necessary changes through mutual dialogue, partnerships, and coalition building?

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1 For classic and recent studies on race and ethnicity in biblical scholarship, see Cain Hope Felder, Troubling Biblical Waters: Race, Class, and Family, Bishop Henry McNeal Turner Studies in North American Black Religion 3 (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1989); R. S. Sugirtharajah, ed., Voices from the Margin: Interpreting the Bible in the Third World (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1991; 25th Anniversary Edition, 2016); Mark G. Brett, ed., Ethnicity and the Bible, BibInt 19 (Leiden: Brill, 1996); Fernando F. Segovia, Decolonizing Biblical Studies: A View from the Margins (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2000); Vincent L. Wimbush, ed., African Americans and the Bible: Sacred Texts and Social Textures (New York: Continuum, 2000); Gay L. Byron, Symbolic Blackness and Ethnic Difference in Early Christian Literature (London: Routledge, 2002); Shawn Kelley, Racializing Jesus: Race, Ideology, and the Formation of Modern Biblical Scholarship, Biblical Limits (London: Routledge, 2002); Rodney Steven Sadler Jr., Can a Cushite Change His Skin? An Examination of Race, Ethnicity, and Othering in the Hebrew Bible, LHBOTS 425 (New York: T&T Clark, 2003); Michael Joseph Brown, Blackening of the Bible: The Aims of African American Biblical Scholarship, African American Religious Thought and Life (Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press International, 2004); Susannah Heschel, The Aryan Jesus: Christian Theologians and the Bible in Nazi Germany (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008); Laura Nasrallah and Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, eds., Prejudice and Christian Beginnings: Investigating Race, Gender, and Ethnicity in Early Christianity (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2009); Gay L. Byron and Vanessa Lovelace, eds., Womanist Interpretations of the Bible: Expanding the Discourse, SemeiaSt 85 (Atlanta: SBL Press, 2016); Mitzi J. Smith, Insights from an African American Interpretation, Reading the Bible in the 21st Century: Insights (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2017); Katherine M. Hockey and David G. Horrell, eds., Ethnicity, Race, Religion: Identities and Ideologies in Early Jewish and Christian Texts, and in Modern Biblical Interpretation (New York: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2018); David G. Horrell, Ethnicity and Inclusion: Religion, Race, and Whiteness in Constructions of Jewish and Christian Identities (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2020).
In the late 1980s, Thomas Hoyt Jr. and John W. Waters paved the way for the first SBL program unit to foreground racial/ethnic identity. The generation of African American biblical scholars that preceded them includes Leon Edward Wright, Charles B. Copher, G. Murray Branch, and Joseph A. Johnson. See Cain Hope Felder, “Preface” and “Introduction” in Stony the Road We Trod: African American Biblical Interpretation, ed. Cain Hope Felder (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1991), ix–xi, 1–16. For a listing of dissertations and books from the early generation of African American biblical scholars, see Vincent L. Wimbush, “Interpreters Enslaving/Enslaved/Runagate,” JBL 130 (2011): 5–24, here 7–8 n. 4, https://doi.org/10.2307/41304184. My thanks to Emerson Powery for his help locating this information.
Scholars who have used whiteness studies in biblical studies include Denise Kimber Buell, Greg Carey, David G. Horrell, Wongi Park, Tina Pippin, Jeremy Punt, Love L. Sechrest, Jeffrey Siker, and Gerrie Snyman. See n. 7 below for bibliography.
2 The key volume that initiated the project of minoritized biblical criticism is Randall C. Bailey, Tat-siong Benny Liew, and Fernando F. Segovia, They Were All Together in One Place? Toward Minority Biblical Criticism, SemeiaSt 57 (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2009). A second volume is in press: Tat-siong Benny Liew and Fernando F. Segovia, Reading Biblical Texts Together: Doing Minoritized Biblical Criticism (SBL Press); my thanks to Fernando Segovia for sharing the introductory pages of the volume. A third volume, Reading in These Times, is forthcoming. For examples of multiracial collaboration between minoritized groups, see Tat-siong Benny Liew and Vincent L. Wimbush, “Contact Zones and Zoning Contexts: From the Los Angeles ’Riot’ to a New York Symposium,” USQR 56.1–2 (2002): 21–40; Mitzi J. Smith and Jin Young Choi, Minoritized Women Reading Race and Ethnicity: Intersectional Approaches to Constructed Identity and Early Christian Texts, Feminist Studies and Sacred Texts (Lanham, MD: Lexington, 2020).
3 My thanks to Gypsy Moody for cross-referencing these search results from JSTOR against the Atla Religion Database on EBSCOhost.
4 Curiously, most of these references occur not in research articles but in metareflections on the field by SBL presidents or in JBL Forums, which have not been subject to double-blind peer review (Adele Reinhartz, “Editor’s Foreword: Passing the Torch,” JBL 137 (2018): 785–88, here 787, https://doi.org/10.15699/jbl.1374.2018.foreword). See Wimbush, “Interpreters—Enslaving/Enslaved/Runagate,” 5–24; Fernando F. Segovia, “Criticism in Critical Times: Reflections on Vision and Task,” JBL 134 (2015): 6–29, https://doi.org/10.15699/jbl.1341.2015.0002; Gale A. Yee, “Thinking Intersectionally: Gender, Race, Class, and the Etceteras of Our Discipline,” JBL 139 (2020): 7–26, https://doi.org/10.15699/jbl.1391.2020.1b; Adele Reinhartz, “The Hermeneutics of Chutzpah: A Disquisition on the Value/s of ’Critical Investigation of the Bible,’” JBL 140 (2021): 8–30, https://doi.org/10.15699/jbl.1401.2021.1b. Two other presidential addresses that discuss whiteness but technically do not use the term are Athalya Brenner-Idan, “On Scholarship and Related Animals: A Personal View from and for the Here and Now,” JBL 135 (2016): 6–17, https://doi.org/10.15699/jbl.1351.2016.1352; Brian K. Blount, “The Souls of Biblical Folks and the Potential for Meaning,” JBL 138 (2019): 6–21, https://doi.org/10.15699/jbl.1381.2019.1382. For entries in the JBL Forum, see Wil Gafney, “A Reflection on the Black Lives Matter Movement and Its Impact on My Scholarship,” JBL 136 (2017): 204–7, https://doi.org/10.15699/jbl.1361.2017.1363; Tat-siong Benny Liew, “Black Scholarship Matters,” JBL 136 (2017): 237–44, https://doi.org/10.15699/jbl.1361.2017.1368; Jacqueline M. Hidalgo, “Scripturalizing the Pandemic,” JBL 139 (2020): 625–34, https://doi.org/10.15699/jbl.1393.2020.14. Another JBL Forum article that discusses whiteness but does not use the term is Richard Newton, “The African American Bible: Bound in a Christian Nation,” JBL 136 (2017): 221–28, https://doi.org/10.15699/jbl.1361.2017.1366. Luis Menéndez-Antuña’s article “Of Social Death and Solitary Confinement: The Political Life of a Gerasene (Luke 8:26–39),” JBL 138 (2019): 643–64, https://doi.org/10.15699/jbl.1383.2019.650443, contains a single footnote citation of David G. Horrell on Paul and whiteness. The second and only article in which “White” makes it into the title is Nyasha Junior, “The Mark of Cain and White Violence,” JBL 139 (2020): 661–73, https://doi.org/10.15699/jbl.1394.2020.2. Other articles that contain references to White identity are Denise Kimber Buell and Caroline Johnson Hodge, “The Politics of Interpretation: The Rhetoric of Race and Ethnicity in Paul,” JBL 123 (2004): 235–51, https://doi.org/10.2307/3267944; Musa W. Dube, “A Luta Continua: Toward Trickster Intellectuals and Communities,” JBL 134 (2015): 890–902, https://doi.org/10.15699/jbl.1344.2015.1915; Jeremy Schipper, “’Misconstruction of the Sacred Page’: On Denmark Vesey’s Biblical Interpretations,” JBL 138 (2019): 23–38, https://doi.org/10.15699/jbl.1381.2019.654503.
5 Cf. Hulisani Ramantswana, “Past the Glorious Age: Old Testament Scholarship in South Africa—Are We Moving Anywhere Close to Blackening Old Testament Scholarship?” Scriptura 119.3 (2020): 1–19.
6 For a history of scholarship on racial/ethnic biblical interpretation, see Jean-Pierre Ruiz, “Tell the Next Generation: Racial and Ethnic Minority Scholars and the Future of Biblical Studies,” JAAR 69 (2001): 649–71. For an analysis of the role of racial/ethnic minorities in biblical studies, see Fernando F. Segovia, “Racial and Ethnic Minorities in Biblical Studies,” in Brett, Ethnicity and the Bible, 469–92.
7 For recent and representative works in Africana biblical interpretation, see Felder, Stony the Road We Trod; Musa W. Dube, ed., Other Ways of Reading: African Women and the Bible, GPBS 2 (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2001); Brian K. Blount et al., eds., True to Our Native Land: An African American New Testament Commentary (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2007); Hugh R. Page and Randall C. Bailey, The Africana Bible: Reading Israel’s Scriptures from Africa and the African Diaspora (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2010); Andrew M. Mbuvi, Dora R. Mbuwayesango, and Musa W. Dube, eds., Postcolonial Perspectives in African Biblical Interpretations, GPBS 13 (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2012); Mitzi J. Smith, ed., I Found God in Me: A Womanist Biblical Hermeneutics Reader (Eugene, OR: Cascade, 2015); Hulisani Ramantswana, “Decolonising Biblical Hermeneutics in the (South) African Context,” AcT 36 (2016): 178–203; Emerson B. Powery and Rodney S. Sadler Jr., The Genesis of Liberation: Biblical Interpretation in the Antebellum Narratives of the Enslaved (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2016); Madipoane Masenya (Ngwan’a Mphahlele) and Kenneth N. Ngwa, eds., Navigating African Biblical Hermeneutics: Trends and Themes from Our Pots and Our Calabashes (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars, 2018); Lisa M. Bowens, African American Readings of Paul: Reception, Resistance, and Transformation (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2020); Mitzi J. Smith, Angela Parker, and Erica Dunbar, eds., Bitter the Chastening Rod: African American Interpretation in the Age of #BLM, #SayHerName, and #MeToo (Lexington/Fortress Academic, forthcoming). This volume is designed as a companion and sequel to Stony the Road We Trod; my thanks to Mitzi Smith for sharing a copy of the book proposal.
For recent and representative works in Asian American biblical interpretation, see Tat-siong Benny Liew and Gale A. Yee, eds., The Bible in Asian America, Semeia 90/91 (2002); Mary F. Foskett and Jeffrey Kah-Jin Kuan, eds., Ways of Being, Ways of Reading: Asian American Biblical Interpretation (St. Louis: Chalice, 2006); Rita Nakashima Brock et al., eds., Off the Menu: Asian and Asian North American Women’s Religion and Theology (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2007); Tat-siong Benny Liew, What Is Asian American Biblical Hermeneutics? Reading the New Testament, Intersections (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2008); Gale A. Yee, “Where Are You Really From? An Asian American Feminist Biblical Scholar Reflects on Her Guild,” in New Feminist Christianity: Many Voices, Many Views, ed. Mary E. Hunt and Diann L. Neu (Woodstock, VT: SkyLight Paths, 2010), 70–85, 307–9; Sze-kar Wan, “Asian American Perspectives: Ambivalence of the Model Minority and Perpetual Foreigner,” in Studying Paul’s Letters: Contemporary Perspectives and Methods, ed. Joseph A. Marchal (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2012), 175–90; Jin Young Choi, “Asian/Asian American Interpretation,” in The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and Gender Studies, ed. Julia M. O’Brien (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), 1–9; Uriah Y. Kim and Seung Ai Yang, eds., T&T Clark Handbook of Asian American Biblical Hermeneutics (London: T&T Clark, 2019); Jin Young Choi and Wongi Park, “Systemic Racism and the Global Pandemic: Negotiating Race and Ethnicity in Asian American Biblical Criticism,” Bible and Critical Theory 16 (2020): 1–18.
For recent and representative works in Indigenous biblical interpretation, see Steven Charleston, “The Old Testament of Native America,” in Native and Christian: Indigenous Voices on Religious Identity in the United States and Canada, ed. James Treat (New York: Routledge, 1996), 68–80; and, in the same volume, William Baldridge, “Native American Theology: A Biblical Basis,” 100–101; Mark Clatterbuck, Crow Jesus: Personal Stories of Native Religious Belonging (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2017); Clara Sue Kidwell, Homer Noley, and George E. “Tink” Tinker, A Native American Theology (Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 2001); and in this volume, George E. “Tink” Tinker, “Christology: Who Do You Say That I Am?,” 62–84; Elsa Tamez, “The Bible and the Five Hundred Years of Conquest,” in Sugirtharajah, Voices from the Margin (2016), 3–18; and, in the same volume, Robert Allen Warrior, “A Native American Perspective: Canaanites, Cowboys, and Indians,” 283–90; Ndikho Mtshiselwa, “Indigenous Biblical Scholarship,” OTE 24 (2011): 668–89; T. Christopher Hoklotubbe (Choctaw), “Native American Interpretation of the Bible,” Oxford Biblical Studies Online, 17 February 2021, http://www.oxfordbiblicalstudies.com/article/opr/t998/e70; my thanks to Ray Aldred and T. Christopher Hoklotubbe for help with these references from North America. A number of works have also been published by tribal authors in India and Myanmar, often without an exclusive focus on biblical studies, which raises another set of methodological questions. See, e.g., Rays, the journal of the Myanmar Institute of Theology.
For recent and representative works in Islander biblical interpretation, see Nasili Vaka’uta et al., eds., Talanoa Rhythms: Voices from Oceania (Auckland: Masilamea Press, 2011); Jione Havea, Margaret P. Aymer, and Steed Vernyl Davidson, eds., Islands, Islanders, and the Bible: Ruminations, SemeiaSt 77 (Atlanta: SBL Press, 2015); Jione Havea, David J. Neville, and Elaine M. Wainwright, eds., Bible, Borders, Belonging(s): Engaging Readings from Oceania, SemeiaSt 75 (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2014); Mark G. Brett and Jione Havea, eds., Colonial Contexts and Postcolonial Theologies: Storyweaving in the Asia-Pacific, Postcolonialism and Religions (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014); Steed Vernyl Davidson, “From Sola Scriptura to Maroon-age: Reflections on Caribbean Biblical Interpretation,” Canadian-American Theological Review 6 (2017): 1–16; Brian F. Kolia, “Eve, the Serpent, and a Samoan Love Story: A Fāgogo Reading of Genesis 3:1–19 and Its Implications for Animal Studies,” Bible and Critical Theory 15 (2019): 156–63.
For recent and representative works in Latinx American biblical interpretation, see Francisco Lozada Jr. and Fernando F. Segovia, eds., Latino/a Biblical Hermeneutics: Problematics, Objectives, Strategies, SemeiaSt 68 (Atlanta: SBL Press, 2014); Francisco Lozada Jr., Toward a Latino/a Biblical Interpretation, RBS 91 (Atlanta: SBL Press, 2017); Timothy J. Sandoval, “Latino/a/x Biblical Interpretation Related to the Hebrew Bible,” CurBR 16 (2018): 236–62; Jacqueline M. Hidalgo, “Latina/o/x Studies and Biblical Studies,” Brill Research Perspectives in Biblical Interpretation 3 (2018): 1–98; Francisco Lozada Jr. and Fernando F. Segovia, eds., Latino/a Theology and the Bible: Ethnic-Racial Reflections on Interpretation (Lanham, MD: Lexington/Fortress Academic, 2021).
For recent and representative works in White or Euro-American biblical interpretation, see Tina Pippin, “On the Blurring of Boundaries,” in Yet with a Steady Beat: Contemporary U.S. Afrocentric Biblical Interpretation, ed. Randall C. Bailey, SemeiaSt 42 (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2003), 169–76; Gerrie Snyman, “African Hermeneutics’ ’Outing’ of Whiteness,” Neot 42 (2008): 93–118; Greg Carey, “Introduction and a Proposal: Culture, Power, and Identity in White New Testament Studies,” in Soundings in Cultural Criticism: Perspectives and Methods in Culture, Power, and Identity in the New Testament, ed. Francisco Lozada Jr. and Greg Carey (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2013), 1–13; David G. Horrell, “Paul, Inclusion and Whiteness: Particularizing Interpretation,” JSNT 40 (2017): 123–47; Jeremy Punt, “(Southern) African Postcolonial Biblical Interpretation: A White African Perspective,” JECH 7 (2017): 4–24; Denise Kimber Buell, “Anachronistic Whiteness and the Ethics of Interpretation,” in Hockey and Horrell, Ethnicity, Race, Religion, 149–67.
8 The central tenets of critical race theory are: (1) Racism in the United States is ordinary. (2) There is a white-over-color ascendancy. (3) Race is a social construction that is not biologically determined. (4) Minoritized groups are racialized in different ways at different times. (5) Racial identities are intersectional. (6) Minoritized groups have unique perspectives, based on their own experience of racism, compared to their White counterparts. See Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic, Critical Race Theory: An Introduction (New York: New York University Press, 2001).
9 On whiteness as privilege, see Peggy McIntosh’s classic essay “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack,” which first appeared in Peace and Freedom Magazine, July/August, 1989, 10–12; Karen Weekes, ed., Privilege and Prejudice: Twenty Years with the Invisible Knapsack (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars, 2009). On whiteness as property, see Cheryl I. Harris, “Whiteness as Property,” Harvard Law Review 106 (1993): 1709–91. On working-class racism, see David R. Roediger, The Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Class, Haymarket Series, rev. and expanded ed. (London: Verso, 2007). On whiteness as an unmarked marker, see Ruth Frankenberg, White Women, Race Matters: The Social Construction of Whiteness (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993), 198. On consolidation of power, colonialism, and wealth, see George Lipsitz, The Possessive Investment in Whiteness: How White People Profit from Identity Politics (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2009). For other notions, see Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic, eds., Critical White Studies: Looking behind the Mirror (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1997), a massive 680-page volume of collected essays. See also the large two-volume work of Theodore W. Allen, The Invention of the White Race, Haymarket Series (London: Verso, 1994–1997).
10 For discussions of whiteness in the American Academy of Religion, see David P. Gushee, “In the Ruins of White Evangelicalism: Interpreting a Compromised Christian Tradition through the Witness of African American Literature,” JAAR 87 (2019): 1–17; Rachel C. Schneider and Sophie Bjork-James, “Whither Whiteness and Religion? Implications for Theology and the Study of Religion,” JAAR 88 (2020): 175–99. For treatments of whiteness in theological education, see Willie James Jennings, After Whiteness: An Education in Belonging, Theological Education between the Times (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2020); and Khyati Y. Joshi, White Christian Privilege: The Illusion of Religious Equality in America (New York: New York UniversityPress, 2020). For the field of classics, see Sarah Bond, “Whitewashing Ancient Statues: Whiteness, Racism and Color in the Ancient World,” Forbes, 27 April 2017, https://www.forbes.com/sites/drsarahbond/2017/04/27/whitewashing-ancient-statues-whiteness-racism-and-color-in-the-ancient-world. For other fields in the humanities such as communication and education, see Tammie M. Kennedy et al., “Symposium: Whiteness Studies,” Rhetoric Review 24 (2005): 359–402; Zachary A. Casey, ed., Encyclopedia of Critical Whiteness Studies in Education, Critical Understanding in Education 2 (Leiden: Brill, 2020); my thanks to Luis Menéndez-Antuña for sending me a copy of this book.
11 The report is available on the SBL website: “Member Data Report, 2019” (https://www.sbl-site.org/assets/pdfs/sblMemberProfile2019.pdf).
12 For an analysis of SBL’s demographic statistics in 2015, see Wei Hsien Wan, “Re-examining the Master’s Tools: Considerations on Biblical Studies’ Race Problem,” in Hockey and Horrell, Ethnicity, Race, Religion, 219–29.
14 See Marion Ann Taylor, “Celebrating 125 Years of Women in the Society of Biblical Literature (1894–2019),” in Women and the Society of Biblical Literature, ed. Nicole L. Tilford, BSNA 29 (Atlanta: SBL Press, 2019), 1–46.
15 Gay L. Byron, “My Society of Biblical Literature Journey: Service, Scholarship, and Staying Connected to the Call,” in Tilford, Women and the Society of Biblical Literature, 157–66, here 158.
16 As observed by Wimbush (“Interpreters Enslaving/Enslaved/Runagate,” 7) regarding Ernest W. Saunders, Searching the Scriptures: A History of the Society of Biblical Literature, 1880–1980, BSNA 8 (Chico CA: Scholars Press, 1982).
17 Wimbush, “Interpreters Enslaving/Enslaved/Runagate,” 6–7.
18 This information is not readily available in the SBL Archive (http://pid.emory.edu/ark:/25593/s9fht). Unofficially, some of the early self-identifying Latino members of SBL include Francisco Garcia-Treto, Fernando F. Segovia, and Efrain Agosto. Some of the early Asian and Asian American scholars include R. S. Sugirtharajah, Archie Lee, Joseph Wang, and Chan-Hie Kim; my thanks to Fernando Segovia and Choon-Leong Seow for this information. Regarding the early generation of female scholars, Dominican-born Aida Besançon Spencer earned a PhD in New Testament from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1982. One of the first African American women to earn a PhD in New Testament at Duke University was Clarice J. Martin in 1985, the same year that Chinese American Gale Yee earned her doctorate in Old Testament at Saint Michael’s College. See Taylor, “Celebrating 125 Years of Women,” 23; my thanks to Nicole Tilford for this reference.
19 For a list of past presidents, see https://www.sbl-site.org/assets/pdfs/pastpresidents.pdf.
20 Angela N. Parker, “Invoking Paul’s μὴ γένοιτο and Sofia’s ’Hell No’ against the Stubborn Whiteness of Biblical Scholarship,” The Politics of Scripture, 26 November 2020, https://political-theology.com/invoking-pauls-μὴ γένοιτο-and-sofias-hell-no-against-the-stubborn-whiteness-of-biblical-scholarship/.
21 Wan, “Re-examining the Master’s Tools,” 221.
22 For an excellent treatment of racialization and ethnicization through the dialectic of self and other, see Robert Miles and Malcolm Brown, Racism, 2nd ed. (New York: Routledge, 2004), 87-113. For treatments of racialization in minoritized biblical criticism, see Randall C. Bailey, Tat-siong Benny Liew, and Fernando F. Segovia, “Toward Minority Biblical Criticism: Framework, Contours, Dynamics,” in Bailey, Liew, and Segovia, They Were All Together in One Place, 3-46.
23 The American Anthropological Association issued a statement on 17 May 1998 prepared by a committee of anthropologists. The key point in this statement is as follows: “In the United States both scholars and the general public have been conditioned to viewing human races as natural and separate divisions within the human species based on visible physical differences. With the vast expansion of scientific knowledge in this century, however, it has become clear that human populations are not unambiguous, clearly demarcated, biologically distinct groups. Evidence from the analysis of genetics (e.g., DNA) indicates that most physical variation, about 94%, lies within so-called racial groups. Conventional geographic ‘racial’ groupings differ from one another only in about 6% of their genes. This means that there is greater variation within ‘racial’ groups than between them. In neighboring populations there is much overlapping of genes and their phenotypic (physical) expressions. Throughout history whenever different groups have come into contact, they have interbred. The continued sharing of genetic materials has maintained all of humankind as a single species.” The full statement is available at https://www.americananthro.org/ConnectWithAAA/Content.aspx?ItemNumber=2583. See further Robert Wald Sussman, The Myth of Race: The Troubling Persistence of an Unscientific Idea (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2014).
24 See, e.g., David P. Gushee, After Evangelicalism: The Path to a New Christianity (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2020), 9: “To the extent that US and global evangelicalism (and beyond?!) have been dominated by straight white men, and to the extent that these leaders have interpreted Scripture and tradition in a way that reinforces their power, they have produced exiles from the margins of their community—those who are not white, not male, and not straight.” For an astute analysis of whiteness and tribalism among White evangelicals, see Sze-kar Wan, “Wrestling with the ’Body of Christ’ in an Age of Tribalism: Towards an Asian American Hermeneutics of Dissent,” Bible and Critical Theory 16 (2020): 92–116.
25 Susannah Heschel, “The Slippery Yet Tenacious Nature of Racism: New Developments in Critical Race Theory and Their Implications for the Study of Religion and Ethics,” JSCE 35 (2015): 3–27, here 6.
26 For an analysis of deracializing whiteness and making it visible as Euro or Euro-American biblical interpretation, see Wongi Park, The Politics of Race and Ethnicity in Matthew’s Passion Narrative (Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019), 52–58. Cf. Buell, “Anachronistic Whiteness,” 151; Wongi Park, “Christological Discourse as Racial Discourse,” R&T 23.1–2 (2016): 213–30.
27 Another preferred term, according to Zakiyyah Iman Jackson, is “blackened” people, which refers to a process of “violent imposition and appropriation—inclusion and recognition— of black(ened) humanity in the interest of plasticizing that very humanity” (Becoming Human: Matter and Meaning in an Antiblack World, Sexual Cultures [New York: New York University Press, 2020], 3; my thanks to Mitzi Smith for this reference). This theorization of blackness as process is akin to the term “minoritized.” As Tat-siong Benny Liew and Fernando F. Segovia note in their forthcoming volume, Reading Biblical Texts Together: Doing Minoritized Biblical Criticism: “First, ’minority’ forms part of an opposition alongside ’dominant’ to signify the presence of differential formations and relations of power in society and culture. Second, this opposition, dominant–minority, applies across the multiple axes of identity that mark human existence, including that of ethnicity-race. Third, the term ’minoritized’ emphasizes this relation of domination and subordination, superiority and inferiority, at work in all axes of human identity, whereby one formation erects itself as ’dominant’ while casting others as ’minorities.’ Consequently, a minority formation is the product of a process of minoritization, whereby that formation has been rendered minoritized by another.” In other words, no one is born ontologically Black; they are blackened into existence. In the same way, no one is born as a minority; they are minoritized into existence. Curiously, White and Black are the only two racial categories that refer to both race and color. For an analysis of the dominant–minority dialectic vis-à-vis deracialization and whiteness studies, see Wongi Park, “The Black Jesus, the Mestizo Jesus, and the Historical Jesus,” BibInt 25 (2017): 190–205.
28 This critique is informed by critical race theory and the lament that the Black/White binary is a deeply flawed logic all too common in popular and academic discourse. See Delgado and Stefancic, Critical Race Theory, 75: “[The Black/White binary] effectively dictates that nonblack minority groups must compare their treatment to that of African Americans to redress their grievances. The paradigm holds that one group, blacks, constitutes the prototypical minority group. ‘Race’ means, quintessentially, African American. Other groups such as Asian, American Indians, and Latino/as, are minorities only insofar as their experience and treatment can be analogized to those of blacks.” For more on the Black/White binary, see Linda Martín Alcoff, “Latino/as, Asian Americans, and the Black-White Binary,” Journal of Ethics 7 (2003): 5–27; Janine Young Kim, “Are Asians Black? The Asian-American Civil Rights Agenda and the Contemporary Significance of the Black/White Paradigm,” Yale Law Journal 108 (1999): 2385–2412; Claire Jean Kim, “Are Asians the New Blacks? Affirmative Action, Anti-Blackness, and the ‘Sociometry’ of Race,” Du Bois Review 15.2 (2018): 217–44.
29 One of the more difficult and challenging readings on the topic is by Tink Tinker (wazhazhe/Osage Nation), “What Are We Going to Do with White People?,” The New Polis (17 December 2019), https://thenewpolis.com/2019/12/17/what-are-we-going-to-do-with-white-people-tink-tinker-wazhazhe-osage-nation/. My thanks to Mark G. Brett for sharing this article.
30 See, e.g., Jonathan Sheehan, The Enlightenment Bible: Translation, Scholarship, Culture (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007); Michael C. Legaspi, The Death of Scripture and the Rise of Biblical Studies, OSHT (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010); J. W. Rogerson, “Historical Criticism and the Authority of the Bible,” in The Oxford Handbook of Biblical Studies, ed. Judith M. Lieu and J. W. Rogerson (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), 843–60.
31 Ernst Troeltsch, “Über historische und dogmatische Methode in der Theologie,” Gesammelte Schriften, 4 vols. (Tübingen: Mohr, 1912–1925), 2:729–53; Troeltsch, “Historiography,” in Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, ed. James Hastings, 13 vols. (New York: Scribner, 1914), 6:716–23. For a discussion of these principles, see Van Austin Harvey, The Historian and the Believer: The Morality of Historical Knowledge and Christian Belief (New York: Macmillan, 1966).
32 Ekaputra Tupamahu, “The Stubborn Invisibility of Whiteness in Biblical Scholarship,” The Politics of Scripture, 12 November 2020, https://politicaltheology.com/the-stubborn-invisibility-of-whiteness-in-biblical-scholarship/.
33 Rogerson and Lieu, Oxford Handbook of Biblical Studies, xvii.
34 Buell, “Anachronistic Whiteness,” 155.
35 Yee, “Thinking Intersectionally,” 13.
36 Stephen D. Moore and Yvonne Sherwood, The Invention of the Biblical Scholar: A Critical Manifesto (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2011), 47: “contemporary biblical scholarship, including even those developments within it that most readily invite the label ‘postmodern(ist),‘ is still fundamentally predetermined and contained by the Enlightenment épistémè, and far more than is generally realized.”
37 George Aichele, Peter Miscall, and Richard Walsh, “An Elephant in the Room: Historical-Critical and Postmodern Interpretations of the Bible,” JBL 128 (2009): 383–404, https://doi.org/10.2307/25610189; Ronald Hendel, “Mind the Gap: Modern and Postmodern in Biblical Studies,” JBL 133 (2014): 422–43, https://doi.org/10.15699/jbibllite.133.2.422; Stephen D. Moore, “Watch the Target: A Post-Postmodernist Response to Ronald Hendel,” JBL 133 (2014): 444–50, https://doi.org/10.15699/jbibllite.133.2.444. See also A. K. M. Adam, What Is Postmodern Biblical Criticism? (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1995); John J. Collins, The Bible after Babel: Historical Criticism in a Postmodern Age (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2005); Donald Hagner, “The Place of Exegesis in the Postmodern World,” in History and Exegesis: New Testament Essays in Honor of Dr. E. Earle Ellis for His 80th Birthday, ed. Sang-Won Son (New York: T&T Clark, 2006), 292–308.
38 Stephen R. Haynes and Steven L. McKenzie, To Each Its Own Meaning: An Introduction to Biblical Criticisms and Their Application, rev. and expanded ed. (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1999).
39 Ibid., 7 (emphasis original).
40 See Moore and Sherwood, Invention of the Biblical Scholar; cf. Collins, Bible after Babel.
41 Richard N. Soulen and R. Kendall Soulen, Handbook of Biblical Criticism, 4th ed. (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2011), v.
42 John J. Collins writes, “It is not the case that the postmodernists have captured the field. Far from it. Diversity of approaches is at best a mixed blessing, and sometimes threatens to become a curse. But neither is traditional historical criticism accurately described as the totalitarian monolith that some of its critics make it out to be” (Bible after Babel, 3).
43 Mark G. Brett and Susan E. Hylen, “Biblical Studies in a Pandemic,” JBL 139 (2020): 597–99, here 598, https://doi.org/10.15699/jbl.1393.2020.9.
44 Fernando F. Segovia, “’And They Began to Speak in Other Tongues’: Competing Modes of Discourse in Contemporary Biblical Criticism,” in Social Location and Biblical Interpretation in the United States, vol. 1 of Reading from This Place, ed. Fernando F. Segovia and Mary Ann Tolbert (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1995), 1–34.
45 Katharine Doob Sakenfeld, “Whose Text Is It?,” JBL 127 (2008): 5–18, here 7, https://doi.org/10.2307/25610103.
46 Cain Hope Felder, “Introduction,” in Stony the Road We Trod, 6: “Even the apparently nonprejudicial search for ’the original meaning’ of a text is usually driven by a desire to demonstrate that the Eurocentric interpreter’s own favored position is closest to that ’original meaning.’ ... What passes for normative hermeneutics is in fact white, male, Eurocentric hermeneutics.”
47 Cain Hope Felder, “Beyond Eurocentric Biblical Interpretation: Reshaping Racial and Cultural Lenses in Christian Education,” JITC 40 (2014): 5–20, here 10.
48 Ibid., 17.
49 Felder, “Introduction,” 6.
50 Brown, Blackening of the Bible, 21.
51 Thomas B. Slater, “Africa,” EDB, 24.
52 Charles B. Copher, “The Black Presence in the Old Testament,” in Felder, Stony the Road We Trod, 146–64. See also Gosbert T. M. Byamungu, “Postcolonial Discourse and the Use of the Hebrew Bible in African Theology: The Case of Joshua 9,” in Inculturation and Postcolonial Discourse in African Theology, ed. Edward P. Antonio, Society and Politics in Africa 14 (New York: Lang, 2006), 209–40.
53 Racializing refers to a process that occurs in relation to the minoritized other. Deracializing, by contrast, refers to a process that occurs in relation to the dominant self. For a fuller account of deracialization, see Park, Politics of Race and Ethnicity, 47–87.
54 Karen Teel, “Whiteness in Catholic Theological Method,” JAAR 87 (2019): 401–33, here 411: “Whiteness is powerblind Eurocentrism.” My thanks to Beth Ritter-Conn for sending me this article.
55 Wimbush, “Interpreters Enslaving/Enslaved/Runagate,” 8 (emphasis added).
56 Jacqueline M. Hidalgo, “The Politics of Reading: US Latinas, Biblical Studies, and Retrofitted Memory in Demetria Martínez’s Mother Tongue,” JFSR 29 (2013): 120–31, here 121.
57 “25 Years and Counting: Reflecting on the Past and Future of SBL’s Committee on Under-represented Racial/Ethnic Minorities in the Profession” (emphasis added), https://www.sbl-site.org/assets/pdfs/CUREMP_25th_Anniv.Society_Report_final.pdf. A representative list of SBL units and sections that address racial/ethnic contexts includes African Biblical Hermeneutics; African American Biblical Hermeneutics; Asian and Asian American Hermeneutics; African Association for the Study of Religion; Contextual Biblical Interpretation; Latino/a and Latin American Biblical Interpretation. For more information, see https://www.sbl-site.org/sblcommittees_curemp_activities.aspx. My thanks to Raj Nadella for this information.
58 Wan, “Re-examining the Master’s Tools,” 220 n. 5. Notable exceptions would be the Society for Asian Biblical Studies and the Oceanic Biblical Studies Association.
59 R. S. Sugirtharajah, Asian Biblical Hermeneutics and Postcolonialism: Contesting the Interpretations, Bible and Liberation (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1998), 113: “Eurocentrism works on a double premise. It looks to Greece for its intellectual and philosophical roots, and dips into its Judaic heritage for its religious origins.”
60 Kelley, Racializing Jesus, 211.
61 Colin Kidd, The Forging of Races: Race and Scripture in the Protestant Atlantic World, 1600–2000 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 1.
62 Willie James Jennings, The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2010), 6.
63 Deane Galbraith, “The Perpetuation of Racial Assumptions in Biblical Studies,” in History, Politics and the Bible from the Iron Age to the Media Age: Essays in Honour of Keith W. Whitelam, ed. James G. Crossley and Jim West, LHBOTS 651 (New York: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2016), 116–34, here 133–34.
64 Musa W. Dube, Postcolonial Feminist Interpretation of the Bible (St. Louis: Chalice, 2000); Stephen D. Moore and Fernando F. Segovia, eds., Postcolonial Biblical Criticism Interdisciplinary Intersections, Bible and Postcolonialism (London: T&T Clark, 2007); Roland Boer, Last Stop before Antarctica: The Bible and Postcolonialism in Australia, SemeiaSt 64 (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2008); Mark G. Brett, Decolonizing God: The Bible in the Tides of Empire, Bible in the Modern World 16 (Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix, 2009); R. S. Sugirtharajah, Postcolonial Criticism and Biblical Interpretation (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009); Roland Boer, Postcolonialism and the Hebrew Bible: The Next Step, SemeiaSt 70 (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2013); Jione Havea, Postcolonial Voices from Downunder: Indigenous Matters, Confronting Readings (Eugene, OR: Pickwick, 2017).
65 Wan, “Re-examining the Master’s Tools,” 220.
66 R. S. Sugirtharajah, “Afterword: Marginal Mappers, Eternal Outsiders: Twenty-five Years of Voices from the Margin,” in Sugirtharajah, Voices from the Margin (2016), 593–607, here 603.
67 See Buell, “Anachronistic Whiteness,” 154; and Gay Byron, “Ancient Ethiopia and the New Testament: Ethnic (Con)texts and Racialized (Sub)texts,” in Bailey, They Were All Together In One Place?, 161–90.
68 Ekaputra Tupamahu, “‘I Don’t Want to Hear Your Language!‘ White Social Imagination and the Demography of Roman Corinth,” Bible and Critical Theory 16 (2020): 64–91, here 66–71.
69 Haley Gabrielle, “DesiCrit in New Testament Interpretation: Paul’s Ambiguous Identity in Acts,” Bible and Critical Theory 16 (2020): 19–40, here 24.
70 For deintroducing biblical studies, see Todd Penner and Davina C. Lopez, De-Introducing the New Testament: Texts, Worlds, Methods, Stories (Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2015). For reintroduction, see Mitzi J. Smith and Yung Suk Kim, Toward Decentering the New Testament: A Reintroduction (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2018).
71 On racist effects, see Kelley, Racializing Jesus, 211. On anti-Semitism, see Heschel, Aryan Jesus, 43. Cf. the nuanced discussion in Bernard M. Levinson, “Reading the Bible in Nazi Germany: Gerhard von Rad’s Attempt to Reclaim the Old Testament for the Church,” Int 62 (2008): 238–54; and Jon D. Levenson, “Is There a Counterpart in the Hebrew Bible to New Testament Anti-Semitism?,” JES 22 (1985): 242–60.
72 On the commentary genre, see David G. Horrell, “Paul, Inclusion and Whiteness: Particularizing Interpretation,” JSNT 40 (2017): 123–47. On museums and archives, see Gregory L. Cuéllar, Empire, the British Museum, and the Making of the Biblical Scholar in the Nineteenth Century: Archival Criticism (Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019).
73 Jacquelyn Grant, White Women’s Christ and Black Women’s Jesus: Feminist Christology and Womanist Response, AARAS 64 (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1989); George Yancy, ed., Christology and Whiteness: What Would Jesus Do? (London: Routledge, 2012); Wongi Park, “Christological Discourse as Racial Discourse,” R&T 23.1–2 (2016): 213–30.
74 Chin Ming Stephen Lim, Contextual Biblical Hermeneutics as Multicentric Dialogue: Towards a Singaporean Reading of Daniel, BibInt 175 (Leiden: Brill, 2019), 3–9. For two other articles that theorize a spatial approach to context by Chin Ming Stephen Lim, see “The Impe(/a)rative of Dialogue in Asian Hermeneutics within the Modern/Colonial World System: Renegotiating Biblical Pasts for Planetary Futures,” BibInt 25:4–5 (2017): 663–78; and “Undoing Chinese Privilege through Reading with the Other,” Journal of Law and Social Sciences 7 (2018): 3–10.
75 Among many other strategies, Bailey, Liew, and Segovia call for discursive cross-fertilization (“Toward Minority Biblical Criticism,” 6).
76 Denise Kimber Buell, “Canons Unbound,” in Feminist Biblical Studies in the 20th Century: Scholarship and Movement, ed. Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, BW 9.1 (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2014), 293–306.
77 Buell, “Anachronistic Whiteness,” 155.
78 Liew, What Is Asian American Biblical Hermeneutics?, 8–9.
79 My thanks to Terry Leblanc and Wei Hsien Wan for this example.
80 Althea Spencer-Miller, “Rethinking Orality for Biblical Studies,” in Boer, Postcolonialism and the Hebrew Bible, 35–68. Cf. the critical use of Priestly tradition in Makesia Neemia, “The Hebrew Bible and Postcolonial Samoan Hermeneutics,” in Brett and Havea, Colonial Contexts and Postcolonial Theologies, 67–79. On slave narrative traditions, see Emerson Powery, “The Origins of Whiteness and the Black (Biblical) Imagination: The Bible in the ’Slave Narrative’ Tradition,” in The Bible in American Life, ed. Philip Goff, Arthur E. Farnsley II, and Peter J. Thuesen (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017), 81–88.
81 Jione Havea, ed., Sea of Readings: The Bible in the South Pacific, SemeiaSt 90 (Atlanta: SBL Press, 2018).
82 Ramantswana, “Decolonising Biblical Hermeneutics,” 178.
83 Liew, “Black Scholarship Matters,” 239.
84 Ekaputra Tupamahu, Contesting Languages: Heteroglossia and the Politics of Language in the Early Church (Oxford University Press, forthcoming).
85 On textual criticism, see Yii-Jan Lin, “Musical Performance Practice and New Testament Textual Criticism: A Proposal for Creative Philology,” Early Christianity 11 (2020): 71–93, here 91: “This particular, contextual perspective also endures because it enjoys a privileged position as the unmarked default viewpoint of biblical studies in general and textual criticism in particular.... I propose an exploration of textual criticism that shifts away from white textual criticism with its focus on reconstruction and the search for origins and genealogies.” On empire, see Steed Vernyl Davidson, Empire and Exile: Postcolonial Readings of the Book of Jeremiah, LHBOTS 542 (New York: T&T Clark, 2011). On the Synoptic Problem, see Ekaputra Tupamahu, “Stubborn Invisibility of Whiteness.” On feminist scholarship, see Grant, White Women’s Christ, 177–94. On Pauline scholarship, see Cavan W. Concannon, “When You Were Gentiles”: Specters of Ethnicity in Roman Corinth and Paul’s Corinthian Correspondence, Synkrisis (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2014), 172: “The ideology of Pauline studies privileges Paul’s voice over others and makes use of his voice to enforce and authorize the theological, political, and social views of the interpreter, who is usually white, Western, and male.”
86 Gale A. Yee, “Yin/Yang Is Not Me: An Exploration into an Asian American Biblical Hermeneutics,” in Ways of Being, Ways of Reading: Asian American Biblical Interpretation, ed. Mary F. Foskett and Jeffrey Kah-Jin Kuan (St. Louis: Chalice, 2006) 152–63, here 162.
87 Gafney, “Reflection on the Black Lives Matter Movement,” 204 n. 1.
88 Randall C. Bailey and Jacquelyn Grant, eds., The Recovery of Black Presence: An Interdisciplinary Exploration; Essays in Honor of Dr. Charles B. Copher (Nashville: Abingdon, 1995).
89 Mitzi J. Smith, Womanist Sass and Back Talk: Social (In)Justice, Intersectionality and Biblical Interpretation (Eugene, OR: Cascade, 2018); cf. Newton, “African American Bible,” 221–28.
90 Byron, Symbolic Blackness, 55–76.
91 Junior, “Mark of Cain,” 662.
92 Powery and Sadler, Genesis of Liberation, 60.
93 Angela N. Parker, “‘And the Word Became ... Gossip?‘ Unhinging the Samaritan Woman in the Age of #MeToo,” RevExp 117 (2020): 259–71.
94 On individual agency, see Buell, “Anachronistic Whiteness,” 151. On intersectional methods, see Yee, “Thinking Intersectionally,” 8. On present issues, see Segovia, “Criticism in Critical Times,” 21–29.
95 Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, Democratizing Biblical Studies: Toward an Emancipatory Educational Space (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2009), 14.
96 Gerald West, “Interlocution after Liberation: Who Do We Interpret With and Which Biblical Text Do We Read With?” HvTSt 76.3 (2020): art. a6031, pp. 1–9, https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v76i3.6031.
97 Angela N. Parker, “One Womanist’s View of Racial Reconciliation in Galatians,” JFSR 34 (2018): 23–40.
98 Love L. Sechrest, “Enemies, Romans, Pigs, and Dogs: Loving the Other in the Gospel of Matthew,” ExAud 31 (2015): 71–105, here 75.
99 Penner and Lopez, De-Introducing the New Testament, 194.
100 Fernando F. Segovia, “Pedagogical Discourse and Practices in Cultural Studies: Toward a Contextual Biblical Pedgagogy,” in Decolonizing Biblical Studies, 87–115.