Gay, Naw Eh Tar (2011)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.
Myanmar has undergone a political upheaval since colonial times. The country suffers in every aspects of life due to the political situation. Religious teachings, social and cultural traditions prolong these difficulties. Therefore words such as authority, power and submission have gained important in Myanmar. Those in power employ these to reinforce their rule and control people. In this context, a question that arises is what is the role of Christianity in Myanmar? Therefore the specific question for Christianity is to address how the teachings of the New Testament contribute or hinder the pursuit of freedom by the powerless and how we apply the concepts of authority, power and submission focused in some New Testament letters.
This work looks at some New Testament texts which demand the authority, power and submission in people’s social, political and religious life. The postcolonial feminist uses imperial studies, decolonising, depatriarchalising, decoding, and de-moding as tools to analyse how these texts came into being with the influences of Greaco-Roman patriarchal, colonial and imperial systems. It also looks at how these texts were exegeted by mainstream scholarship, missionaries, Asian liberation theologians and Feminists and specifically by Myanmar Christians. This is in order to scrutinise if these interpretations reinforce or resist the authority and power.
The postcolonial feminist resistant reading examines the texts from a Myanmar Buddhist context. It challenges all the colonial/imperial and patriarchal mentalities not only in the texts but also in parallel Buddhist teachings and Myanmar cultural traditions and tries to find out the unheard voices and hidden resistant materials respectively. This reading focuses on balancing power and submission. This work is a weapon to challenge the power, a voice to represent and a remedy for empowering ‘the others’ or the marginalised.
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