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Kallelse och kön: Schabloner i läsning av Matteusevangeliets berättelser
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Education.
2006 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other scientific)Alternative title
Vocation and Gender Reinterpreted : Patterns in the Narratives of the Gospel of Matthew (English)
Abstract [en]

The concept of vocation is central to the Christian tradition and views of life. In the Lutheran tradition vocation is understood as a word describing how man’s view of himself as well as his view of his duties are shaped in relation to God. Although not meant to exclude women, the concept of vocation has been clearly gendered. The references to vocation are manifold, ranging from the realms of individual life choices to life in communities and in the church.

The purpose of this study is to examine the concept of vocation in the perspective of Scriptural Criticism in order to contribute to an understanding of the ambiguous and shifting usage of the term, and to analyse the relationship between vocation and gender, historically and in relation to the Gospel of Matthew, thus also contributing to the construction of a gender aware theology of vocation. In the study Scriptural Criticism, a model for interpretation developed by Cristina Grenholm and Daniel Patte, in which text, theology, and life are combined in mutual and critical interaction, is used as a theoretical frame and interpretative method. Patriarchal and androcentric patterns are fundamental analytical concepts.

The study shows that the pattern of vocation changed during the 19th century from being a patriarchal pattern to an androcentric pattern. These patterns are apprehended as theological interpretations that have come to a stop, and thus applied to new contexts without reinterpretation. In common language the word vocation (or calling) is used as a fixed pattern without reinterpretation, and so mediating a life interpretation that is not renewed in relation either to individual life or to life in social community. By rereading vocation in relation to the narratives of the Gospel of Matthew and contemporary views of men’s and women’s shared life conditions, its fixed patterns can be reevaluated and reinterpreted. The connection between patterns of gender and patterns of vocation can be dissolved, so that vocation as a concept loses its association with the enforced subordination of women.

The study draws attention to the fact that vocation can neither be unequivocally understood as a concept of theology, nor as textually mediated, nor as a life experience. Rather, it is a word that serves as a powerful tool for understanding life, bringing together experiences, narratives, and conceptions of God and the human being. Two patterns of vocation are revealed through the scriptural critical reading of the Gospel of Matthew. These patterns are related to different hierarchical positions, but are not univocally based on gender. The interpreter is underscored to have an important role. The gendered stereotypes of vocation are possible but not necessary to reproduce. In the process of interpretation there are opportunities to reconsider earlier interpreters ways of understanding the relation between vocation and gender. This is a challenging and empowering responsibility.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Estetisk-filosofiska fakulteten , 2006. , 264 p.
Karlstad University Studies, ISSN 1403-8099 ; 2006:25
Keyword [en]
vocation, calling, theology, hermeneutics, interpretation, the Gospel of Matthew, stereotypes, Martin Luther, androcentrism, patriarchy, mission, work, responsibility, emancipation, power, feminism, gender, women
National Category
Religious Studies
Research subject
Religious Studies and Theology
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-384ISBN: 91-7063-056-9OAI: diva2:6036
Public defence
2006-09-30, Agardhsalen, 11D 257, Karlstads universitet, 13:15
Available from: 2006-09-08 Created: 2006-09-08

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