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Moses and Abraham Go Arctic

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This paper reads the Gospel of John as expounded by Musa W. Dube in her article 'Savior of the World but not of This World: A Post-Colonial Reading of Spatial Construction in John' alongside the religious situation in contemporary Greenland, itself an often ignored example of the dilemmas of colonisation and postcolonialism. Tensions between the Danish Lutheran State Church and anti-Danish members of the indigenous Inuit populations over the place of Christianity in contemporary Inuit identity are analogous to the tension in John's gospel over who can claim to be Israel. In making this comparison, I hope not to exemplify what David Jobling warns us about: "Simple links between biblical and current situations, whether they leave the Bible looking good or bad, convey no lasting benefit." I seek to overcome the theoretical problems inherent in blindly adopting Dube's intertextual methods by employing Jonathan Z. Smith's observations on comparison. This in turn poses another range of problems about identity and method for readers as well as for the text which will be outlined here. Both the New Testament and the contemporary situation reveal the complexity of identities which simple categories of 'coloniser' and 'colonised' do not encompass.

Affiliations: 1: Macquarie University


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