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Gandhi On Daniel 6

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Cultural exegesis represents an attempt to take seriously the issue of the perspective and background of the contemporary reader of the biblical text, particularly given differences in culturally determined perception. The promise of a "cultural exegesis" is not merely the recognition of cultural influence in textual interpretation, but the possibility that these culturally influenced interpretations can provide new directions for critical analysis for all scholars, and not only for those who share the cultural orientation of the specific reader suggesting a particular reading or interpretation. This paper takes Mahatma Gandhi's observations on Daniel 6 as a possible case of "culturally influenced" interpretation. Some of Gandhi's comments anticipate some of the more recent trends in the analysis of Daniel 1-6, while others lead in new critical directions entirely. At issue is not whether or not Gandhi was "correct" in his interpretation and use of the Daniel motif, but whether his comments (which drew on his particular cultural background by comparing Daniel to such Hindu figures as Mirabai) provide the basis for new scholarly investigations of historical as well as contemporary interpretations of the Daniel stories.

Affiliations: 1: Loyola Marymount University

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