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Conflicting Visions of Jonah – or Rather Diversity?

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In conversation with a proposal that the book of Jonah was written as a reaction to the two apparently contradictory wisdom sayings of Proverbs 13:21 and Psalm 25:8, this paper reviews the book of Jonah in light of the two maxims from a Latin American perspective. Noting the element of surprise throughout the book, the author gives a contextual interpretation to the change of Jonah's appearance from dove (a passive character) to wolf (an enraged character) willing to die rather than witness God's mercy. As a missionary concern, the author parallels the anger of "Christian continent" (Latin America) against God's mercy for "outsiders" and the continent's self-righteousness with Jonah's enraged character. The self-righteousness is so strong that churches and congregations would rather die than open God's grace to others (Jonah 4). The paper concludes by stating that gender studies have alerted us to the danger of employing either/or (rather than both/and) and hierarchical (rather than egalitarian) categories and interpretations that do not leave sufficient space for diversity, both in the biblical text and in congregational life today.


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