Pedagogy of Weakness

Pedagogy of Weakness November 4, 2011

In her fascinating In the Wake of the Goddesses: Women, Culture and the Biblical Transformation of Pagan Myth , Tikva Frymer-Kensky argues that the Bible does not have any notion of “feminine wiles”: “There is no woman’s toolkit.” Men and women use the rhetoric of guilt, men as well as women use deception when they are in vulnerable positions.

As Frymer-Kensky puts it, “There are only the strategies that are used along the various axes of power: women-man; men-men of power; Israel-nations.” Israel is often in a position of weakness: “Israel, as a small, beleaguered, and ultimately captured nation had good reason to value the powers of the weak. Intelligence, guilt, trickery, and astuteness are the very attributes that Israel needs to survive.”

Israel’s history under the old covenant is a pedagogy, but it is not a training in strength but a training for strength-in-weakness, fulfilled in the cross.

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