So, we remind ourselves from yesterday, what are we to make of Colossians in a postmodern world if Colossians is a worldview text? Another piece of the puzzle we find in Walsh and Keesmaat, Colossians Remixed.
Michel Foucault: “Truth is a thing of this world… induces effects of power … Each society has its regime of truth … the status of of those who are charged with saying what counts as true” (102). Truth is constructed and power is its originator. Truth thus becomes a regime.
They turn to Colossians 2:8-23.
Paul is totalizing in 1:15-20; 9:9, 10, 15 — Christ is all in all. He denounces the rhetoric of others as “philosophy” and “empty deceit.”
“Doesn’t all of this suggest that Paul’s rhetoric reflects an inherently totalizing regime of truth designed to wipe out alterity, delegitimate difference and allow only for the univocal discourse of orthodoxy?” (103). There you have it — a Foucauldian reading of Colossians in one question.
Are we sensitive, they ask, to the marginalized voice of Paul’s opponents? Should we “unmask the power grab … deconstruct the normativity of the author’s voice and give back legitimate voice to that which has been silenced and marginalized”? (104).
This, they say, is a “facile strategy.” Of course that language connotes normativity. “So what?” “What such ‘reading against the grain’ of the text actually accomplishes is a new kind of violence with a new opponent who is deemed to have deviated from another assumed normative stance” (104-5).
Instead of lifting the marginalized this approach simply marginalizes Paul. What to do? Tomorrow.