Interpretation of the Biblical First Creation Account within the Japanese Context
No reader can escape from his/her own social and cultural circumstances, including her/his initial language, even when reading the Bible. This thesis researches and proposes how the Japanese people should interpret the biblical first creation account (Gen.1:1-2:4a). Concerning theology, I regard the postmodern approach as more important than the traditional historical approach, although I do not ignore the historical approach. The postmodern way, which emphasises textual autonomy, rhetorical strategy, dialogical atmosphere, and intertextuality, contributes to analyse how the text influences and transforms society. For the goal of this thesis, in the first place I research how the first creation account can be translated into the Japanese language. Translation is one of the important factors, both because most Japanese readers cannot avoid depending on Japanese translated versions, and because translation, a sort of interpretation, affects their reading. After discussing the basic theories of bible translation, I present my translation version, considering grammatical and conceptual differences between the Hebrew and Japanese languages. In the second place, I examine the text within the Japanese social context. I divide the biblical text into four parts. The first part asserts that the ideology conflict implied in Gen.1:1-2 should present a subversive model against Japanese Imperialism. The second part maintains that the view of nature in Gen.1:3-25 enables the Japanese people to treat nature and environment with respect. The third part describes that the view of humanity in Gen.1:26-31 contains the possibility to change the situation of discrimination in Japanese society. The fourth part insists that the concept of the Sabbath in Gen.2:1-3 should be able to release the Japanese people from consumerism. In the conclusion, I summarize the thesis and suggest that other biblical passages can be interpreted by other current societies with the methodology which I propose.