Extract from Anne Arabome, “In Search of Eternal Life: Reading the Scriptures Through Women’s Eyes” in Visions and Vocations:
As women from diverse cultures and backgrounds, and considering our experiences of oppressive and marginalizing patriarchy both in theological scholarship and doctrinal disquisitions, the first methodological imperative is to adopt a critical stance vis-à-vis the Bible. To recall an African proverb, “Eneke the bird says that since men have learnt to shoot without missing, it has learnt to fly without perching.” The fact that official biblical exegesis and hermeneutics continue to be skewed by patriarchal proclivities, no matter how subtle, should arouse a hermeneutical suspicion in women. We cannot take its content at face value. Over the centuries, too many men have appealed to scripture to define the place of women in church and society on issues as diverse as marriage, property rights, human dignity, maternity and social relationships. Like Eneke the bird, women must learn to evade this trap and develop their own epistemological and hermeneutical resources for reading, understanding and applying biblical data to their lived reality.