Fekuki of the Gibeonites (Joshua 9-10), tricking Oceania biblical interpretation

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Fekuki is a Tongan word that translates as “engagement.â€� When hyphenated, fe-kuki invites two other meanings, influenced by the English language: one who wants to cook (kuki) and/or to be [Captain] Cook. Fe-kuki can thus also nourish and feed, as well as suppress and colonize. This article offers a talanoa-style reading of the fekuki of the Gibeonites in Joshua 9-10 (they tricked their way into the Israelite community), in the process of which a response is made to the OBSA call for methods of Oceania biblical interpretation (OBI). The trickery of the Gibeonites invites the shifting of sympathies, from uncritically favoring the invading Israelites toward appreciating the courage of natives to fool the invaders. The Gibeonites were enslaved to work at the temple of the invaders (to drawer water, and to be hewers of wood), but readers have not learned to appreciate their courage to fekuki, to engage, instead of turning and be methodically pushed over. Distinguishing methodology from perspective and attitude, and seeing that obsession with methodology is one of the marks of modernity, i conclude that there is nothing wrong with not having rigorous- and Western-defined interpretive methodologies. But there is everything wrong with suppressing local perspectives and attitudes in doing biblical interpretation in Oceania. In the end, this article proposes fekuki as an attitude for doing biblical interpretation and encourages readers in Oceania not to be bothered with not having clear Oceanic methods but to be bold in reading with Oceanic attitudes and perspectives.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-27
Number of pages21
JournalPacific Journal of Theology
Issue number50
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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