|dc.description.abstract||The concept of silence, which is understood by Myanmar people as a sign of submission to the powerful who are anyone in a position of authority, has gained importance in Myanmar due to its prolonged history of imperial, colonial, and post-colonial authoritarian rules. This prolonged history reinforces the rule of the powerful and their control of the people. It has greatly impacted the current political and social sphere, including between rulers and ruled, relationships between men and women, parents and children, and also the religious sphere between leaders and followers of different religions in Myanmar. Within Myanmar Christianity, this concept of silence as a sign of women’s submission to authority gained its importance through the teachings of nineteenth century missionaries. Among the missionaries, Adoniram Judson was the most influential due to his scholarly work on Burmese Bible translation. Myanmar Christians read this Scripture from their past experiences of silence, and thus uncritically accept the role of silence for women in church and society.
In this context, the first question that this work seeks to answer is “what is the impact of 1 Corinthians 14:33b-36 on Myanmar Christians’ views of the role of women in the church?” Therefore, this work looks at this text, which demands that women keep silent in the church, and how this text was translated in the Judson’s Burmese Bible. The uncritical acceptance of Judson’s translation demonstrates that the common hermeneutical approach in Myanmar is a literal approach. This approach is unaware of how the text embodies the translator’s interpretive viewpoints in translation.
This indicates the need for a critical analysis of hermeneutics in Myanmar, and thus leads to the second question that asks “what would a satisfactory contextual hermeneutic in Myanmar today look like in order to interpret passages that concern women for today?” In order to answer this, firstly, this work looks at how 1 Corinthians 14:33b-36 has been interpreted by three representative contemporary schools of interpretation: the literal traditional, feminist and egalitarian interpretations, and thus points out the importance of starting point in determining the meaning of the text.
All of these interpretations represent current views in Myanmar about the role of women in the church. They will be analyzed in order to draw appropriate hermeneutical principles for Myanmar today. Then this work proposes a critical contextual feminist hermeneutical methodology for Myanmar, which takes the Bible seriously as the rule of faith and life. This method includes exegesis and the evaluation of three contexts, Myanmar culture, exegesis of Scripture, and analysis of Judson’s Burmese Bible Translation.
The intention is to promote critical evaluation that leads to an informed response that makes it possible for Myanmar Christians to evaluate and implement appropriate contextualized practices. Critical keys for evaluation in analyzing the text include Jesus’ example of servant leadership, and Paul’s general acceptance of women's involvement in the church. This work challenges the traditional reading of the concept of silence and raises questions of relevancy in the contemporary context of Myanmar. These questions require a critical dialogue with the gospel.||