Approaches to meaning and the way that texts are read have changed dramatically over the past century. This is particularly true where interpretations of texts have been given an authoritative status, and used to perpetuate power imbalances and discrimination. The exposure of the way that texts are used in this way, particularly by feminist thinkers, has put pressure on traditional Christian understandings of gender and the role of women in the Christian faith community. There is currently a debate within Evangelical Christianity over whether women are equal to men in status, and whether they can function in certain leadership roles. William Webb proposes a redemptive-movement hermeneutic that he uses to identify cultural components within Scripture that may have been progressive in terms of their own culture, but are regressive relative to ours. Webb proposes eighteen criteria that enable the interpreter to discover the redemptive movement of these texts relative to their own culture, and then makes application to contemporary culture on the basis of this. The main weakness of Webb’s model is that the destination of the redemptive movement he discerns in Scripture seems to be determined by what is pragmatic and even politically correct in his own western culture. This research will propose an eschatological trajectory for Webb’s redemptive movement that is based an understanding of the kingdom of God as the rule of God, which has broken into history as an inaugurated reality in the coming of Jesus Christ. When eschatology becomes the controlling factor for Webb’s redemptive movement hermeneutic, an understanding of gender emerges from the Bible that is completely egalitarian. This is confirmed by examining a number of eschatological motifs for their significance with regard to gender. The eschatological egalitarianism proposed by this research encourages the full participation of women in all areas of life and ministry in the Christian faith community. Copyright
Dissertation (MA(Theol))--University of Pretoria, 2010.