Meredith Warren deposited Entangled Tongues: A Poststructuralist and Postcolonial Reading of Acts 2:1-13 in the group Journal for Interdisciplinary Biblical Studies on Humanities Commons 10 months ago
This essay explores the meaning of the word glōssa, the tongue, in Acts. The focus of my study will be Acts 2:1-13, the Pentecost narrative, where the reader first interacts with tongues of fire and with the experience of glossolalia, speaking in tongues. I read this passage exegetically (but playfully) while I consider the meaning and usage of the tongue through the theoretical lenses of poststructuralism and postcolonialism. This reading enables me to highlight the sensory elements of the tongue within Acts. How does it shift our view of Acts if we consider the meaning of glōssa to include the physical tongue, the home of our sense of taste? In doing so, I turn to the work of Jacques Derrida in order to suggest that glōssa functions within Acts as a new concept, one of Derrida’s “undecidable” terms. Finally, I will utilise postcolonial theory in order to suggest that glōssa spreads throughout the narrative and counters the major voices within the text. In this way, glōssa functions as an undecidable concept, a tongue that glides throughout the text of Acts, refusing to allow only the main voices to speak and thwarting the domination of the empire.