chapter  7
Re-configuring Dalit Praxis – Re-imagining the Other
Pages 32

In this chapter we will be dealing with the story of the woman who is identified in Mark as a ‘gentile, of Syrophoenician origin’, and in Matthew as a ‘Canaanite’. The woman boldly approaches jesus to secure healing for her daughter, whose ‘predicament’ is identified in both the gospels under the taxonomy of demonpossession. Though initially jesus responds to the woman in a seemingly harsh manner, the story concludes with jesus confirming the deliverance of the woman’s daughter. It seems as if the emphasis in this story is on the significant advance of jesus’ understanding of his mission and of the inclusive nature of the Kingdom of God (basileia), through his dialogue with the gentile woman. The image of jesus that emerges from this story is of one who is sensitive to boundary issues and who, after initial reticence, is prepared to cross such boundaries.1