chapter  5
17 Pages

The political theology of witnessing

The Canaanite woman and Kierkegaard’s tax-collector
WithOrsolya Horváth

My study intends to examine some aspects of what the relationship is between community and a witness of faith. To analyze this problem, I shall look at two witnesses closely, one of whom is the Canaanite woman known from the Bible, while the other is the tax-collector from Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling. Though placing these two figures together in one study might seem unusual, the connection between them is that in their respective contexts they are both knights of faith, or more precisely, characters who do not take offense but believe, when they find themselves in the field of the paradox manifesting itself in Jesus Christ. In the description of the former figure, we examine thoroughly the nature of this paradox by analyzing Jesus’ behavior. Our purpose is first to depict and determine how the woman becomes a witness of her faith, then to examine the effect her witnessing has on the community. Kierkegaard’s description of the tax-collector is discussed, then, as he clearly puts the question which only indistinctly appears in the Biblical description; namely, what does a testimony mean if those for whom the testimony is made do not understand the witness so she or he becomes isolated? What is a community like that is formed on this premise?