How Balinese Hindus interpret the story adapted from the story of the Syrophoenician woman found in the Christian Bible in Mark 7:24–30
Sari, Betty Tjipta
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This article proposes an alternate way of reading the story of the Syrophoenician woman found in the Christian Bible in Mark 7:24–30. The goal of this contextual reading is to see how cultural and ethnic identity affects the perception of the story and the level of reverence to Jesus in the story. In this study, a non-Christian population was selected to avoid pre-conceived notions of the well-known story. The sample in this study comprised a Balinese student population (90.3% Hindu and 40.3% men). The results show that ethnic identity relates positively to positive perception of the Syrophoenician woman. When forced to choose between siding with the woman or with Jesus (labelled as ‘religious leader’), the perception of the good character of the woman relates to her being chosen as the hero of the story; however, her submissive attitude relates negatively to her being chosen as the hero of the story. Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: This article takes a cultural psychology and narrative approach to evaluate the behaviour and perceptions of Balinese Hindus in seeing the roles of women and religious teachers. The general perception and behaviour in religion seems to be influenced by the sociocultural context. Interdisciplinary implications of theological and psychological study are confirmed in the article.