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Biblical Tradition, References to Deaf in

  • By: Kirk VanGilder
  • In: The SAGE Deaf Studies Encyclopedia
  • Edited by: Genie Gertz & Patrick Boudreault
  • Subject:Physical Disabilities, Otorhinolaryngology (Ears, Nose, & Throat)

Like all religious scriptures, those that make reference to deaf people and being deaf are subject to a variety of interpretations. A variety of interpretive lenses among readers of these religious texts yield a diverse array of meanings. These meanings have influenced deaf life in significant ways throughout history. Although there is very little published work examining scriptural texts in relation to contemporary Deaf cultural identity, a cursory examination of selected texts from Jewish, Christian, Islamic, and Hindu traditions reveals a wide range of ways that religious scriptures are understood in relation to deaf people. In addition, a brief look at alternative ways deaf people use scriptures in culturally affirmative ways also provides a glimpse into how scriptures can be reread in contemporary times.

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