‘Who are you calling “stupid”’? Ethnocentric Humour and Identity Construct in the Colonial Discourse of Judges 3:12-30

Johnny Miles


Despite the uncritical consumption of sacred writ that tends to ‘forget’ in the wake of its cultural ethno-typing effects, this essay ‘re-members’ the double consciousness repressed by/in history in order to emphasise coloniser/d alike as ‘other’. After consideration of the ethnocentric humour of Judges 3 and its possible sociological functions, I will explore the appropriation of this ideological ‘history’ rife with stereotypes (e.g. ‘stupid’) within the colonial nexus of sixth century BCE Yehud and nineteenth century CE North American Tejas with contemporary ramifications. My analyses will demonstrate that the coloniser, immigrant by nature, uses this discourse to re-present its identity as ‘Israel’ (and ‘indigenous’) all the while divinely legitimating its superiority through projected stereotypes and establishing its control of land claims through a national history that privileges its voice over that of the ‘other’. But coloniser/d share more than just history and space; they share an identity, ‘us’ as essentially like ‘them’ – ‘Israelites’ like Mexicans, Euro-Americans like Moabites.


Judges 3; Mexicans

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Bible and Critical Theory: ISSN 1832-3391