The Loyola School of Theology invites you to the online oral defense of the S.T.L. Tesina entitled “’YOU SHALL ALSO LOVE THE STRANGER, FOR YOU WERE STRANGERS IN THE LAND OF EGYPT.’ (A Study on the Ger in Deuteronomy 10:19)” by Fr. JOSEPH THAMBI KARRE, O.A.D. (India) on December 5, 2022 (Monday) at 8:00 am. The Board of Examiners is composed of Sr. Helen Graham, M.M., Ph.D. (Adviser), Markus Locker, Ph.D. (Principal Examiner), and Fr. Rogel Anecito Abais, S.J., S.T.D. The defense is being held in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Licentiate in Sacred Theology with field of specialization in Biblical Theology. It is open to the public.
Abstract: The Hebrew Bible recounts the development of Israel’s self-identity as “Strangers and Sojourners” and their relationship with God and other Strangers. A significant passage that connects these relationships says “Love the stranger for you were strangers in the Land of Egypt” (Deut10:19). Deuteronomy plays a significant role in the development of the meaning and establishing Ger.
Probably no teaching in the book of Deuteronomy has been so thoroughly studied as its teaching on Love; “YHWH’s love for Israel and the imperative necessity of Israel’s love for YHWH in return”. Many scholars identify it with the metaphor of the “love between Father and Son”. Migration theologians use it as their resource to defend the vulnerable. A few scholars bring out the theme of Israel’s identity as ger. Significantly, this tesina will study the singular ger and its synonyms, especially the ger’s relationship to Israelite identity.
The historical experiences of Gerim are perhaps best captured by translating Ger as “resident alien”, “immigrant”, or “refugee”. People migrated from their land, family, or clan because they found themselves in dire straits with scarce options for survival.
The people of Israel were Gerim, resident aliens who migrated from one place to another, typically to survive some environmental threat to themselves and their families, such as a famine, or to seek refuge from the hostility of other peoples. The promise of establishing a new home and a better future for themselves and their children provided the strength to endure the hardships of migration.
The biblical literature reveals a special concern to protect the stranger who is a migrant or refugee. Deuteronomy calls the people to love all those on the margins, both native and foreign.