Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Old Testament Essays]]> vol. 30 num. 2 lang. pt <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Tribute to Sakkie Spangenberg</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>Prof. Izak J.J. Spangenberg: Curriculum Vitae</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>The Story of Ehud and Eglon in Judges 3:12-30: A Literary Pearl as a Theological Stumbling Block</b>]]> Making use of numerous stylistic devices and playing with words, the author of Judg 3:12-30 has succeeded in creating a masterpiece of literature that challenges its reader. Moreover and simultaneously, this story, that narrates the brutal murder of king Eglon by the Israelite Ehud, is very problematic from a theological perspective. The present article offers firstly an analysis of Judg 3:12-20 and subsequently demonstrates how a specific and often-overlooked aspect of the violent nature of the text - after all, king Eglon has been utilized by Yhwh to restore obedience among the Israelites - holds a key to unlocking the theological intention of this text. <![CDATA[<b>Psalm 39 and its Place in the Development of a Doctrine of Retribution in the Hebrew Bible</b>]]> Psalm 39 is a peculiar, late post-exilic wisdom composition which reflects the style of a supplication of a sick person, but actually rather constitutes a meditation on the transitoriness of human life. It has been neatly integrated into the conclusion of Book I of the Psalter by a late post-exilic redaction, but displays antithetic views with regard to expectations about retribution expressed in other psalms ostensibly from the same post-exilic era. This article explores its possible purpose in view of its form, its integration into Book I of the Psalter, and particularly its seeming contrastive stance towards Pss 34 and 37. Its apparent criticism of the perspective on retribution expressed in other wisdom psalms renders it very similar to Ps 73 as well as to notions expressed in the Book of Job, and the psalm is therefore compared to these texts as well. <![CDATA[<b>A Theology of the Septuagint?</b>]]> This contribution to the Festschrift for Sakkie Spangenberg addresses the question of whether it is appropriate and even possible to formulate "the/a theology of the Septuagint." To be sure, this author (Cook) has endeavoured to formulate "theologies" of LXX Proverbs and the Old Greek of Job as case studies. However, there is no consensus that it is appropriate or even viable to do so. There are broadly speaking two groupings in this regard: the minimalists and the maximalists. It is the aim of this paper to take cognisance of this uncertainty and to address diverse perspectives on this issue. After a brief introduction, the minimalists will be introduced, followed by a consideration of the maximalists. <![CDATA[<b>The Memory of Original Wholeness and Conscious Differentiation in Genesis 1:1-2:4a</b>]]> Sakkie Spangenberg has written a number of articles dealing with Gen 1-3 in terms of its place in traditional Christian dogma and the paradigm shifts he has experienced in his understanding of this text. In this article, I would like to honour Sakkie by providing a Jungian psychoanalytic interpretation of Gen 1:1-2:4a, focusing primarily on the memory of original wholeness and the conscious differentiation that are reflected in this text. I conclude that the psyche that produced this creation story had stalled at the third stage of individuation as a result of a traumatic experience which caused it to long for its erstwhile memory of original wholeness. <![CDATA[<b>Ezekiel's "Living Beings" in <i>Pseudo-Ezekiel </i>4Q385, Frg. 6: A Comparison with Key Angelological Verses in Ezekiel 1 and 10</b>]]> Earlier research has demonstrated that certain ambiguous angelo-logical phrases which hint at divinatory associations present in MT Ezek 1 and 10 (the so-called "Merkebah Chapters") have been suppressed in the LXX version. As a translation, the LXX reflects the religious needs and exegetical perceptions of the Alexandrian Jews in the third and second centuries BCE. This article compares these key angelological verses in Ezek 1 and 10 with linguistically or semantically similar words or phrases in 4Q385 Pseudo-Ezekiel. The result of the comparison indicates that these telltale verses are contradicted in Pseudo-Ezekiel 4Q385 Frg. 6. The Dead Sea Scrolls share aspects and problems of beliefs in angels with the Judaism of their period, but the texts found at Qumran increase the difficulty of defining Jewish angelology, partly because of lack of knowledge concerning their provenance, and partly because the different works show quite disparate beliefs and motives concerning angels. The conclusion of this article is that Pseudo-Ezekiel was written by a conservative author who on the one hand did not want to reveal the divinatory aspects of the angelological content, but on the other hand was innovative. <![CDATA[<b>The Meaning of Moses' Life: An Analytic and Comparative-Philosophical Perspective</b>]]> Against the backdrop of the problem of the meaning of life as constructed in contemporary analytic philosophy of religion, this article asks the question of what the supposed meaning(s) of the biblical character of Moses' life were assumed to be. By comparing a variety of contemporary philosophical perspectives on life's meaning with what appears to be related nascent metaphysical presuppositions in the world(s) of the biblical text, the pros and cons of reading with an anachronistic philosophical-theological meta-language are clearly demonstrated. It is concluded that what Moses' life might have meant cannot be reduced either to a singular purpose or a unified teleology. Given the complex construction of his character's personal identity over time, the point of it all remains fragmented, plural and elusive. <![CDATA[<b>What Shall We Do with the Canaanites? An Ethical Perspective on Genesis 12:6</b>]]> Colonial biblical interpretation-such as for example Moritz Merker's study of the Maasai (1904/1910), where he claims that they are historically related to the ancient Israelites-tend to see both "Israelites" and their counterparts, the "Canaanites," in the colonial, interpretive contexts. On this background, the present essay discusses a textual case, the reference to the Canaanites in Gen 12:6. It is suggested that the reference is part of a multi-voiced discourse on the role of the Canaanites, and it is concluded that the guild of biblical studies can use this discourse in relation to contemporary ethical and interpretive challenges. <![CDATA[<b>"Satan Made Me Do It!" The Development of a Satan Figure as Social-Theological Diagnostic Strategy from the late Persian Imperial Era to Early Christianity</b>]]> The purpose of this article is, first of all, to provide a short overview of the socio-religious development to personalise evil into a Satan figure alongside God. Thereafter, I will provide one biblical example which stands at the beginning of this development, namely 1 Chr 21. This text analysis will merely serve as one example to illustrate the relationship between the socio-religious developments in the Second Temple period and biblical textual formation through the reinterpretation of earlier traditions. In a last section, I will reflect on how our awareness of this relationship between socio-religious development and reinterpretation affects how Christian theology participates in social-theological diagnostics today. <![CDATA[<b>Two Africans and the Elusiveness of Meaning</b>]]> This article highlights the impossibility of ever grasping fully the meaning of an OT text and how this loss can be approached. Historical criticism underscored the notion that the OT/HB originated over many years: texts were constantly re-interpreted, contexts often changed, older parts were re-adapted and therefore many (even opposing) voices can be heard in the Hebrew Scripture. Notwith-standing difficulties and the elusiveness of meaning, OT scholarship can still be of great value and to elaborate this point the views of two African born scholars are discussed and their "solutions" accentuated. The one suggested that studying the text can be a joyful enterprise and the other African advised that we must always be open to future possibilities. <![CDATA[<b>Towards an MIT-Conscious Biblical Studies in South Africa? Glimpsing the Stories of Absent Husbands and Waiting Wives</b>]]> When considering the place of Biblical Studies as a school subject in South African history, one cannot but be reminded of the (predictable) fate of the proverbial eagle. Says one African proverb: o se bone go akalala ga bonong, go wa fase ke ga bona (do not be puzzled by the (pride) of an eagle which soars so high, its fall is certain). Considering the present (slippery) place of (traditional) Biblical Studies as offered in South African institutions of higher learning, the subject's future appears to be gloomy. In the era of the MIT's (Multi-, Inter-,and Transdisciplinarities), biblical scholars should be persuaded to move away from their discipline-specific silos to engage with other disciplines in order for the subject to enrich other disciplines and vice versa. If disciplines such (African) History and Folklore Studies are made to interact with the subject of Biblical Studies, which contribution may such a "merger" bring to biblical scholarship in (South) Africa today? As an attempt to answer the preceding question, this article will use the stories of two waiting women, that is Dora Motshabi (cf. the South African context) and Bathsheba (cf. the monarchic Israelite context) as enablers for the construction of an MIT-conscious Biblical Studies. <![CDATA[<b>Reading Jeremiah 31:31-34 in Light of Deuteronomy 29:21-30:10 and of <i>Inqolobane Yesizwe: </i>Some Remarks on Prophecy and the Torah</b>]]> This article examines the prophetic themes of inclusion, equality and covenantal relationship found in Jer 31:31-34 in a South African context. Set against some of the Dtr themes found in Deut 29:21-30:10 and the DtrN texts in the Book of Jeremiah, Jer 31:31-34 re-iterates prophetic themes which attained an authoritative status in the post-exilic period. The essay therefore argues that whilst the Dtr scribes imposed the normativity of the Torah on the Book of Jeremiah, Jer 31:31-34 articulates the importance of prophecy. Based on an African worldview, the article probes the relevance of the prophetic themes of inclusion, equality and covenantal relationship found in the biblical texts in the South African context. Inqolobane Yesizwe (A Garner of the Nation), which consists of a collection of Zulu wise sayings, proverbs, traditions and histories, provides the context for the African worldview. The essay argues that the text of Jer 31:31-34 would enjoy a possible reception among the Zulu people in South Africa if read in tandem with Inqolobane Yesizwe. <![CDATA[<b>Figuring out Cain: Darwin, Spangenberg, and Cormon</b>]]> This essay responds to a question Prof. I. J. J. (Sakkie) Spangenberg asked the author at the 2015 meeting of the OTSSA with regard to the use of the OT in current South African discourse. It pertained to the use of an OT text in a context that is historically and culturally removed from the story: why is the figure of Cain used to illustrate perpetrator discourse in postapartheid society? The author argues that the figure of Cain draws, on the one hand, attention to the responsibility of South African whiteness towards apartheid and its after effects, and explores, on the other hand, the respons(e)-ability of ordinary (white) Bible readers in this regard. There are good reasons or warrants for focusing on Cain as perpetrator by accepting or adhering to the advice fostered by post-Holocaust hermeneutics in Germany as well as by criticism of archetypal myths in the cultural archive. In framing this responsibility and respons(e)-ability, a brief discussion of the German socio-political and religious discourse after the Holocaust and its relevance for thinking about Cain is provided, followed by an exploration of the value of Cain as an archetype in the cultural archive. Lastly, the essay will analyze Fernand Cormon's painting, Cain (1880) as part of the cultural archive in order to function as a heuristic key to interrogate evil and understand the figure of Cain. <![CDATA[<b>Aspects of Liminality in the Book of Daniel</b>]]> Taken at face value, the book of Daniel in the HB seems to occupy a position outside the narrow confines often set in academic (and other) contexts that structure our knowledge, experience and, ultimately, the world we live in. Therefore, OT scholars are debating how this book came to be reckoned among the prophets, while in the HB, it appears in what is traditionally referred to as the writings. Furthermore, the notion of producing a unified text in more than one language (i.e. Hebrew and Aramaic) falls outside the formal, yet unwritten, expectations for literature, both modern and ancient. When one considers the content of the book, inter alia the exilic setting chosen for the book, the position(s) occupied by the main character(s) in the narratives, as well as the symbolic worlds created in the visions, an impression of a text outside, or at least at the border of, expected literary confines is gained. In this article, the concept of liminality will be applied to "explore ... the interpretive power, the hermeneutical reach of the concept" in the book of Daniel (see Gustavo PĂ©rez Firmat, Literature and Liminality, 1986). <![CDATA[<b>Shades of Green - or Grey? Towards an Ecological Interpretation of Jonah 4:6-11</b>]]> Most scholars who have attempted ecological interpretations of the Jonah narrative regard Jonah 4:6-11, especially the reference to the animals of Nineveh in 4:11, as an obvious starting point for a retrieval of ecological wisdom in the narrative. A notable exception is the Green Bible team, who selected, and printed in green, more than a thousand biblical passages which, in their view, support the aims and principles of creation care, including five passages from the Jonah narrative. However, not a single verse in Jonah ch. 4 is printed in green. A number of scholars indeed argue that no ecological wisdom can be retrieved from the passage under discussion, particularly 4:11, because the reference to animals is made in the context of forthcoming sacrifices from the newly pardoned, grateful Ninevites. Ehud Ben Zvi contends that a double reading of 4:11 is possible. This study argues that the work of Ben Zvi provides an angle from which more nuanced ecological readings of the Jonah narrative can be done. <![CDATA[<b>Different Perspectives on Poverty in Proverbs, Sirach, and 4QInstruction: Wisdom in Transit</b>]]> Poverty is referred to in Proverbs, as well as Sirach and 4QInstruction. These books do show some mutual tendencies, shared elements and a similar mode of literature, but are also part of a dynamic process. Reference to poverty in these books is therefore linked to the changing provenance of each of these books. The use of wisdom language to refer to this phenomenon, was in flux, dynamically moving from one era to a next, from one scenario to another. This paper proposes that the literal as well as metaphorical use of poverty in the book of Proverbs was followed by a more literal use in Ben Sirach and a more metaphorical meaning in 4QInstructions. <![CDATA[<b>Why Nature is Good to Think, Feel and Live by in the Joban Divine Speeches: Some Psychological Perspectives on the Worth of Exposure to Wild Animals</b>]]> The Biophilia Hypothesis has emphasised our innate attraction to the natural world, where we come from. Modern psychologies (e.g. developmental, emotional and environmental) have built on this and have highlighted the worth of being exposed to nature. Developmentally it has been shown how exposure to nature enhances cognitive, emotional and moral development in discovering the self. Emotionally it is especially the emotion of "awe" (wonderment born out of vastness and difficult to grasp) that leads to ego-transcendence, humbleness and oneness with nature. From the environmental perspective the fascination with the non-human environment can be restorative, calming and leading to contemplation and reflection. The pre-scientific Joban poet has intuitively grasped these emphases of modern research and celebrated nature and wild animals (unique in the HB) as good to think, feel and live by. The main character Job, however, seems not to have accepted this. <![CDATA[<b>Redaction Criticism as a Resource for the Bible as "A Site of Struggle"</b>]]> Though the state, the church, theology, and biblical interpretation have been considered "sites of struggle " by South Africa's liberation theologies, the Bible has not. This article reappraises the work of South African Black theologian Itumeleng Mosala (thirty years later) and considers his particular understanding of the Bible as a site of struggle, drawing as he does on redaction criticism. The article analyses Mosala's notion of the ideological dimensions of redaction criticism, clarifies some of the concepts Mosala uses, argues for the role of literary methods in redactional criticism, and advocates for the inclusion of the "exploited classes " in the exegesis as well as the appropriation of biblical texts. Examples from Isaiah are used by way of explication. <link></link> <description/> </item> </channel> </rss> <!--transformed by PHP 10:04:28 19-04-2018-->