Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Old Testament Essays]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/rss.php?pid=1010-991920080003&lang=es vol. 21 num. 3 lang. es <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/img/en/fbpelogp.gif http://www.scielo.org.za <![CDATA[<b>Foreword</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192008000300001&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es <![CDATA[<b>Reading Psalm 109 in African Christianity</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192008000300002&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Psalm 109 is one of the most problematic psalms in the Old Testament. The majority of scholars are not comfortable as far as the interpretation of the contents is concerned. It is one of the psalms that is classified as an imprecatory psalm dealing with vengeance against enemies instead of forgiveness. It has been given various names among some Western scholars, who link the psalm to hate, vengeance, cursing, and violence. However, when approached from an Africentric point of view in African Christianity, this psalm can be is considered as one of the prayers of appeal to God for justice. The purpose of this article is to discuss how this psalm is interpreted differently in African Christianity, for example as a psalm of protection, success, healing and, mostly, as a prayer to God to get up and fight for the righteous and the poor instead of leaving the fight to the sufferer visiting witch doctors, herbalists, or evil ones. <![CDATA[<b>Annotated history - The implications of reading Psalm 34 in conjunction with 1 Samuel 21-26 and vice versa</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192008000300003&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es In a late phase of redaction, some of the psalms in the first and second Davidic Psalter were supplied with headings that contain biographical references to David. One of these psalms is Psalm 34. The shared traits between Psalm 34 and the account of David's flight from Saul are investigated in detail. It is shown that 1 Samuel 24-26 should be included in the comparison. The editorial effect of the link between David's life and Psalm 34 on the understanding of Psalm 34 is discussed, as well as the influence of reading Psalm 34 in conjunction with this part of David's history. The conclusion is reached that Psalm 34 does not only serve to present David as an example and object of identification for those who read the Psalms, but that he in the first place lends authority to the exhortations directed at believers to stay true to the code of conduct of the poor pious people. Because of this connection, the image of David is enhanced, so that he takes on the roles of wisdom teacher, theologian, suffering servant, and inspired author as well. <![CDATA[<b>'To the captives come out and to those in darkness be free...' Using the book of Isaiah in (American) politics?</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192008000300004&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es This essay investigates the way in which the book Isaiah, and particularly Deutero-Isaiah, is used in politics. For instance, a classic example comes from George W. Bush's May 2003 speech on the USS Lincoln where he declared an end to major combat in Iraq. In light of the way politicians use (or abuse) Isaiah in political debates, this essay considers the relationship between Bible and empire in Isaiah 40-48, arguing that in the midst of the brutal reality of empire in the biblical traditions there are a few texts that represent a counter or subversive rhetoric. I argue that these minor voices relate well to the recent developments in postcolonial interpretation that turn to 'love' or 'compassion' as a means to subvert empire thinking. Finally, I will make some suggestions of how this complex understanding of the interplay of empire and counter imperial rhetoric may be utilised in public discourse to offer an alternative vision of the world. <![CDATA[<b>From formula to quotation</b>: <b>A study of intra-textuality in the Hebrew text of the Psalms with comparisons from the LXX and Targum</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192008000300005&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es This article examines the use of the Psalms within the Psalms, where intratextual lexical recursion arguably indicates instances of formulaic expression, allusion, rewriting, and even quotation. Several examples from the Hebrew (MT) Psalms illustrate this phenomenon with comparisons from two ancient Jewish translations, the Septuagint and Psalm Targum. From the few examples examined in this article, the translations do not appear to replicate the same intratextual references as those of the MT. Evidence for intentional intratextual connections in the Psalms warrants a more systematic investigation, as this has implications for both form-critical assumptions and studies concerned with the final form of the text. <![CDATA[<b>The Chronicler's portrayal of Solomon as the King of Peace within the context of the international peace discourses of the Persian era</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192008000300006&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es It has become customary to emphasise the influence of Greek historiography on the Books of Chronicles. Knoppers (2003a), for example, has argued that one should not underestimate the influence of classical Greek writers on the Chronicler. Although he argues his point from the genealogical analogies between the first part of Chronicles and classical writers, he convincingly shows that one could imagine Greek influence in biblical writings far earlier than the enigmatic date of 332 B.C.E., which is normally seen as a threshold for Greek influence on Judah. Traditional scholarship tended to interpret Chronicles exclusively within the cultic-religious conditions of the late-Persian/early Hellenistic province of Yehud - the Jerusalem community, in particular. With the acknowledgement of a wider sphere of influence during this time, it would make sense, however, to interpret the Books of Chronicles against the background of the international arena of the time. This article will therefore attempt to show that our understanding of King Solomon, the King of Peace, can be enriched when we view his portrayal in Chronicles within the international arena of the late post-exilic era. The theme of peace, so closely related to Solomon, will be examined against the background of the relationship between Greece and Persia, and the conditions within the Persian Empire.1 <![CDATA[<b>Prayer for protection</b>: <b>A comparative perspective on the Psalms in relation to Lozi traditional prayers</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192008000300007&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es A comparative analysis of African Traditional Religion and the Old Testament detects proximity and distance amid the two religions. Microcosmic similarities in prayer for protection between biblical psalms and Lozi prayer traditions confirm closeness in religious experience during times of danger between ancient Israelite society and contemporary African tribal societies. Further, these similarities provide concrete points for dialogue between African Traditional Religion and biblical psalms. Inversely, differences underscore the uniqueness of prayer for protection in each of the biblical and African traditions. <![CDATA[<b>Old Testament angelology and the African understanding of the spirit world</b>: <b>Exploring the forms, motifs and descriptions</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192008000300008&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es The article, employing an exegetical and comparative method, investigates the nature of Old Testament angelology particularly in the enigmatic form of a 'Divine Council' of Yahweh as presented in the description of Old Testament angelology and the 'mild divine monarchy' in the traditional African understanding of the spirit world. Through exegetical means, the first part of the article stresses the theological significance of the form, motif and the general description of the 'Divine Council' in 2 Kings 22:1-23; Job 12 and Psalms 82. The second part of the paper highlights the presence of a 'flexible divine monarchy' in traditional African world-view as underscored in the theological studies of African cosmology in the writings of Idowu, Parrinder, Mbiti and Bediako. From this framework, the study argues that the description of Israel's spiritual realm in the form of 'Divine Council' bears some similarities to the dominant portrayal of the African spirit world, particularly in the 'flexible monarchical' description of the African spirit world. The paper explores this basic hypothesis, but also stresses the differences between the two categories under study. For the study, the obvious difference between the two categories lies in the polytheistic nature of African spirit world and the monotheistic description of Old Testament angelology whereby subsidiary elements (whether gods or angels) are subsumed under the authority of Yahweh. Even though such inclination was strongly entertained in traditional African society, however, during the evolution of African traditional religion, the 'gods' (or intermediaries) did not properly evolve into a wholly monotheistic description. Consequently, these intermediaries neither stayed as refractions of the supreme deity, nor angels of the Supreme God, as with Yahweh in the Old Testament, but instead they became gods in themselves, because these intermediaries requested or required cultic worship, ritual and exigencies that are foreign and inadequate in the description and understanding of the angelic intermediaries of the Old Testament. <![CDATA[<b>Did someone say 'history'?</b> <b>In Africa we say 'His story'! A study in African biblical hermeneutics with reference to the book of Daniel</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192008000300009&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es This article tries to make a contribution related to the issue of what constitutes an African approach to the biblical text. While considering previous contributions in this respect it wants to draw attention to the promises hold by an epistemic framework that manifests among others in myths and oral tradition. From these an outline can be established to serve on the one hand as criterion for an approach claiming to be African, and on the other hand to be utilised in synthesising 'traditional' and 'modern' modes of understanding. In this article attention is limited to the first aspect when a contribution to a recent commentary is evaluated against this criterion. It is indicated that the contribution fails to exhibit an African approach because it is informed by an outdated form of modern (Western) epistemology. A further suggestion that this article makes is that when it comes to a practical application of what is proposed here only in theory, a literary approach to the text seems to be a more fruitful point of departure than a historical approach. <![CDATA[<b>Prophet, poetry and ethics</b>: <b>A study of Jeremiah 5:26-29</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192008000300010&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es This article is not just about reading and interpreting a few verses from a prophetic poetic text; instead, the aim is to consider ethical issues raised by the passage in question. The first step is to come to grips with the prophetic message in Jeremiah 5:26-29, and then to relate it to the debate on ethics, the Old Testament and our present-day context. The idea is therefore to relate the biblical text to our context, while realising that there is not a direct correlation between the two. The world of the Bible and our world are in many respects far removed from each other. This implies that many ethical questions we are confronted with will fall outside the scope of the Bible. Indeed, many of the issues that the people of Israel had to face are no longer relevant in our context. The Old Testament therefore cannot be used as precept when it comes to ethics, but it makes a valuable contribution in terms of the examples it offers. In engaging in dialogue with the biblical text, we are not only confronted with an ancient world, but in the process we come face to face with our own world, our own ideas, and the challenges we ourselves have to face. <![CDATA[<b>Book Reviews</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192008000300011&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es This article is not just about reading and interpreting a few verses from a prophetic poetic text; instead, the aim is to consider ethical issues raised by the passage in question. The first step is to come to grips with the prophetic message in Jeremiah 5:26-29, and then to relate it to the debate on ethics, the Old Testament and our present-day context. The idea is therefore to relate the biblical text to our context, while realising that there is not a direct correlation between the two. The world of the Bible and our world are in many respects far removed from each other. This implies that many ethical questions we are confronted with will fall outside the scope of the Bible. Indeed, many of the issues that the people of Israel had to face are no longer relevant in our context. The Old Testament therefore cannot be used as precept when it comes to ethics, but it makes a valuable contribution in terms of the examples it offers. In engaging in dialogue with the biblical text, we are not only confronted with an ancient world, but in the process we come face to face with our own world, our own ideas, and the challenges we ourselves have to face.