Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Old Testament Essays]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/rss.php?pid=1010-991920090002&lang=pt vol. 22 num. 2 lang. pt <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/img/en/fbpelogp.gif http://www.scielo.org.za <![CDATA[<b><i>Alterität,</i></b><b> the reader and historical consciousness</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192009000200001&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt <![CDATA[<b>A case of spousal abuse?</b> <b>A study of the marriage of Jeroboam I (1 Kings 14:1-18)</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192009000200002&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt The biblical text introduces Jeroboam with high praise as a hayil, a man of standing (1 Kgs 11:28). However, something is wrong in his household. Using a cross-disciplinary approach incorporating a close textual reading informed by reader-response criticism, canonical considerations,² and psychology, this article focuses on the unnamed, silent wife of Jeroboam and argues that she and her marriage reflect the classic signs of a kind of suffering now termed spousal abuse. Although the vignette recounts no evidence of physical beating, textual evidence supporting the view that the wife of Jeroboam experiences abuse includes the following: her isolation, passivity, and instant obedience. Textual evidence that Jeroboam operates as an abusive husband includes his control over her comings and goings; his command-mode mentality in addressing her; his lack of compassion toward her; his cowardice in sending her to Ahijah instead of going himself; and his earlier violence toward the man of God (1 Kgs 13). <![CDATA[<b>Listen to the silent voice of the heavens and taste the sweetness of Torah: Reading Psalm 19 from a "body phenomenological" and an "embodied understanding" perspective</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192009000200003&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt In Psalm 19 we come across an interesting inverted juxtaposion of creation: creation acts like torah, and torah performs like creation. Nature silently proclaims God's glory, and torah is depicted in terms of bodily experiences. Coupled with this harmonious glorification of God is the psalmist's strong desire for redemption from sin and his wish that his words and meditation on Yahweh's glory might glorify Yahweh. The tight revelatory relationship between nature as God's creation proclaiming his glory, and torah as his restorative teaching in Psalm 19, reflects Israel's social and cultural definition of the ideal body as a whole body. Israel knew no body/mind dualism and therefore no theological dichotomy of torah as the supreme revelation of God as opposed to nature as the minor mode of revelation. The coherence of cosmic order (creation), religious teachings, and individual obedience to torah is maintained in the psalm. Reading Psalm 19 from a "body phenomenological" and an "embodied understanding" point of view enables us to understand the converting into language of the poet's thoughts in terms of structures of embodied human understanding based on an interaction with his environment, cultural traditions, values, institutions, and the history of the social community of Israel. Both perceptions of reality and the verbalisation of such perceptions through metaphorical expressions emanate from the poet's body, the latter which is a reflection of the social and cultural body. It is argued that his yearning for redemption and whole-bodiedness is the motivation behind the poet's choice of the specific embodied language and metaphors. <![CDATA[<b>Narrative voice and chronology in the books of Samuel</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192009000200004&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt Although the importance of chronology as a device employed within the Old Testament is widely recognised, its analysis has not employed some of the tools made available by literary theorists. This article adopts Genette's fourfold model of the relation between narrative voice and chronology to the books of Samuel, arguing that they employ all four types (subsequent, prior, simultaneous and interpolated) in a sophisticated interplay between narrative voice and chronology, with the different modes used to indicate the relative knowledge of the characters in comparison with the extradi-egetic narrator. Exegesis of Samuel therefore needs to consider the rhetorical goals made evident through such analysis. <![CDATA[<b>"Brave new world" - Towards a <i>philosophical</i> theology of the Old Testament</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192009000200005&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt There is currently no philosophical theology of the Old Testament. Biblical scholars appear reluctant to offer philosophical accounts of YHWH and it is popularly believed that philosophical concerns are without fail distortive of the non-philosophical god-talk in the biblical texts. In this paper, however, the author argues that "philosophical analysis" (conceptual clarification) can be purely historical and descriptive and may provide new insights into ancient Israel's own metaphysical assumptions. Other foci of the interest include the anachronism of "perfect-being theology, " Aristotelian category theory, the metaphysics of properties and the modelling of theological pluralism with the philosophy of identity over time and across possible worlds. <![CDATA[<b>The question of the fathers as patriarchs in Deuteronomy</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192009000200006&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt In an involved argumentation that runs most influentially from Van Seters via Römer and Lohfink, the question of whether the "fathers" <img border=0 width=32 height=32 src="../../../../img/revistas/ote/v22n2/06s1.jpg">in the book of Deuteronomy had indeed initially referred to the patriarchal trio of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob has been under discussion since the 1970s. In this article, the debate is taken into review in the light of the author's recently published position on the competition between tradents within post-exilic Israel as reflecting inner-Judean identity politics. His conclusion concurs with Römer's theory, that editorial insertion of the patriarchs' names next to the father references in Deuteronomy is probable. <![CDATA[<b>Yahweh conflicted: Unresolved theological tension in the cycle of Judges</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192009000200007&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt This article explores the theological implications of the well-known cyclical pattern of the book of Judges. Previous approaches (historical critical, sociological, and narrative) have located the cycle within the compositional history of Judges; they have identified the ideological agendas inherent within the elements of the cycle; and they have examined the role of the cycle within the overall structure of the book. Building upon these earlier results, I argue here that the cycle of Judges registers a deep theological tension within the character of Yahweh himself, an irreconcilable conflict between his anger and his compassion. I propose further that the breakdown of the cycle in the latter part of Judges is a manifestation of Yahweh's frustration and his unwillingness to make a final choice between justice and mercy for Israel. I conclude that the tension between Yahweh's anger and his compassion belongs to his disposition as a relational being; therefore, it is a tension that must not be mitigated in our theology. <![CDATA[<b>The dark side of the <i>Imitatio Dei.</i> Why imitating the God of the Holiness Code is not always a good thing</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192009000200008&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt In the past some Old Testament scholars have argued that the concept of imitatio dei has some potential to become a kernel around which an ethics of the Old Testament could be constructed. Scholars have recently questioned this proposition. This article continues that line of questioning by focusing on Leviticus 25 along with other texts in the Holiness Code. In these texts YHWH is presented as a land possessor and a slave owner. The argument is that these texts do not ask of the addressees to imitate the characteristics of YHWH as land possessor and slave owner. Imitating these characteristics of YHWH would have had a detrimental effect. Yet, there are certain cases where particular acts of YHWH could (and should) be imitated. Although one could at the most argue that the idea of imitating God is present in some texts, it constitutes by no means a foundation for an ethics of the Old Testament. <![CDATA[<b>Beyond the "ordinary reader" and the "invisible intellectual": Shifting contextual bible study from liberation discourse to liberation pedagogy</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192009000200009&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt Drawing on eight years of experience gathered at contextual bible studies facilitated by the author, this article intends to push the boundaries of the understanding of the role of the "ordinary" reader and the intellectual in the process of contextual bible study (a method of bible study that attempts to work at the interface between faith communities and the academy around issues of social transformation). It argues that if transformation is the end-goal of contextual bible studies then the critical resources which the intellectual brings to the process will have to be far more emphasised and nuanced than it has been in the past; that the effects of globalisation, particularly as reflected in the ubiquitous term "biblical values" which comes up often in contextual bible studies will have to be addressed; and the identity and role of the intellectual will have to be more fully interrogated than it has been in the past. The article argues that neither an understanding that promotes "community wisdom" or "hidden transcripts" nor an understanding of the "all-powerful" intellectual is helpful in understanding the dynamics of contextual bible study. This discussion will be facilitated by elucidating some of the characteristic features of CBS, what I have termed the five C's of CBS - Community, Context, Criticality, Concientisation and Change. <![CDATA[<b>The shepherd imagery in Zechariah 9-14</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192009000200010&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt The shepherd image emphasises the shepherd's role as leader, provider and protector. In Zechariah 1-8 one finds references to specific leaders, for example king Darius, the high priest Joshua and the governor Zerubbabel. Zechariah 9-14 has no reference to a specific leader. On the contrary, one finds 14 occurrences of the shepherd image as a reference to God or earthly leaders (civil and religious). The question posed by this article is: Which different perspectives are portrayed by this image? The use of the shepherd image in Zechariah 9-14 cannot be restricted to one perspective or meaning like in some Biblical passages (cf. Ps 23). The following perspectives are discussed: God as the good shepherd (Zech 9:16; 10:3b, 8); the prophet as shepherd (11:4-14); the three bad shepherds (11:8); the worthless shepherd, who deserts his flock (11:15-17); God's shepherd, his associate (13:7-9) and even a viewpoint that God is indirectly portrayed as an "uncaring shepherd" (cf. 11:4-17). <![CDATA[<b>Creation, temple and magic</b>: <b>A magico-mythical reading of Genesis 1</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192009000200011&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt This is the second article in a series to investigate the interrelationship between myth, magic, ritual, and the sacred within the Old Testament. In this contribution the link between creation and temple, the emphasis on the order of creation and the concept of Imagio Dei are explained in terms of magical linkage. Gadamer's hermeneutics is used to explore the different horizons of reader and text and to illuminate the potential problems contemporary readers may have in recognising magical thinking within the Old Testament. <![CDATA[<b>Creating science and theology through a cultural lens</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192009000200012&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt Creating science and theology from a cultural perspective is not a choice but a constraint. Our human capacity to symbolise, to create symbolic worlds within which we live always remains within the ambit of culture. The two dominant cultural discourses of science and theology both endeavour to explain reality, albeit in different ways. Both inform the way in which we construe our world, hence the motivation for the complementing perspectives of the reli-gion:science debate. If, for whatever reason, science does not comment on the meaning of life, it loses its status as "omniscience". If theology inclines to a kind of fictional supernaturalism, a faith experience of a culturally unmediated "more", it likewise becomes questionable. Science does not know all, and neither does theology know "more" than what culture/nature provides. <![CDATA[<b>"Asaf" und "Jesaja" eine komparatistische studie zur these von tempelsängern als für Jesaja 40-66 verantwortlichem Trägerkreis<i>: Erich Zenger zu seinem 70. Geburtstag am 5. Juli 2009</i></b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192009000200013&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt Recently, a few scholars questioned the thesis of a prophetic persona responsible for Isaiah 40-55/66. It has been argued (by Prof. Ulrich Berges and others) that temple singers/musicians (as we hear of them in postexilic literature, especially Chronicles) are responsible for Isaiah 40ff. This essay investigates that proposition from the viewpoint of the Asaphite Psalms and their corpus in the Asaphite part of the Psalter (Book III), as well as the "Deutero-Asaphite" part of the Psalter (Book IV). In an exemplary disposition, three interfaces between "Asaph" (Pss 50; 73-83; 90-106*) and "Isaiah" (Isa 40-66) are examined: (1st) The reception and transformation of the Exodus-tradition in Psalm 77 and Isaiah 40-55; (2nd and most extensively) the way of dealing with catastrophic situations in Psalms 77-79 (plus Ps 106); and Isaiah 63:7-64:11; (3rd) the "new song" in Isaiah 42:10-13 (plus other hymns) and in Psalm 96/98. In the final part, observations and indications of these intertextual investigations are evaluated and summarised. There seems to be interesting proximities and interdependencies between the two textual strata, so that the thesis of (Asaphite) temple singers as the group responsible for composing, transmitting and/or editing (also) the exilic-postexilic part of Isaiah 40ff. can be substantiated. It must be admitted, however, that this study is only a test case and does not examine the levitical (Asaphite and Qorachite) Psalms or Isaiah 40-66 overall. <![CDATA[<b>Knowledge of God: The relevance of Hosea 4:1-3 for a theological response to climate change</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192009000200014&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt Climate change presents one of the greatest challenges for Christianity today. If we adequately want to meet this challenge we need to develop a new vision of our human relationship to nature (Conradie). Can the Bible serve as a basis for such a new vision? Or is it part of the problem? This has been maintained by numerous critics particularly with regard to the Old Testament. Especially serious has been the claim that the fight against idolatry by the prophets has led to a "desacralisation" of nature, turning it into dead material to be used at will (Roszak). The main culprit in this regard is considered to be Hosea (Lang). Concentrating on Hosea 4:1-3, I will try to show in this article that Hosea, far from being a problem, can indeed present helpful tools for the theological response to climate change. Hosea 4:1-3 (not the marriage metaphor in chapters 1-3) is taken as the hermeneutical key to understanding the message of Hosea. Hosea's critique is seen as being directed not against the Canaanite fertility cult, the dominant reading of most Hoseanic scholarship, (based on the assumed dichotomy between the pure Yahwist religion of the desert with Yahweh as God of history and the depraved Canaanite nature religion of Baal) but against the perverted Yahwist state cult. Corruption emanating from the priesthood, the monarchy and the ruling elite is undermining the moral fabric of society. The priesthood is responsible for the lack of knowledge of God and his commandments. This is leading not only to the downfall of the Northern Kingdom, but to ecological disaster as well. In conclusion, the paper will seek to draw some conclusions for a theological response to climate change. <![CDATA[<b>Book Reviews</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192009000200015&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt Climate change presents one of the greatest challenges for Christianity today. If we adequately want to meet this challenge we need to develop a new vision of our human relationship to nature (Conradie). Can the Bible serve as a basis for such a new vision? Or is it part of the problem? This has been maintained by numerous critics particularly with regard to the Old Testament. Especially serious has been the claim that the fight against idolatry by the prophets has led to a "desacralisation" of nature, turning it into dead material to be used at will (Roszak). The main culprit in this regard is considered to be Hosea (Lang). Concentrating on Hosea 4:1-3, I will try to show in this article that Hosea, far from being a problem, can indeed present helpful tools for the theological response to climate change. Hosea 4:1-3 (not the marriage metaphor in chapters 1-3) is taken as the hermeneutical key to understanding the message of Hosea. Hosea's critique is seen as being directed not against the Canaanite fertility cult, the dominant reading of most Hoseanic scholarship, (based on the assumed dichotomy between the pure Yahwist religion of the desert with Yahweh as God of history and the depraved Canaanite nature religion of Baal) but against the perverted Yahwist state cult. Corruption emanating from the priesthood, the monarchy and the ruling elite is undermining the moral fabric of society. The priesthood is responsible for the lack of knowledge of God and his commandments. This is leading not only to the downfall of the Northern Kingdom, but to ecological disaster as well. In conclusion, the paper will seek to draw some conclusions for a theological response to climate change.