Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Old Testament Essays]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/rss.php?pid=1010-991920110002&lang=pt vol. 24 num. 2 lang. pt <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/img/en/fbpelogp.gif http://www.scielo.org.za <![CDATA[<b>The canonic responsa reading of Psalm 114 and its theological significance</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192011000200001&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt The redundancy between vv. 3, 4 and 5, 6 of Ps 114 requires us to ask if it was written to be performed by two choirs singing antiphonally the same text with a 2-verse delay. Setting Ps 114 in such a canonic responsa fashion yields a highly integrated structure of three composite strophes developing together a theme totally obscured by the linear reading: the future of the pre-Israelite cult of YHWH after the covenant between the god and his new people. All these features, together with the many unresolved problems inherent in the linear reading, suggest that Ps 114 was indeed designed to be performed in a canonic responsa manner. The theological implications of this reading of the psalm are discussed. <![CDATA[<b>The profile and some theological aspects of the Old Greek of Job - Resurrection and life after death as points in case</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192011000200002&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt This article will demonstrate aspects of the unique profile of OGJOB. The theological implications of this profile will be determined based upon a contextual analysis of chs. 1, 14, 19 and 42. The OG of Job is one sixth shorter than the Masoretic text. Scholars differ as to the reasons for this shorter text. Some argue that it is the result of a differing Hebrew Vorlage - unfortunately there is no external evidence available. Others ascribe the differences to the translator. OGJob is one of the more freely translated units in the corpus of Septuagint translations. In Cox's words "OGJob is one of a kind in the Septuagint corpus."(2007:667) Since the translator interpreted his parent text, it opens the possibility to determine theological aspects concerning this unit. In the past, scholars (Gard, and others) have overstated their case in this regard and were criticised by Orlinski (and others). What is clear is that OGJOB has a unique and different profile compared to the MT and other textual witnesses. In Job 1, for example, the translator renders the parent text creatively. On the one hand, he clears God from direct involvement in the maltreatment of Job. In conjunction with this the fundamental goodness and omnipotence of God is stressed. On the other hand, Job is depicted as a saint, he is blameless, genuine, religious, keeping away from every evil thing (v. 8). In chapter 2 Job is questioned in a unique manner by his unbelieving wife. <![CDATA[<b>"I sought him, but found him not" (Song 5:6) - Public space in the Song of Songs</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192011000200003&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt As far as the relation of sexes is concerned the Song of Songs seems to create a counter world compared with the world described by other biblical books and compared with the Song's assumed historical sociological background. By focusing on the Song of Songs' assumed social setting, and on the Song's perspective on this social setting as reflected by its presentation of space, a more specific understanding of gendered norms is offered. The interaction between "conceived" and "lived" space (Lefebre) depicts the Song's sociological background. Different groups of locations represent different categories of space. Locations such as the vineyard and garden are largely metaphorical, while private locations are, to a higher degree affected by conceived space than public locations. Song 3:1-5 and 5:1-8 show that places, streets and squares (public locations) partake in lived space to a relatively high degree. While locations of fulfilled love, the vineyard and the garden work as metaphors, locations where the share in lived space is high, show a patriarchal society that does not generally defer from other biblical books or Greek literature of the same period, such as Theocritus ' Idylls. The Song and the Idylls sympathize with its female protagonist, but criticism of the gendered norms in the Songs is due to the modern reader's concepts. <![CDATA[<b>Ancient Israelite perspectives on the meaning of life</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192011000200004&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt Old Testament theologians have discussed a myriad of topics related to ancient Israelite religion. Yet perhaps the one question that haunts everyone who grapples with the world in the text is usually never asked, i.e., what is the meaning of life? In this article I attempt to answer it historically by looking at ancient Israelite perspectives on the meaning of life. After some remarks about the place and meaning of the question in contemporary philosophy, an introductory discussion on the biblical assumptions related to the matter is offered to inspire further research. The focus of the inquiry is moreover not only on Yahwistic assumptions about the meaning of human life but covers all forms of existence acknowledged by the Old Testament authors. The presentation closes with the suggestion that this topic can become the new "centre" for post-realist axiologies of the Old Testament. <![CDATA[<b>The role of historical-critical methodology in African Old Testament studies</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192011000200005&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt Based on the observation that the historical-critical methodology used in mainstream biblical studies reflects 188th to 20th century western epistemology and hermeneutics, the article addresses the role of this methodology in African Old Testament studies as it has developed since 1960. African Old Testament studies - in relation to historical-critical methodology - is then approached in three steps: first its context, with a focus on institutional and methodological perspectives; then its content, with a focus on its preference for comparative perspectives; and finally a critical perspective, with a focus on the potential of historical-critical methodology - at least when consciously used - to express critical concerns vis-à-vis the challenge that faces Old Testament interpretative communities not only in contemporary Africa, but at all times and places, namely to be more than just a mirror of current religious, cultural and political power structures. <![CDATA[<b>Orpah and her interpreters: Evaluating the justifications for the traditional-stereotyped readings</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192011000200006&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt The traditional readings of the book of Ruth normally treat Orpah either in the semi-category of a villain or a full-fledged villain who turned her back on Naomi, monotheism, and the messianic lineage and hence disappeared from the sacred history into polytheism. In these traditional Jewish and Christian perspectives, the character Orpah is largely denied presence, importance or voice in the biblical text. This tendency primarily comes from the imposing ideological context of the book of Ruth as a royal story and the subsequent readings of this particular character within this ideological template or even further possible readings in canonical and ecclesiastical mappings. Taking sides with Orpah, this paper evaluates the various interpretative traditions by midrashic, feminist and conservative interpreters. It critiques the justifications for the traditional-stereotyped readings and notes the power dynamics involved in Orpah finding herself as a minority in the story of the most powerful royal family in Jewish history. <![CDATA[<b>Who were the Kenites?</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192011000200007&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt This article examines the Kenite tribe, particularly considering their importance as suggested by the Kenite hypothesis. According to this hypothesis, the Kenites, and the Midianites, were the peoples who introduced Moses to the cult of Yahwism, before he was confronted by Yahweh from the burning bush. Scholars have identified the Cain narrative of Gen 4 as the possible aetiological legend of the Kenites, and Cain as the eponymous ancestor of these people. The purpose of this research is to ascertain whether there is any substantiation for this allegation connecting the Kenites to Cain, as well as contemplating the Kenites' possible importance for the Yahwistic faith. Information in the Hebrew Bible concerning the Kenites is sparse. Traits associated with the Kenites, and their lifestyle, could be linked to descendants of Cain. The three sons of Lamech represent particular occupational groups, which are also connected to the Kenites. The nomadic Kenites seemingly roamed the regions south of Palestine. According to particular texts in the Hebrew Bible, Yahweh emanated from regions south of Palestine. It is, therefore, plausible that the Kenites were familiar with a form of Yahwism, a cult that could have been introduced by them to Moses, as suggested by the Kenite hypothesis. Their particular trade as metalworkers afforded them the opportunity to also introduce their faith in the northern regions of Palestine. This article analyses the etymology of the word "Kenite, " the ancestry of the Kenites, their lifestyle, and their religion. The research leads to the conclusion that the Kenites could be linked to Cain, and also supports the Kenite hypothesis, thereby suggesting that they introduced the faith of Yahwism to Moses, and thus indirectly to the Israelites. <![CDATA[<b>David of the Psalters: MT Psalter, LXX Psalter and 11QPs<sup>a</sup> Psalter</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192011000200008&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt The focus of this paper is on the Davidic figure as presented in the Psalters-the MT Psalter, LXX Psalter and 11QPsª Psalter. David of the MT Psalter is the same figure we encounter in the LXX Psalter and 11QPsª Psalter; however, it is David as he is remembered uniquely in each of the Editorial Variant Texts. The MT Psalter is compared with the LXX Psalter and 11QPsª Psalter. Contra Wilson, who argues that the MT Psalter deemphasises David when compared to the other textual witnesses, I argue that the MT Psalter is also susceptible to be read as a highly Davidic book. David is an important character in the Psalter and is the last of Israel's legendary figures mentioned within the bodies of the psalms. In the final analysis, the MT Psalter concludes with David, the sweet psalmist of Israel, remembered for directing Israel in the worship of Yahweh through unconditional praise, a praise resounding from every corner of the cosmos, Yahweh's temple. <![CDATA[<b>"Looking into black eyes and feel the embarrassment. "A selected and selective reading of <i>the Africana Bible</i></b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192011000200009&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt Employing a hermeneutics of vulnerability to unmask privileged positions, this article intends to provide a reading from a white perspective of The Africana Bible. Reading Israel's Scriptures from Africa and the African Diaspora. The hypothesis is that the book constitutes an exercise in reading the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible/First Testament in terms of a coloniality of being. Firstly, the socio-political relevance of an open discussion of racism will be illustrated by a recent example of a dispute that originated within racialized South African public discourse on the issue of white supremacy. Based on this example, the discussion will proceed to arguments regarding decoloniality after which a reading of selected chapters of The Africana Bible will be presented. <![CDATA[<b>"My Word is like fire": The consuming power of YHWH's word</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192011000200010&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt The concept "Word of Yhwh" is an important one to many of the prophets of the Old Testament. It is no different in the Book of Jeremiah. Two particular instances in Jeremiah are of interest for the purpose of this article. The first instance is in one of the laments of Jeremiah in 20:9 and the other in Jeremiah 23:29. The author/authors of the two passages in Jeremiah bridge the divide between the two domains: the divine and the natural, by using a metaphor in which the "Word of Yhwh" and the image of "fire" are juxtaposed. The metaphor under discussion here therefore serves the purpose of creating a better understanding of the power of Yhwh's word as it impacted both the life of the prophet Jeremiah, and the lives of the people who should hear these words (cf. 20:9). In 23:29 the same metaphor has the function of expressing the power of Yhwh's word to destroy deceitful words and to safeguard the true prophetic word. <![CDATA[<b>Tracking an ancient Near Eastern economic system: The tributary mode of production and the temple-state</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192011000200011&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt Making sense of ancient economies requires careful attention to particular details as well as a consolidating model that combines the detail into a coherent form. While there is always the danger that economic models will over-determine the detail, models are useful heuristic devices. In this article a model that draws on Marxist economic analysis is assembled and then used to trace a geographically pervasive and historically enduring economic system in the ancient world, stretching from the Ancient Near East to Greco-Rome, and so underlying much of biblical history and story. The article argues that the model of a tributary mode of production, administered through a city-state political system, may also prove useful exegetically and ethically, enabling us to understand particular texts more "economically" and to provide important perspective to our present day economic decisions. <![CDATA[<b>Book Reviews</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192011000200012&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt Making sense of ancient economies requires careful attention to particular details as well as a consolidating model that combines the detail into a coherent form. While there is always the danger that economic models will over-determine the detail, models are useful heuristic devices. In this article a model that draws on Marxist economic analysis is assembled and then used to trace a geographically pervasive and historically enduring economic system in the ancient world, stretching from the Ancient Near East to Greco-Rome, and so underlying much of biblical history and story. The article argues that the model of a tributary mode of production, administered through a city-state political system, may also prove useful exegetically and ethically, enabling us to understand particular texts more "economically" and to provide important perspective to our present day economic decisions.