Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Old Testament Essays]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/rss.php?pid=1010-991920110003&lang=es vol. 24 num. 3 lang. es <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/img/en/fbpelogp.gif http://www.scielo.org.za <![CDATA[<b>Seeing Tamar through the prism of an African woman: A contextual reading of Genesis 38</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192011000300001&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es It is a truism that marriage is deeply appreciated in Africa. This, among others, is rooted in Africans' love of children. In most African societies, the begetting of children is a social and religious duty attached to marriage and is vital to it. Bearing of children is an end of marriage upon which the wellbeing of the spouse depends. A successful marriage should be "fruitful. " As a result, marriage becomes a big challenge when it is "childless. " Due to the patriarchal nature of most African societies, it is the women that often bear the brunt of childlessness in marriage. By embarking on a contextual reading of Genesis 38 and applying its theological implications to an African context, this article joins many concerned individuals in suggesting more informed reactions and solutions to the so-called grave problem of childlessness in marriage. <![CDATA[<b>The sex life of a Psalm: Augustine and textual sexuality in <i>Enarrationes in Psalmos</i> 127 [128]</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192011000300002&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es <![CDATA[<b>A text-critical analysis of Lamentations 1:7 in 4QLam and the Masoretic text</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192011000300003&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Taking the contributions of the Dead Sea scrolls to the discipline of Old Testament (OT) textual criticism as its point of departure, this study provides a text-critical analysis of the wordings of Lam 1:7 in 4QLam and the Masoretic Text (MT). The aims of the analysis are twofold. Firstly, it seeks to determine how the variant readings in the two Hebrew textual representatives of the verse came into being during the process of transmission. Secondly, it establishes how the differences in wording affect the content of the verse. The study concludes that the data provided by such a text-critical analysis can be relevant to biblical interpretation if two conditions are met. Firstly, the textus receptus and/or original text should not be treated as the only legitimate representative(s) of an Old Testament writing's content. Secondly, the differences in the wordings between the textual representatives should be shown to affect the content of a passage. <![CDATA[<b>A comparison of the <i>witchcraft is poison</i> metaphor in Soweto and Selected Old Testament passages</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192011000300004&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es African Old Testament interpretation has been asserting itself against mainstream Euro-American biblical scholarship. In doing so, various tools have been crafted, mostly in accordance with the goal of addressing the life concerns of ordinary Africans. The preferred method for the majority of African OT scholars has been the comparative paradigm. This article introduces a cognitive methodology for the comparison of cultural elements and belief systems in contemporary Africa and the ancient Near East. Although the method can be used for the scrutiny of both socio-political and religio-cultural fundamentals, the approach is demonstrated with reference to African and ancient Israelite conceptions regarding witchcraft. <![CDATA[<b>Reconciliation between fathers and sons in Mal 3:24: A broader ancient near Eastern perspective</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192011000300005&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es In the history of Malachi exegesis the passage in 3:24 has always been a crux for interpreters. It relates to the coming of Elijah "to reconcile fathers and sons. " A wide array of suggestions have been advanced to explain the significance of this pronouncement, such as to view it (1) historically (in terms of the lifetime of the writer/s of the book), (2) or to see it as a metaphor (where the "fathers" symbolically represent the ancestors and the "sons" the Israelites), or (3) to take it as a literary device portraying a society in disarray, as was already proposed by Junker (1938) and Horst (1938). This contribution elaborates on the latter proposition and supplies more ancient Near Eastern comparative evidence (from the genres of the laments, wisdom and prophecy) to substantiate this claim. <![CDATA[<b>The pleasing and the awesome: On the beauty of humans in the Old Testament</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192011000300006&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Profiting from the OT research programme held at the University of South Africa during August 2010, this paper further investigates different aspects of the concept of beauty in the Old Testament (OT). The use of the concept of human beauty and the beauty of human achievement is investigated in a broad variety of text types. Representative texts are examined where the concept occurs as a literary motif. It is found that human beauty, both erotic and non-erotic, as well as the metaphorical use of the concept are intertwined with descriptions of awe not only in the terminology, but also in the actual use to which it is put in texts from practically all genres. It is concluded that a coherent aesthetic is found in OT texts from different periods, which remains stable despite diverging historical and theological contexts. The contours emerging from the texts seem to square with the Kantian concept of the beautiful and Goethe's view of the awesome. <![CDATA[<b>Towards an indigenous (Xhosa) South African biblical scholarship</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192011000300007&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Whiteness that continues to influence indigenous biblical interpretation is problematic in South African biblical scholarship. The purpose of this article is to further the debate on whiteness that results into a paradigm shift from an interpretation influenced by whiteness to an indigenous (Xhosa) biblical interpretation, blackness.¹ While whiteness is explored in this article, a process of reading the Bible from an indigenous (Xhosa) perspective is advocated for, tested and illustrated by utilizing a Xhosa-constructed song to unlock and reconstruct a meaning of an ancient text (Mark 9:4). The findings presented in this article demonstrate that historical and literary criticisms are problematic, that they express impediments to the emancipation of blackness and shows how the usage of European church songs that supposedly unlock the meaning of ancient texts reveals whiteness's continuing influence in current South African biblical scholarship. A reconfiguration of the Hebrew Bible's Moses and Elijah with the help of an indigenous (Xhosa) song, demonstrates how blackness similarly unlocks the meaning of an ancient text, which is not shaded by whiteness. <![CDATA[<b>A new Biblical Hebrew teaching grammar for African Bible translators: A typological approach</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192011000300008&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es The basic premise of a teaching grammar (as opposed to a descriptive grammar or a prescriptive grammar) is that it must describe the grammar to be learned in terms of the grammar of the language known by the student. In this regard, Biblical Hebrew teaching grammars are woefully inadequate for non-Western students, since they teach the grammatical concepts of Biblical Hebrew from the standpoint of Indo-European languages. This is especially problematic in cases where the language of the student is closer to Biblical Hebrew than is the Indo-European language that is used as the reference point in the grammar. An example would be a language with an aspectual verbal system, which is closer to the Hebrew system than the tensed verbal system of English. In this paper we describe a research project in progress at the University of the Free State to produce a new teaching grammar of Biblical Hebrew based upon language typology, which allows students to learn Biblical Hebrew in terms of the ways in which various features of their language are the same or different from Biblical Hebrew from a typological viewpoint. <![CDATA[<b>Patrimonialism in the causes of the division of the kingdom in Israel: A reading of the division narrative from the perspective of the Rwandan context of social conflict</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192011000300009&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es The account of the division of the kingdom of Israel reported in 1 Kgs 11-14 shows a tension between the recounted episode in itself and its global contextual framework. On one hand, the narrative reports the event as a divinely fated event resulting from Yahweh's judgment on Solomon's apostasy. On the other hand, the larger context described in the biblical traditions as well as the social history of Israel indicate that the division resulted from socio-economic problems that developed throughout the history of Israel. These problems revolved around the people's resistance against the leaders who, instead of serving the people, exploited them through patrimonial regimes in which the leaders appealed to kinship relations to consolidate their rules. Aspects of this socio-economic conflict in Israel find parallels in contemporary social conflicts in Africa and elsewhere. The present essay attempts a comparative and evaluative approach that establishes a dialogue between the context of social conflict in Israel and the context of similar conflict in Rwanda. Issues that provide the space for interaction in the present article include the attitude of political leaders whose inequitable regimes jeopardized social unity; then the deliberate decision of the same leaders to ignore the voice of the peacemakers resulting in tragedies. The paper argues that patrimonialism contributed to conflicts in both contexts. A dialogical interaction between the contexts of conflict in Israel and in Rwanda is preceded by a brief description of the comparative approach adopted in this paper. <![CDATA[<b>Divine forgiveness in the major prophets</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192011000300010&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es There is a perception that the major prophetic books focus on God's judgment while the New Testament (NT) focuses on God's forgiveness. Although several prophetic passages refer to divine judgment, there are other references describing a God who is willing to forgive his people. Different terms and phrases are used to describe forgiveness in the Old Testament (OT), but scholars agree that divine forgiveness is expressed primarily by the term --•. This article focuses on the seven occurrences of --• in the major prophets, once in Isaiah (Isa 55:7) and six times in Jeremiah (Jer 5:1, 7; 31:34; 33:8; 36:3; and 50:20). There is a concentration of --• references in two OT contexts: (1) the prayer literature; and (2) the Priestly literature of the Pentateuch. The --• references in the major prophets do not follow the same pattern. All the references in Isaiah and Jeremiah are found outside the prayer literature. One finds no reference in Ezekiel despite its relationship to the Priestly tradition. The major prophets convey the following concerning the nature of forgiveness: (1) The possibility of forgiveness is questioned or denied because of the worship of foreign gods; (2) In some instances repentance is seen as a pre-condition for forgiveness; (3) Forgiveness is an essential feature of the new covenant and the days of restoration; (4) Forgiveness is a matter in which God takes the initiative. He wants to break the vicious cycle of sin and punishment; (5) Forgiveness is dependent upon the grace of God. <![CDATA[<b>Psalm 24: Reading from right to left and from back to front</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192011000300011&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es The heading of the article "Reading from right to left and from back to front" is a play on the words of David A. Clines - "Reading from left to right. " The phrase "and from back to front" is added to emphasise the cultural difference existing between people living in the twenty first century and the writers and first readers of biblical texts. It is deliberately different form Clines' reading. The writer of the article claims to have been influenced by scholars working within the historical-critical paradigm of biblical studies. His is thus a historical-critical reading of Ps 24 taking into account the ancient context in which the text originated, but with a slant-it was read in the South African context. <![CDATA[<b>"Peace" <img src="/img/revistas/ote/v24n3/Untitled.jpg" height="20">its prerequisite and promise: A poetic analysis and an application of Psalm 85 to Africa</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192011000300012&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Psalm 85 gives utterance to a communal appeal to Yahweh for restoration and blessing ("peace/well-being"). It is a passionate prayer that is based on both the Lord's past gracious dealings with his people and also their own present commitment to remain "faithful" to Yahweh's covenant principles as expressed in their "righteous" behavior. Thus, the blessed promise of "peace" carries with it a divinely established prerequisite, namely, a life-style that is truly in keeping with what the Lord desires for his saints. The admirable manner in which this psalm has been composed in terms of its style and structure serves to highlight the main themes and purpose of its powerful lyric message. As we examine the text of Ps 85 more carefully in this study, it will become readily apparent that the "psalm of/for the sons of Korah" (-”-•“-•• -•-•-: v. 1, Heb.) has much of importance to say also to the members of God's contemporary Church, no matter where they may live in the world. However, the notion of "peace" strikes an especially resonant chord in the hearts of all those who live in the continent of Africa. The sense and significance of this psalm is such that it encourages us to seek more dynamic ways of communicating its message of peace via diverse modes and media of transmission today. <![CDATA[<b>Book Reviews</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192011000300013&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Psalm 85 gives utterance to a communal appeal to Yahweh for restoration and blessing ("peace/well-being"). It is a passionate prayer that is based on both the Lord's past gracious dealings with his people and also their own present commitment to remain "faithful" to Yahweh's covenant principles as expressed in their "righteous" behavior. Thus, the blessed promise of "peace" carries with it a divinely established prerequisite, namely, a life-style that is truly in keeping with what the Lord desires for his saints. The admirable manner in which this psalm has been composed in terms of its style and structure serves to highlight the main themes and purpose of its powerful lyric message. As we examine the text of Ps 85 more carefully in this study, it will become readily apparent that the "psalm of/for the sons of Korah" (-”-•“-•• -•-•-: v. 1, Heb.) has much of importance to say also to the members of God's contemporary Church, no matter where they may live in the world. However, the notion of "peace" strikes an especially resonant chord in the hearts of all those who live in the continent of Africa. The sense and significance of this psalm is such that it encourages us to seek more dynamic ways of communicating its message of peace via diverse modes and media of transmission today.