Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Old Testament Essays]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/rss.php?pid=1010-991920120001&lang=es vol. 25 num. 1 lang. es <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/img/en/fbpelogp.gif http://www.scielo.org.za <![CDATA[<b>Decolonizing Psalm 91 in an African perspective with special reference to the culture of the Yoruba people of Nigeria</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192012000100001&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es This article is an attempt to reread Ps 91 in an African context using the culture of the Yoruba people of Nigeria as a point of reference. It briefly reviews certain Western methods of interpreting the book of Psalms which are referred to as Eurocentric. This Eurocentric interpretation, although it shares some good things with Africentric interpretation, does not adequately meet the everyday social, physical and spiritual aspirations of the African people. An Africentric interpretation of the Bible is an interpretation of the Bible in the light of African culture. In this article Psalm 91 is interpreted in the light of protection, healing and success which are the greatest needs in Africa. <![CDATA[<b>The punishment of burning in the Hebrew Bible</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192012000100002&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Different modes of executing people are mentioned in the Hebrew Bible. Among them we find the punishment of burning which also existed in the Ancient Near East. Thus, the question posed here is: what is the significance of describing this form of death? In order to arrive at an answer, we examine the episodes which describe death by burning to see in which context they appear. We will show that the punishment of burning in the Hebrew Bible appears in cases of illicit sex, sacrilege, and as a threat. In addition we will demonstrate that burning people to death was a bad omen and that it meant total obliteration of the dead. Execution by burning meant non-burial; this was an end to continuity and the final extinction of the deceased, who had not been "gathered to his ancestors." In other words the punishment of burning shows a belief in posthumous concept. <![CDATA[<b>Pride and the suffering of the poor in the Persian period: Psalm 12 in its post-exilic context</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192012000100003&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es This paper contends that Ps 12 should be read, as part of the composition Pss 9-14, as a response to and an explication of Prov 30:1-14 by exponents of Wisdom thinking in the Persian period. The suffering of the righteous people in Ps 12 is described as the result of arrogant Jewish and also non-Jewish rulers who use speech as an instrument of deception, fraud, flattery, boasting, and questioning Yahweh's authority in order to oppress and intimidate believers. It is proposed that the historic context of the final form of the text was that of the "piety of the poor, " a theology which developed from the need to restore dignity and provide hope to victims of social and religious oppression in the post-exilic era. It would seem that these people sought comfort in the word of Yahweh and that they found vindication for themselves in those sections of the developing "canon" which promised that Yahweh would intervene on behalf of those people who represented true humility and piety. <![CDATA[<b>Joakim, Uzziah, and Bagoas: A literary analysis of selected secondary characters in the Book of Judith</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192012000100004&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Secondary characters in any literary work play supporting roles. In their cameo appearances, they reinforce the importance of the primary characters, the stars. While not given top billing, they nonetheless remain crucial to the plot and contribute to its twists and turns. When a secondary character interacts with a primary character, additional traits of the primary character emerge. However in this interaction, often distinct personality traits of the secondary character likewise appear. This article looks at selected secondary characters in the Book of Judith: Joakim, the high priest and leader of the council in Jerusalem; Uzziah, the magistrate of Bethulia, the city besieged by Holofernes and the Assyrian army; and the Bagoas, Holofernes' aide de camp. Via a literary approach which sees Judith as a fictional short story, this article examines the contributions of selected characters who play supporting roles to Judith, the beautiful Bethulian, and Holofernes, the Assyrian general who ignominiously dies by her hand. <![CDATA[<b>Evangelism of young children: Is an evolutionary understanding of "original sin" possible?</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192012000100005&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Children's bibles have always been "pretexts for passing along values,"1 but the consequences of children reading the bible urgently need to be researched. A recent pilot study revealed that most of the young subjects had little conceptual impression of "sin, " thus also raising the issue of "original sin. " The latter is important in the context of knowledge transfer between adult and child in a religious climate of strong contention between religion and science and the emergent popularity of "Scientific Creationism" or "Intelligent Design. " The challenge today is to encourage young people to share in a tradition which is continuously being rethought and reapplied. In our predominantly secular environment, religious insistence on the ideal of purity and integrity tends towards resistance of any revision of the tradition. However, the conundrum of Anselm's dictum of "believing to understand and understanding to believe" must be considered. In modern scientific thought the idea that there was ever a historical state of innocence, or a literal Adam and Eve is unacceptable. "Original sin" can still express meaningfully the sense of humanity's estrangement from the deity, but the "ideal" world is the enlivening new creation yet to come, not a once perfect world to which we now seek nostalgically to return. This article offers an alternative understanding of God's relation to creation than "The Fall. " It is proposed that the Adam and Eve story is about the awakening of self-consciousness, and the concomitant responsibility to recognize temptation and exercise choice. Coherence between such contraries as science and religion, reasoning and spiritual susceptibility, even for young children, is promoted by an accepting ethical environment in which "fideistic assertion" is tested by imaginative questioning and exploration of the limits of dogma. <![CDATA[<b>Making things from the heart: On works of beauty in the Old Testament</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192012000100006&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Following on a study of the perception of human beauty in the Old Testament, this article proposes to extend the topic by enquiring into the perception of what is beautiful in that which humans do. Apart from pictorial art, five spheres of human achievement perceived to be beautiful are considered, namely crafts, music, words, wisdom and food. Within these, the work of artisans, accomplishments of the mining industry, so-called sacred and profane forms of music, the self-conscious creation of poetic beauty, aesthetic judgements on wisdom and culinary enjoyment are surveyed. It is concluded that the main characteristics of the beauty concept related to things tally with those related to humans. The results warrant a further extension of the investigation to include at least the beauty of God and the relevance of the concept in the cult. <![CDATA[<b>"David" in consultation with the prophets: The intertextual relationship of Psalm 31 with the books of Jonah and Jeremiah</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192012000100007&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Psalm 31 seems to be a late post-exilic text. It displays numerous similarities with other psalms, and also with the prophetic books of Jonah and Jeremiah. This paper proposes to investigate the nature of the literary relationship with the prophetic books in an attempt to establish the direction of influence and to determine the reasons why the psalm seems to have been composed as a kind of literary anthology. It would seem that the group of people who were responsible for composing Ps 31 also contributed towards the insertion of the confessions of Jeremiah and the prayers of Jonah. <![CDATA[<b>Excavating minds in the information age: Empirical research relating to the teaching of Biblical Archaeology</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192012000100008&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Does the curriculum content of Biblical Archaeology as being taught at the University of South Africa (UNISA) develop the skills necessary for, and expected by the students and the market place? What motivates students to register for post graduate studies in religion? How can these questions be answered with scientific rigour? One could expect that these students would like to deepen their faith. Empirical research into student motivation for studying Biblical Archaeology, however, paints another picture - suggesting a pilgrimage of discovery. This is one of the interesting results that can be obtained through a simple empirical survey questionnaire. By posing nine questions, over 100 pieces of information can be obtained. Historically, research methodologies employed in Biblical Studies have been based on the phenomenological paradigm. By employing a positivist approach, the results of research conducted into student motivation for studying Biblical Archaeology at UNISA, provide far deeper insights into student profiles, motivations and expectations. Teaching staff, not only in Biblical Archaeology, need to be equipped to understand this information which can be obtained through empirical investigation. Seen from this angle, Biblical Archaeology is not merely about teaching how to turn stones -it is to be taught to turn life into a meaningful journey through the past, while keeping an eye on the present, and it could be done by including course material such as aspects of tourism in a space where people of all convictions can participate in the journey. <![CDATA[<b>A King under the Law: The Torah promulgation and its subversion in Jeremiah</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192012000100009&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es This paper explores the call of Israel to be a unique people and the implications of this for its leadership styles. It, as such, examines the Torah promulgation for a king subservient to the Law (and its attendant institutions), as prescribed in Deut 17:14-20, vis-à-vis the evolution of Israelite leadership culminating in the monarchy, and the outworking of this in the Deuteronomistic History. The paper ultimately aligns this deuteronomic leadership ideal with the reality of the late pre-exilic experience of the Judahite covenant community, especially as documented in the traditions of Jeremiah's life and ministry. The ensuing consequence of the exile is also looked at. Inferences are drawn from these discussions, outlining trajectories of import for contemporary communities of faith. <![CDATA[<b>Hearing Tamar's voice: Contextual readings of 2 Samuel 13:1-22</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192012000100010&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es The story of Tamar in 2 Sam 13:1-22 formed the basis of a qualitative research inquiry that investigated the intricate functioning of the intercultural Bible reading process. It is a process theoretically based on the combined hermeneutical frameworks of Feminism and African hermeneutics. Although the research showed that the inter-cultural Bible reading process cannot avoid the complexities of an inherent power dynamic, it proved to be a space that promotes human dignity and has the inherent capacity to facilitate social transformation. The intercultural Bible reading space can thus be described as a dynamic meeting place: a space that facilitates the meeting of individuals from various cultural backgrounds and reading positions, but also the meeting between modern readers and the culturally removed biblical text. In this paper I will look at the reception history of 2 Sam 13:1-22, describing the rape of Tamar in traditional scholarship as well as feminist and African scholarship. Special attention will be given to the feminist scholar, Denise Ackermann's interpretation of hope. I will then discuss the interpretations that were given by the intercultural Bible reading groups that were constructed for the qualitative research inquiry. In doing so, I will show that the intercultural Bible reading space is a dynamic creative space that allows individual readers to draw on a wealth of personal contextual knowledge as a key to interpret the Bible text. In the intercultural Bible reading process, a diversity of readers are thus brought together that find creative new ways to journey through old biblical landscapes by drawing on contextual knowledge and sharing interpretative gifts. <![CDATA[<b>Suffering, Psalms and allusion in Daniel 9</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192012000100011&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es In a religious context, the book of Psalms is often read in order to find some form of consolation and comfort in a situation of distress. This article uncovers a similar function, in an ancient context, for a number of individual psalms. It investigates the intertextual links between the book of Daniel, written during a period of crisis in the second century B.C.E., and a compendium of religious poetry available at that time. Several allusions to specific Psalms are found in Daniel 9. Furthermore, chapter 9 occupies a special place in the book of Daniel. <![CDATA[<b>Tel homme est né en elle - Nouvelle étude structurelle du psaume 87</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192012000100012&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Partant des propositions de Marc Girard (1994) et de lui-même (2000), l'auteur reprend ici l'étude structurelle du Ps 87, et cela le plus méthodiquement possible, c'est-à-dire en considérant d'abord (s'il y a lieu) la structure interne de chaque unité, puis d'ensembles partiels, et enfin de l'ensemble du psaume. Entre 1-2 et 7, qui aux extrêmes se répondent, il voit se correspondre 3-4, 5ab et 6, - 5c se trouvant pour sa part en rapport avec 1-2. D'ailleurs il repère un assemblage dans la première unité (1-2) de toutes les unités qui la suivent.<hr/>On the basis of the proposals by Marc Girard (1994) and himself (2000), the author resumes here the structural study of Ps 87, and that as methodically as possible, that is to say by considering first (if relevant) the internal structure of each unit, then of partial units, and eventually of the whole of the psalm. Between 1-2 and 7, which at the extremes respond to one another, he sees a correspondence between 3-4, 5ab and 6, - 5c being for its part in connection with 1-2. Moreover, he spots a combination in the first unit (1-2) of all the units which follow it. <![CDATA[<b>Book Reviews</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192012000100013&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Partant des propositions de Marc Girard (1994) et de lui-même (2000), l'auteur reprend ici l'étude structurelle du Ps 87, et cela le plus méthodiquement possible, c'est-à-dire en considérant d'abord (s'il y a lieu) la structure interne de chaque unité, puis d'ensembles partiels, et enfin de l'ensemble du psaume. Entre 1-2 et 7, qui aux extrêmes se répondent, il voit se correspondre 3-4, 5ab et 6, - 5c se trouvant pour sa part en rapport avec 1-2. D'ailleurs il repère un assemblage dans la première unité (1-2) de toutes les unités qui la suivent.<hr/>On the basis of the proposals by Marc Girard (1994) and himself (2000), the author resumes here the structural study of Ps 87, and that as methodically as possible, that is to say by considering first (if relevant) the internal structure of each unit, then of partial units, and eventually of the whole of the psalm. Between 1-2 and 7, which at the extremes respond to one another, he sees a correspondence between 3-4, 5ab and 6, - 5c being for its part in connection with 1-2. Moreover, he spots a combination in the first unit (1-2) of all the units which follow it.