Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Old Testament Essays]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/rss.php?pid=1010-991920120003&lang=pt vol. 25 num. 3 lang. pt <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/img/en/fbpelogp.gif http://www.scielo.org.za <![CDATA[<b>President of the OTSSA: On the 25th Anniversary of <i>Old Testament Essays</i></b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192012000300001&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt <![CDATA[<b>Message from the first Editor (1988-1995)</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192012000300002&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt <![CDATA[<b>Message from the second Editor (1996-2007)</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192012000300003&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt <![CDATA[<b><i>Histoire croisée </i></b><b>and 25 years of publishing Old Testament scholarship</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192012000300004&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt <![CDATA[<b>The fourth servant song (Isaiah 52:13 - 53:12): Reflections on the current debate on the symbolism of the cross from the perspective of the Old Testament</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192012000300005&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt In the current debates about the relationship of state and religion, the symbol of the cross has not been able to keep out of the headlines. On a political, legal as well as cultural level there continue to be disputes that cannot be resolved by merely referring to the Christian tradition. On the contrary: the controversial discussions challenge not only the Christian Churches, but also academic theology with its various disciplines. From the perspective of OT scholarship, and based on Isa 53,³ an aspect is to be identified which has hitherto not been taken sufficiently into account when clarifying the values surrounding the cross. Prior to this, several examples taken from the social debate will serve to illustrate to what an extent the Christian theology is challenged by it. The function of theological scholarship is, after all, not only or primarily to provide ecclesiastical self-reassurance, but also to inject the values of its own religious tradition into the free social discourse, and thus, in the sense of Habermas, to discursively fluidise them - not to dilute them! <![CDATA[<b>The use of African indigenous languages in the teaching and learning of biblical Hebrew</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192012000300006&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt The paper raises fairly significant questions about how we teach biblical languages (in this case Hebrew) to African students or in African theological schools. First, it examines Pulido's seven key concepts on the teaching and learning of Biblical Hebrew. Second, it looks at the role of vernacular languages in African Theological scholarship. Third, it focuses on both morphological and syntactical correspondences between Hebrew and African languages. And, finally, it spells out the significance of using African Indigenous Languages in the teaching and learning of Biblical Hebrew. <![CDATA[<b>A <i>fourth </i>paradigm? Some thoughts on atheism in Old Testament scholarship</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192012000300007&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt In recent decades, OT scholarship has witnessed the emergence of undercurrents of what may be called a fourth paradigm. In contrast to the three familiar faith-based "paradigms, " this one is essentially atheistic. Scholars working in the fourth paradigm do not believe that the Bible is the Word of God, God's Word in human speech, or human words about God. On this view, the texts are just human words and have no transcendental signified. In addition, a plurality of atheistic approaches to the text is operative within the varieties of atheism that can be distinguished. Ultimately though, this paradigm too has its pros and cons, both of which have implications with regard to future prospects for local atheist OT scholars. This article aims to present only a brief, personal, and introductory take on a controversial subject. <![CDATA[<b>The timeless, unifying rhetoric of Lamentations</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192012000300008&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt Certain poetic features of Lamentations contribute to an ongoing preservative/cohesive function in faith communities. In form and content the reader/audience is confronted with completeness-a nation's complete destruction, the complete range of human emotion-and with incompleteness-a fragmented people, broken institutions, unanswered theological questions.¹ <![CDATA[<b>Teaching and interpreting the Old Testament in Africa: Written word, archaeology and oral world</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192012000300009&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt In Africa we are confronted daily with a society that has lost its moral fibre, resulting in seemingly endless problems in the educational sector. Universities have the special task of promoting the humanities and applying social values and the social relevance in their teaching, which should lead to effective learning and an improvement in the quality of learning. Neither the written text (Hebrew Bible) nor the archaeological discoveries have provided us with sufficient information on certain Israelite practices and customs. Africa has traditions that need to be respected. A study of oral traditions may provide a supplementary, or perhaps alternate, view. A comparative study between Lemba and proto-Israelite customs and beliefs indicates that there is yet another group whose customs and rituals correspond to a great extent with those of the proto-Israelites. It is comparison in aid of cross-cultural interpretation, as is now forcefully stated in more recent studies in religion. <![CDATA[<b>Prosthetic memory in the Old Testament</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192012000300010&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt In the OT "remembering" often denotes the experience of reliving special events of the past and thereby making them virtually present. Several texts are advanced in an argument that, where remembering is aided by an external sign or symbol, its function is not necessarily limited to the prevention of forgetting but also to stimulate constructive mental action. It is proposed to interpret this with the help of the thesis of "prosthetic memory" put forward by Alison Landsberg for the visual arts. The visual aid does not only prevent knowledge of the past to fade away, but positively stimulates new interpretive action. It is shown that this nuance is combined with the idea of education where prosthetic memory occurs in the OT. It is proposed that the purpose of these prostheses to memory is the pertinent interpretation of Torah and educational instructions as well as their translation into acts appropriate to new contexts. <![CDATA[<b>Anything new under the sun of South African Old Testament scholarship? African Qoheleths' review of <i>OTE </i>1994-2010</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192012000300011&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt Prior argues that the book of Ecclesiastes "... presumes such a lively and competitive economic environment, full of risk, a somewhat arbitrary, rapidly changing world, where the new-rich of today could easily become the new-poor of tomorrow. "l Indeed, the world portrayed by the book of Ecclesiastes, can be described as the world in flux, solid yet fragile, conscious of the plight of the poor yet detached, elite yet insufficient, pessimistic yet not without hope, politically aware yet resistant. Such contradictions are embedded in the work whose author/editors set(s) great store by the notion of "vanity of vanities. "In the African Qoheleths ' view, life is characterised by a chasing after the wind. Innovation and change seem to be resisted as "...there is nothing new under the sun"(Eccl 1:9b). In this article, the expression, "the nothingness of anything new under the sun" is used as a hermeneutical lens to cast a contextual glance at the history of (some)research carried out by South African(SA)OT scholars over the past eighteen years. To limit the scope of the article, the Qoheleths focus on the research articles published in the prestigious scholarly journal Old Testament Essays (OTE) during the period 1994-2010. <![CDATA[<b>The Meaning of the <i>Imago Dei<sup> </sup></i>(Gen 1:26-27) in Genesis 1-11</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192012000300012&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt The purpose of this article is to define the image of God in Gen 1:26-27 in light of Gen 1-11. Does Gen 1-11 define or imply a definition of the image and likeness of God? The biblical-theological (or canonical-chronological) approach will be used which looks at how the idea of God-likeness (Gen 1:26-27) is seen in Gen 2-11. The article argues that the image of God is both moral and relational in perspective: it involves a moral likeness to God and a relationship between God and humans like that between parent and child. This is such an important topic because South Africa is experiencing a state of moral decay. The statement of human kind's creation in the "image of God" clearly constitutes an important and positive affirmation about human's original place in the created order. Various NT passages such as Col 3:10 and Eph 4:24 also emphasise this theme as the goal of the Gospel. <![CDATA[<b>The African and western hermeneutics debate: Mimesis, the book of Esther, and textuality</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192012000300013&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt This essay enquires into the problem of mimesis when dealing with the biblical text: imitating the text as well as imitating the tools with which the text is read. Using the Book of Esther as illustration material, it looks into mimesis within the story of Esther itself as well as mimetic actions based on the story. The focus then shifts to a particular Western and African feminist/womanist discourse on mimesis and the biblical text masking particularities. The discussion proceeds to highlight one particularity that needs to be discussed, namely the issue of textuality, a theme with rich potential in the Book of Esther. The author ponders the following question: If the notions of text and writing are so deeply embedded in Western thinking, is it not time to start thinking in terms of different rationalities when African hermeneutics is contrasted with Western hermeneutics? The last section of the essay looks into this possibility but only in a preliminary way in an effort to move the debate between African hermeneutics and Western hermeneutics a bit further. <![CDATA[<b>Perceived and narrated space in Psalm 48</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192012000300014&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt Psalm 48 consists of two layers, a basic pre-exilic layer (vv. 2-7, 9, 13-14a, 15) and a redactional exilic layer (vv. 8, 10-12, 14b). Analyzed with the heuristic categories of spatial theory by H. Lefebvre (perceived space, conceived space and lived space), it can be shown, how the pre-exilic text's praise of the impregnability of Jerusalem as city of God has been revised. This revision changes the perceived space, which the text is based on, into a narrated space, thus preserving trust in God and belief in Jerusalem as the City of God even in the face of destruction and exile. <![CDATA[<b>After the theft: Natural distribution states and prisoner's dilemmas in the paradise story</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192012000300015&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt The article identifies economic structures for the paradise story which Buchanan's constitutional economics termed "natural distribution states" and escalating prisoner's dilemma (PD) games. I constructed game matrices for God's and Adam & Eve's decisions to respect or not to respect the rights of the other party. For Adam and Eve, the matrices specify decisions regarding theft from the "divine" trees. For God, punishment options in reaction to Adam and Eve's theft are paid special attention to. As regards how storytelling was set up at the outset of the OT, the article shows that the paradise story avoided a "game over" scenario in which Adam and Eve either were killed or were elevated to become gods themselves. In as much as a natural distribution state (even a PD outcome) prevailed as a result of these paradise interactions, I argue that this heuristically set up further storytelling about fairer social contracting between God and humans in the OT <![CDATA[<b>Gottesrede in "Asaph-Texten"</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192012000300016&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt Schniedewinds Monographie „Word of God in Transition" konstatiert, ausgehend von der Chronik mit Blick auf die Bücher Samuel und Könige, eine Transformation „From Prophet to Exegete in the Second Temple Period". Die vorliegende Studie überprüft die These flankierend an „Asaph-Texten", die vom Psalter bis zur Chronik reichen. Dazu werden vier Textbereiche abgegrenzt (Asaph-Psalmen, „deuteroasaphitische" Psalmen im Bereich Ps 90-106* sowie Partien von Esra-Nehemia und Chronika). Umfang, Gehalt und Art der Gottesreden werden untersucht und Aussagen über Prophetie (auszugsweise) mit einbezogen. Als Ergebnis zeigt sich ein asaphitisches Kontinuum prophetischen Redens, das ohne einen über längere Zeit hinweg agierenden Trägerkreis kaum denkbar ist. Zugleich wird deutlich, wie sich die Gottesrede im Laufe der Zeit graduell von genuiner Kultprophetie zu prophetischer Schriftauslegung verschob. Schniedewinds These kann im Grundsatz bestätigt und aufgrund der Ausweitung der Textbasis zugleich erhärtet werden.<hr/>The monograph by Schniedewind, "Word of God in Transition," compares the books of Samuel and Kings with Chronicles and proposes that the office of Prophet was changed into that of Exegete in the Second Temple Period. This article tests the hypothesis using "Asaph-texts" found in the Psalter and Chronicles. Four corpora of texts are demarcated: Asaph-psalms; "deutero-Asaphite " psalms in the group Pss 90-106*, and sections of Ezra-Nehemiah and Chronicles. The divine oracles are investigated in terms of their extent, quality, and nature and pronouncements on prophecy are also included. The result is that an Asaphite continuum of prophetic speech is identified which could not have existed without the involvement of a circle of trandents over a long time. At the same time it becomes clear how the divine oracles were transformed into genuine cultic prophecy over time, and from that to prophetic exegesis of Scripture. Schniedewind's thesis was thus both confirmed and substantiated by increasing the scope of the investigation. <![CDATA[<b>I've had it with you: Jeremiah 23:33-40 as culmination of YHWH's frustration</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192012000300017&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt Jeremiah 23:9-40 is a collection of oracles that negatively reflect on the actions of prophets in Judah. This cycle on the prophets consists of the following oracles: 23:9-15; 16-22; 23-24; 25-32 and 33-40. The section of interest for this article is 23:33-40, the final oracle in the cycle. The key issue in this passage is the expression massä' Yhwh which occurs no less than seven times. Of significance are the different translations English versions of the Bible offer, namely "the burden of YHWH" and "the message of YHWH. " It is the aim of this article to investigate the meaning of this expression in terms of the wordplay implied in its use, but also in terms of its inclusion in the collection of oracles concerning the prophets which contributes to the interpretation of this expression. Besides paying attention to the structure of the passage, the noticeable use of negative verbs and nouns will also be a point of discussion. Within the literary context created by this collection of oracles on the prophets composed in the Jeremiah tradition, this final passage (23:33-40) seems to express the culmination of frustration with the prophets and the people of Judah. The cycle commences by condemning the adulterous conduct of the prophets, followed by criticism of their flawed theology. Further criticism comprised the fact that they acted as prophets without divine sanction, as well as their dubious modes of receiving their messages (dreams). In the final passage the criticism climaxes in the rejection of the prophets in particular for disobeying a direct order from YHWH not to say massä' Yhwh. The prophets have gravely overstepped their boundaries by doing so, with dire consequences for them, the city and the people of Judah. <![CDATA[<b>Genesis 38 - Judah's turning point: Structural analysis and narrative techniques and their meaning for Genesis 38 and its placement in the story of Joseph</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192012000300018&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt Genesis 38 is often viewed as a disruption of the Joseph story, which for some unknown reason found its way into that narrative. This article shows that the placement of Gen 38 is intentional, with many connections to the surrounding chapters. These connections are made through the repetition of words as well as through the repetition of motifs. They connect Gen 38 not only to Gen 37 and 39, but also to Gen 47 and 48. Together with the preceding chapter, Gen 38 builds a double exposition for the following chapters. The question behind these chapters is: which of the sons of Jacob will take over the right of primogeniture and step into the line of blessing coming down from Abraham? Will it be Judah, next in the line after his brothers Ruben, Simeon and Levi, who for various reasons lost their right of primogeniture, or Joseph, the firstborn of Rachel? In this respect, Gen 38 shows how Judah began to transform from a very egocentric person, willing to sell his brother Joseph into slavery, into someone willing to become a slave in the place of his brother Benjamin. This transformation qualifies Judah to become the leader amongst his brothers, while Joseph would receive the double portion as his right of being the firstborn. This article shows the manifold connections between ch. 38 and the surrounding chapters and makes clear how the transformation of Judah begins. <![CDATA[<b>Book Reviews</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192012000300019&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt Genesis 38 is often viewed as a disruption of the Joseph story, which for some unknown reason found its way into that narrative. This article shows that the placement of Gen 38 is intentional, with many connections to the surrounding chapters. These connections are made through the repetition of words as well as through the repetition of motifs. They connect Gen 38 not only to Gen 37 and 39, but also to Gen 47 and 48. Together with the preceding chapter, Gen 38 builds a double exposition for the following chapters. The question behind these chapters is: which of the sons of Jacob will take over the right of primogeniture and step into the line of blessing coming down from Abraham? Will it be Judah, next in the line after his brothers Ruben, Simeon and Levi, who for various reasons lost their right of primogeniture, or Joseph, the firstborn of Rachel? In this respect, Gen 38 shows how Judah began to transform from a very egocentric person, willing to sell his brother Joseph into slavery, into someone willing to become a slave in the place of his brother Benjamin. This transformation qualifies Judah to become the leader amongst his brothers, while Joseph would receive the double portion as his right of being the firstborn. This article shows the manifold connections between ch. 38 and the surrounding chapters and makes clear how the transformation of Judah begins.