Old Testament Essays
On-line version ISSN 2312-3621
VAN DER WALT, Charlene. Hearing Tamar's voice: Contextual readings of 2 Samuel 13:1-22. Old testam. essays [online]. 2012, vol.25, n.1, pp. 182-206. ISSN 2312-3621.
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.