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Old Testament Essays

On-line version ISSN 2312-3621
Print version ISSN 1010-9919


SNYMAN, Gerrie. The African and western hermeneutics debate: Mimesis, the book of Esther, and textuality. Old testam. essays [online]. 2012, vol.25, n.3, pp.657-684. ISSN 2312-3621.

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.

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