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Old Testament Essays

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


BOSMAN, Hendrik L.. Ants, spiders or bees ... and ticks? A typology of Old Testament scholarship in South Africa since 1994 within its African context. Old testam. essays [online]. 2015, vol.28, n.3, pp.636-654. ISSN 2312-3621.

Looking back over the past two decades of OT scholarship in South Africa, trends emerge that to some extent resemble the taxonomy of scientific endeavour made by Francis Bacon1 in 1620: (i) Like ants, some of us prefer to collect philological data to engage with biblical texts primarily on a literary and synchronic level, (ii) Others are like spiders who on a diachronie level produce ("spin"?) new hypotheses about the (re)construction of elements of ancient Israel's past as history. (Hi) There are also the odd few bees who try to relate and even integrate synchronic and diachronie interpretations of biblical texts that will result in producing "theological-ethical honey" as nourishment for faith communities (especially in different African contexts). Bees can be found in widely diverging scholarly contexts: i.e. "theological-ethical honey" can manifest itself in different modes such as African, Black and Feminist theologies. A fourth metaphor, "tick, " is added to the threefold taxonomy formulated by Francis Bacon in order to stimulate some reflection on the agency of OT scholarship in South Africa. In conclusion, the distinction made by Antonio Gramsci between "traditional" and "organic" intellectuals is combined with Paulo Freire's concept of "critical pedagogy " to suggest a way forward beyond the past two decades of OT scholarship.

Keywords : OT scholarship; Africa; typology; hermeneutics; ecology.

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