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Old Testament Essays

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

Abstract

ADU-GYAMFI, Yaw. "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live" (Exod 22:18) and contemporary Akan Christian belief and practice: A translational and hermeneutical problem. Old testam. essays [online]. 2016, vol.29, n.1, pp.11-32. ISSN 2312-3621.  http://dx.doi.org/10.17159/2312-3621/2016/v29n1a3.

The King James Version (KJV) of Exod 22:18, "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live, " has been used by some contemporary ordinary Akan Christians in Ghana to justify praying for the death and destruction of witches and wizards. Instructions such as "Pray for the death of any witch in your family or business; pray that Holy Ghost fire will consume any witch holding your destiny, " have become a common statement at some Akan Christian prayer meetings in Ghana. This article seeks to show this belief and practice is a translational and hermeneutical problem because the Hebrew word -•--• I which the KJVtranslates as "witch " and subsequently translated in early Asante Bible as obayifo2 is a representational term used by the redactor of Exod 22:18 to reflect the semantic range of idolatrous practices condemned by YHWHamong the Israelites. The article also purports to show that the phrase -” -••• does not necessarily mean to kill the offender, and that the prohibition can be understood as being essentially religious rather than merely legal.

Keywords : witch; hermeneutical and translational problem; KJV; -•--•; obaa ntafowayifo; obaa-ayen".

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