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Old Testament Essays

versão On-line ISSN 2312-3621
versão impressa ISSN 1010-9919

Old testam. essays vol.24 no.1 Pretoria  2011

 

An African bible for African readers: J. G. Shembe's use of the Bible in the sermon

 

 

Nkosinathi Sithole

University of KwaZulu-Natal

Correspondence

 

 


ABSTRACT

It is true that Isaiah Shembe used the Bible as one of the important foundations for the creation of his Ibandla lamaNazaretha. While more work needs to be done on how Isaiah Shembe appropriated the Bible in forging his Church, there is a pressing need to research the way in which the Bible is used and interpreted in the Ibandla lamaNazaretha post Isaiah Shembe, by both members of the Church and the leaders: iLanga, iNyanga Yezulu and especially the present leader, UThingo. This paper is part of a broader project in which I try to explore the reception of the Bible in the Ibandla lamaNazaretha. Here I look at the use and appropriation of the Bible by Isaiah Shembe's son and successor, J. G. Shembe, popularly known to members as iLanga (Sun). I argue that while J. G. Shembe is at pains to appropriate the Bible for Africa, presenting it as an African inspired and created text, he is also forced to denounce it as foreign because of its interpretation by the educated elite. This interpretation (by the educated elites) negates African religion and the worship of ancestors which J. G. Shembe supports.


 

 

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BIBLIOGRAPHY

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Brown, Duncan. "Orality and Christianity: The Hymns of Isaiah Shembe and the Church of the Nazarites." Current Writing 7/2 (1995): 69-95.         [ Links ]

Cabrita, Joel. "A Theological Biobraphy of Isaiah Shembe, c.1870-1935." Phd thesis, University of Cambridge, 2007.         [ Links ]

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La Hausse, Paul. Restless Identities: Signitures of Nationalism, Zulu Ethnicity and History of the Lives of Petros Lamula (c.1881-1948) and Lymon Maling (1889-1936). Pietermaritzburg: University of KwaZulu-Natal Press, 2000.         [ Links ]

Malukele, Tinyiko. "Black and African Theologies in the New World Order: A Time to Drink from Our Own Wells," Journal of Theology for Southern Africa 96 (1996): 3-19.         [ Links ]

Muller, Carol A. Rituals of Fertility and the Sacrifice of Desire: Nazarite Women's Performances in South Africa. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999.         [ Links ]

Sithole, Nkosinathi. "Testimony, Identity and Power: Oral Narratives of Near-Death Experiences in the Nazarite Church." MA diss., University of KwaZulu-Natal, 2005.         [ Links ]

Van Dyk, Peet. J. How to Analyse the Bible. Pretoria: Van Schaik Publishers, 1987.         [ Links ]

West, Gerald. "Reading Shembe 'Remembering' the Bible: Isaiah Shembe's Instructions on Adultery." Neotestamenica 40/1 (2006): 157-184.         [ Links ]

_____ . "The Bible and the Female Body in Ibandla lamaNazaretha: Isaiah Shembe and Jephthah's daughter." OTE 20/2 (2007): 489-509.         [ Links ]

_____ . "Indigenous Exegesis: Exploring the Interface between Missionary Methods and the Rhetorical Rhythms of Africa - Locating Local Reading Resources in the Academy." Neotestamentica 36/1-2 (2002): 147-162.         [ Links ]

_____ . "Mapping African Biblical Interpretation: A Tentative Sketch." Pages 29-53 in The Bible in Africa: Transactions, Trends, and Trajectories. Edited by Gerald. West and Musa. Dube. Leiden: Brill, 2000.         [ Links ]

_____ . The Academy of the Poor: Towards a Dialogical Reading of the Bible. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1999. Repr., Pietermaritzburg: Cluster Publications, 2003.         [ Links ]

 

 

Correspondence:
Nkosinathi Sithole
University of KwaZulu-Natal, Private Bag X01, Scottsville, 3209
Email: nkosinathi.sithole1@gmail.com

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