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Old Testament Essays

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

Old testam. essays vol.24 n.2 Pretoria  2011


Ancient Israelite perspectives on the meaning of life



Jaco W. Gericke

North-West University





Old Testament theologians have discussed a myriad of topics related to ancient Israelite religion. Yet perhaps the one question that haunts everyone who grapples with the world in the text is usually never asked, i.e., what is the meaning of life? In this article I attempt to answer it historically by looking at ancient Israelite perspectives on the meaning of life. After some remarks about the place and meaning of the question in contemporary philosophy, an introductory discussion on the biblical assumptions related to the matter is offered to inspire further research. The focus of the inquiry is moreover not only on Yahwistic assumptions about the meaning of human life but covers all forms of existence acknowledged by the Old Testament authors. The presentation closes with the suggestion that this topic can become the new "centre" for post-realist axiologies of the Old Testament.



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Dr. Jaco W. Gericke
Senior Lecturer, Subject Group Theology
School of Basic Sciences, Faculty of Humanities
North-west University (Vaal Triangle Campus)
P.O. Box 1174, Vanderbijlpark, 1900

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