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Old Testament Essays

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

Old testam. essays vol.24 n.3 Pretoria  2011


Seeing Tamar through the prism of an African woman: A contextual reading of Genesis 381



Alexander I. Abasili

Catholic University of Leuven





It is a truism that marriage is deeply appreciated in Africa. This, among others, is rooted in Africans' love of children. In most African societies, the begetting of children is a social and religious duty attached to marriage and is vital to it. Bearing of children is an end of marriage upon which the wellbeing of the spouse depends. A successful marriage should be "fruitful. " As a result, marriage becomes a big challenge when it is "childless. " Due to the patriarchal nature of most African societies, it is the women that often bear the brunt of childlessness in marriage. By embarking on a contextual reading of Genesis 38 and applying its theological implications to an African context, this article joins many concerned individuals in suggesting more informed reactions and solutions to the so-called grave problem of childlessness in marriage.



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Alexander Izuchukwu Abasili
Biblical Studies Department (OT), Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KUL)
Brusselsestraat 69, Box 05.08
B - 3000 Leuven, Belgium



1 This paper was first presented at the Contextual Interpretation of the Bible session of the Society of Biblical Literature's International conference, held at King's College London, UK (July 3-7, 2011). Based on the good suggestions of the participants, few modifications have been made to the original paper.