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Old Testament Essays

versión On-line ISSN 2312-3621
versión impresa ISSN 1010-9919

Old testam. essays vol.24 no.3 Pretoria  2011


A comparison of the witchcraft is poison metaphor in Soweto and Selected Old Testament passages



Zacharias Kotzé

Northwest University





African Old Testament interpretation has been asserting itself against mainstream Euro-American biblical scholarship. In doing so, various tools have been crafted, mostly in accordance with the goal of addressing the life concerns of ordinary Africans. The preferred method for the majority of African OT scholars has been the comparative paradigm. This article introduces a cognitive methodology for the comparison of cultural elements and belief systems in contemporary Africa and the ancient Near East. Although the method can be used for the scrutiny of both socio-political and religio-cultural fundamentals, the approach is demonstrated with reference to African and ancient Israelite conceptions regarding witchcraft.



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Dr. Zacharias Kotzé
School of Basic Sciences, North-West University, Vaal Triangle Campus



1 The author distances himself from the supposed distinction between shamanism and witchcraft (or isangoma vs. baloyi, so-called "black" vs. "white" magic, etc.). The term, "witchcraft," is retained, however, to imitate the cognitive variance that has been created for social and political purposes since the beginning of history, possibly even earlier; see Fabian Dapila, "The Socio-Religious Role of Witchcraft in the Old Testament Culture: An African Insight," OTE 11/2 (1998): 215-239 and Nevill Drury, Magic and Witchcraft: From Shamanism to the Technopagans (London: Thames & Hudson, 2003), 61ff.

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