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Old Testament Essays

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

Old testam. essays vol.25 n.2 Pretoria  2012


Ecotheology: Transforming biblical metaphors - a response to Gunther Wittenberg's transformation of the dominion metaphor



Peet J. van Dyk






As part of a larger debate on ecotheology in South Africa, Gunther Wittenberg suggested that the dominion metaphor in Gen 1:28 and Ps 8 should be transformed to have a less dominating character. In this he followed Vicky Balabanski 's idea that a Stoic interpretation of the Christ hymn in Col 1:15-20 could be used as a hermeneutic key to achieve such a transformation. Wittenberg's suggestions that ecotheology should involve more than analysing a few isolated texts and thus become central to biblical theology, that biblical metaphors should be transformed when necessary and that ecotheology should be informed by modern science, are appraised as important markers for doing ecotheology. The success of transforming the dominion metaphor by using the idea of interconnectedness is however questioned because of the fundamental difference between the biological and biblical concepts of interconnectedness. It is further suggested that ecotheology should be linked more deliberately to the larger hermeneutical frameworks of Rudolph Bultmann and HansGeorg Gadamer when exploring the transformation of biblical metaphors. Finally it is suggested that the biblical concept of wilderness may be a more fruitful metaphor when exploring such transformations.



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Prof. Peet J. van Dyk
Department of Bible and Ancient Studies Unisa

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