SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online

vol.25 issue3The timeless, unifying rhetoric of LamentationsProsthetic memory in the Old Testament author indexsubject indexarticles search
Home Pagealphabetic serial listing  

Services on Demand



Related links

  • On index processCited by Google
  • On index processSimilars in Google


Old Testament Essays

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

Old testam. essays vol.25 n.3 Pretoria  2012


Teaching and interpreting the Old Testament in Africa: Written word, archaeology and oral world



Magdel le Roux

University of South Africa





In Africa we are confronted daily with a society that has lost its moral fibre, resulting in seemingly endless problems in the educational sector. Universities have the special task of promoting the humanities and applying social values and the social relevance in their teaching, which should lead to effective learning and an improvement in the quality of learning. Neither the written text (Hebrew Bible) nor the archaeological discoveries have provided us with sufficient information on certain Israelite practices and customs. Africa has traditions that need to be respected. A study of oral traditions may provide a supplementary, or perhaps alternate, view. A comparative study between Lemba and proto-Israelite customs and beliefs indicates that there is yet another group whose customs and rituals correspond to a great extent with those of the proto-Israelites. It is comparison in aid of cross-cultural interpretation, as is now forcefully stated in more recent studies in religion.



“Full text available only in PDF format” 




Ackerman, Susan. Under Every Green Tree: Popular Religion in Sixth-Century Judah. Harvard Semitic Monographs 46. Atlanta: Scholars, 1992.         [ Links ]

Albertz, Rainer. From the Beginnings to the End of the Monarchy. Volume 1 of A History of Israelite Religion in the Old Testament Period. Kentucky: John Knox, 1994.         [ Links ]

Anderson, Bernhard W. Rediscovering the Bible. New York: Association, 1951.         [ Links ]

Brown, Francis, Samuel R. Driver, and Charles A. Briggs. A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament with an appendix Containing the Biblical Aramaic. Oxford: Clarendon, 1975.         [ Links ]

Carroll, Robert P. Jeremiah: A Commentary. London: SCM, 1986.         [ Links ]

Chidester, David. Savage Systems. Colonialism and Comparative Religion in Southern Africa. London: University Press of Virginia, 1996.         [ Links ]

Davies, Philip R. In Search for "Ancient Israel". Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Supplement Series 148. Sheffield: JSOT Press. 1992.         [ Links ]

Davison, Patricia. "Lobedu material culture." Annals of the South African Museum 94/3 (1984): 42-201.         [ Links ]

De Vaal, J. Ben. "Die Vhalemba, die Semitiese Bantoes." Suid-Afrika (Feb., 1947): 15-48.         [ Links ]

Deist, Ferdinand E. A Concise Dictionary of Theological Terms with an English-Afrikaans and an Afrikaans-English List. Pretoria: Sigma, 1984.         [ Links ]

Dever, William, G. "Archaeology Reconstructs the Lost Background of the Israelite Cult." Recent Archaeological Discoveries and Biblical Research 4, (1990): 119-186.         [ Links ]

Douglas, James D. and Norman Hillyer, eds. New Bible Dictionary. 2nd ed. Downer's Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1982.         [ Links ]

Eilberg-Schwartz, Howard. The Savage in Judaism: An Anthropology of Israelite Religion and Ancient Judaism. Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1990.         [ Links ]

Finnegan, Ruth. Oral Literature in Africa. Dar-Es-Salaam: Oxford University Press, 1976.         [ Links ]

Gayre of Gayre, Robert. "The Lembas or Vendas of Vendaland." Mankind Quarterly 8 (1967): 3-15.         [ Links ]

Georges, Robert A., ed. Studies on Mythology. Illinois: Dorsey, 1968.         [ Links ]

Gottwald, Norman K. The Hebrew Bible: A Socio-Literary Introduction. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1985.         [ Links ]

_____. The Tribes of Yahweh: A Sociology of the Religion of Liberated Israel: 1250-1050 BCE. 2nd ed. London: SCM, 1980.         [ Links ]

Grant, Michael. The History of Ancient Israel. London: Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1984.         [ Links ]

Gunkel, Hermann. The Folklore in the Old Testament. Sheffield: Almond, 1987.         [ Links ]

Henige, David P. The Chronology of Oral Tradition. Oxford: Clarendon, 1974.         [ Links ]

Holter, Knut, ed. Interpreting Classical Texts in Contemporary Africa. Nairobi: Acton, 2007.         [ Links ]

_____. Let my People Stay! Researching the Old Testament in Africa: Report from a Research Project on Africanization [sic] of Old Testament Studies. Nairobi: Acton, 2006.         [ Links ]

Jaques, Alexandre A. "Notes on the Lemba Tribe of the Northern Transvaal." Anthropos 26 (1931): 245-251.         [ Links ]

Jansen, Jonathan and Peter Vale. Consensus Study on the Future of the Humanities in SA: Status, Prospects and Strategies. Pretoria: Academy of Science of South Africa, 2011. Cited 23 November 2012. Online:         [ Links ]

Jobling, Dawid. Structural Analyses in the Hebrew Bible. Volume 2 of The Sense of Biblical Narrative. Sheffield: Academic, 1987.         [ Links ]

Junod, Henri A. Life of a South African Tribe. London: Macmillan, 1927.         [ Links ]

_____. "The Balemba of the Zoutpansberg (Transvaal)." Folk-lore 19 (1908): 276-287.         [ Links ]

Ladson-Billings, Gloria J. "Readings Between the Lines and Beyond the Pages: A Culturally Relevant Approach to Literacy Teaching." Theory-in-Practice 31 (1992): 312-320.         [ Links ]

_____. "Like Lightning in a Bottle: Attempting to Capture the Pedagogical Excellence of Successful Teachers of Black Students. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education 3/4 (1990): 325-334.         [ Links ]

Lange, Dierk. Ancient Kingdoms of West Africa: Africa-Centered and Canaanite - Israelite Perspectives: A Collection of Published and Unpublished Studies in English and French. Dettelbach: Röll, 2004.         [ Links ]

Le Roux, Magdel. "The Bhuba: A Paternally Inherited Jewish Priesthood in Southern Africa?" Ekklesiastikos Pharos (2010): 286-304.         [ Links ]

_____. Ngoma Lungundu: An African Ark of the Covenant." Old Testament Essays 22 (2009): 102-125.         [ Links ]

_____. Ancient Near Eastern Influence in Sub-Saharan Africa." Ekklesiastikos Pharos 90 NS19 (2008): 1-20.         [ Links ]

_____. "African Light on the New Moon Ceremony." Old Testament Essays 18/2 (2005): 281-295.         [ Links ]

_____. Lemba Religion. Ancient Judaism or Evolving Lemba Tradition?" Religion & Theology 11/3 & 4 (2004): 313-330.         [ Links ]

_____. The Lemba: A Lost Tribe of Israel in Southern Africa? Pretoria: Unisa, 2003.         [ Links ]

_____. "In Search of the Understanding of the Old Testament in Africa: The Case of the Lemba." D.Lit. et Phil. diss., Unisa, Pretoria, 1999.         [ Links ]

Le Roux, Magdel and Schalk W. van Heerden. "Postgraduate Supervision as Teamwork: 'The Africanisation of Biblical Studies' Project - A Case Study." Scriptura 101 (2009): 259-273.         [ Links ]

Levi-Strauss, Claude. The Savage Mind. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1966.         [ Links ]

Lincoln, Bruce. "Theses on Method." Method and Theory in the Study of Religion 8/3 (1996): 225-227.         [ Links ]

_____. Discourse and the Construction of Society: Comparing Studies of Myth, Ritual and Classification. New York: Oxford University Press, 1989.         [ Links ]

Mack, Burton L. The Christian Myth: Origins, Logic, Legacy. London: Continuum, 2001.         [ Links ]

McNeil, William H. Mythistory and Other Essays. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986.         [ Links ]

Mullan, James E. The Arab Builders of Zimbabwe. Umtali: Rhodesia Mission, 1969.         [ Links ]

Niditch, Susan. Ancient Israelite religion. Oxford: University Press, 1997.         [ Links ]

_____. Oral World and Written Word: Ancient Israelite Literature. Louisville: Westminister John Knox, 1996.         [ Links ]

_____. Folklore and the Hebrew Bible. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1993.         [ Links ]

Pardee, Dennis. Ritual and Cult at Ugarit. Leiden: Brill, 2002.         [ Links ]

Parfitt, Tudor. The Lost Ark of the Covenant: The Remarkable Quest for the Legendary Ark. London: HarperCollins, 2008.         [ Links ]

_____. Journey to the Vanished City: The Search for a Lost Tribe of Israel. London: Phoenix, 1992.         [ Links ]

Powell, Rachel. "Then the Beauty Emerges: A Longitudinal Case Study of Culturally Relevant Teaching." Teaching and Teacher Education 13/5 (1997): 467-484.         [ Links ]

Quirin, James. "Oral Traditions as Historical Sources in Ethiopia: The Case of the Beta Israel (Falasha)." History in Africa: A Journal of Method 20 (1993): 297-312.         [ Links ]

Raidt, Edith H. "Catholic Universities in Africa." Sciat ut Serviat. The Festschrift of the International Federation of Catholic Universities, 2010, 147-177.         [ Links ]

_____. "Graduation Address at St John Vianney Seminary." Graduation Address, St. John Vianney, 27 October 2010, Pretoria.         [ Links ]

Rogerson, John W. The Supernatural in the Old Testament. Guildford: Lutterworth, 1976.         [ Links ]

Scheffler, Eben H. "Debating the Late-Dating of the Old Testament." Old Testament Essays 11/3 (1998): 522-533.         [ Links ]

Schlömann, The Rev. "Die Malepa in Transvaal." Zeitschrift für Ethnologie 26 (1894): 64-40.         [ Links ]

Smart, Ninian, Worldviews. Crosscultural Explorations of Human Beliefs. 2nd ed. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1995.         [ Links ]

_____. The World's Religions: Old Traditions and Modern Transformations. Cambridge: University Press, 1989.         [ Links ]

_____. The Religious Experience of Mankind. Glasgow: Collins, 1983.         [ Links ]

Smith, Jonathan Z. Imagining Religion. From Jonestown to Babylon. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982.         [ Links ]

Soler, Jean. "The Dietary Prohibitions of the Hebrews." New York Review of Books 26/10 (1979): 24-30.         [ Links ]

Thompson, Thomas L. The Mythic Past: Biblical Archaeology and the Myth of Israel. New York: Basic, 1999.         [ Links ]

_____. Early History of the Israelite People from the Written and Archaeological Sources. Studies in the History and Culture of the Ancient Near East 4. Leiden: Brill, 1992.         [ Links ]

Toelken, Barre. The Dynamics of Folklore. Logan: Utah State University Press, 1996.         [ Links ]

Turner, Victor. The Forest of Symbols: Aspects of Ndembu Ritual. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1967.         [ Links ]

Vansina, Jan. Oral Traditions as History, London: James Currey, 1985.         [ Links ]

Van Warmelo, Nicolaas. J., (ed). "The Copper Miners of Musina and the Early History of the Zoutpansberg." Ethnological Publications 8. Pretoria: Government Printer, 1940.         [ Links ]

_____. "A Preliminary Survey of the Bantu Tribes of South Africa." Ethnological Publications 5. Pretoria: Government Printer, 1935.         [ Links ]

Von Sicard, Harold. Ngoma Lungundu: Eine africanische Bundeslage. Studia Ethnographica Upsaliensia 5. Uppsala: Almquist & Wiksells Boktrycker, 1952.         [ Links ]

_____. Karangafolkets äldsta Missionshistoria. Stockholm: Svenska Kyrkans, 1943.         [ Links ]

Wolfe, Rolland. The Twelve Religions of the Bible. Volume 2 of Studies in the Bible and Early Christianity. New York: Edwin Mellen, 1982.         [ Links ]

Wright, G. Ernest. God who Acts: Biblical Theology as Recital. London: SCM, 1952.         [ Links ]

Zevit, Ziony. The Religions of Ancient Israel: A Synthesis of Parallactic Approaches. London: Continuum, 2001.         [ Links ]



Prof Magdel le Roux
Department of Old Testament and Ancient Near Eastern Studies, University of South Africa
P.O. Box 392 Unisa, 0003

Creative Commons License All the contents of this journal, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License