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Old Testament Essays

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

Old testam. essays vol.31 n.2 Pretoria  2018 






Hulisani Ramantswana




I thank the Old Testament Society of Southern Africa for formally appointing me to serve as an editor for the Old Testament Essays in its recent 2018 annual conference. The Old Testament Essays (OTE) is a vital journal for the publication of cutting edge research in Old Testament Scholarship emanating from scholars within the African continent and beyond. OTE, for the most part, relies on African scholars' contributions for its success. I intend to continue to advance OTE as a leading journal of Old Testament studies in Africa.

It is also my pleasure to welcome Prof Jaco Gericke as part of the editorial team of OTE. Prof Gericke serves as article editor. We appreciate his willingness to serve in this capacity. Prof Willem Boshoff will continue to serve as our book editor.

In this issue, there are seven articles. Several historical overviews of (South) African Old Testament scholarship have been conducted over the years, and in light of this, Gericke's article provides a "meta-philosophical commentary" of the historical overviews of Old Testament Scholarship in South Africa from 1993-2017.

Amzallag and Yona's article engages in a rhetorical analysis of Isaiah, 54:16 paying attention to the ambiguity inherent in the second part of this between the subject and the complement. For Amzallag and Yona, the rhetorical ambiguity in this verse fits well within the theology of salvation that advanced in Isa 40-55. The rhetorical ambiguity device serves to advance an already established argument that Yhwh is against the casting of idols as a form of worship.

Ademiluka explores the issue of women abuse and its relationship to patriarchy in ancient Israel and in the African context. While Ademiluka affirms that ancient Israel was a patriarchal society in which the power relations oppressed women, he argues that while patriarchy contributes towards violence against women, it is not the only factor. The same argument is advanced in relation to African context. For Ademiluka, personality disorder is another contributing factor that plays a significant role in sexual violence and abuse, and it should not only be limited to males because females are at times also perpetrators of this type of violence. Rugwiji in his article problematises the curse of metaphor in the Genesis narrative relating to humanity in general, and also relating to Ham's son, Canaan, in particular. For Rugwiji, if Africans (Cushites) are regarded as descendants of Canaan, who are cursed as some scholars have argued, then the natural resource curse in the African context, comes to be viewed as consequence of the curse of Canaan. However, Rugwiji proceeds to argue the biblical curse metaphor when applied to the African context should rather proceed from the premise of the general curse on humanity through Adam and Eve. For Rugwiji, the natural resource curse in Africa is due to Africans' failure to exploit the natural resources for their own benefit; rather, the natural resources are taken by others and sold back to Africans as consumers.

Gosse' article explores the relationship between 2 Samuel 23:1-7 with the Psalter, the Pentateuch, and the book of Malachi. Gosse's argument is that 2 Samuel 23:1-7 is a reaffirmation of the David as the messianic figure as is the case in Numbers 24:17. David's action of transferring the ark of covenant to Jerusalem is presented as complementing Moses's initial action.

Dickie's article focuses on the subject of biblical translation and performance with particular reference to the question of how Zulu praise-poetry can help inform the translation of biblical praise-psalms. Dickie's study points out that the translation process involves different role players-the original author, the translator, the performer, and the audience, at the end of which a new oral poem is produced.

Finally, Nel's article reflects on Pentecostals hermeneutic pertaining to violent texts or violence in the Hebrew Bible. Nel highlights three developments that have taken place among Pentecostals in their interpretations: Firstly, during the early phase, Pentecostals had a pacifist view on violence; secondly, in the 1930s and 1940s, Pentecostals tended to adopt evangelical hermeneutics and its justification of just war; and thirdly, since the 1970s, Pentecostals are increasingly recognising that the Hebrew Bible does not present a monolithic view on violence, and therefore, as Nel argues, it is essential that Pentecostals should recover their initial pacifist attitude towards violence enthused by the ethic of the Pentecost story.



Hulisani Ramantswana, University of South Africa, Department of Biblical and Ancient Studies P.O. Box 392, UNISA, 0003; Email: ORCID ID:

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