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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

http://dx.doi.org/10.17159/2312-3621/2018/v31n2a8 

4b. abanye bakhulume ngamandla ezenzo zakho.

(others speak about power of your deeds.)

5a. Ngiyakugxila ekuphakamiseni ubukhosi,

(I will focus on lifting up your majesty,)

5b. nenkazimulo yakho kanye nezimangaliso zezenzo zakho.

(and your glory and wonderful deeds.)

6a. Bayakufakaza ngamandla ezimangaliso zezenzo zakho;

(They will proclaim about the marvellous power of your deeds;)

6b. Ngiyakumemezela ubukhulu bakho.

(I will declare your greatness.)

7a. Bayokukhuluma ngadumo olukhu lomusa wakho

(They will talk about the great fame of your mercy,)

7b. bacule ngobulungiswa bakho.

([and] sing about your justice.)

Thus the Zulu poets' commitment to use their own indigenous features of oral art resulted in biblical texts that are perceived as being genuine Zulu poetry, rather than simply translations.

 

D PRESENCE OF THE PERFORMER

Several features of the performance served to highlight different parts of the translated (Zulu) text. The pace of delivery (of both the rhythm and the enunciation) as well as the combination of various media (song, rap, spoken word) served to highlight key themes and maintain the interest of the audience.

1 Pace of Delivery

In some cases, features of the performance served to highlight a particular verse as being in focus. In a sung version of his translation of Ps 134, the singer significantly increased the beat of the music before colon 3a. He also slowed down the pace as he sang the final words in colon 3b. These two devices gave prominence to verse 3 in the psalm, which is the key verse. The performance greatly added to the communicative effectiveness of the poem.

38

Dickie, "Zulu Song", Item 8 in Appendix lc.

2 Use of Song and Spoken Word

A performance of Ps 93 39 included both song and spoken word, with two different performers presenting their own translations in a complementary way. The use of different media keeps the attention of the audience.

Another performance of Psalm 93 brought together three different translations,40 with the three men interleaving their compositions in a dramatic reading. They tried to use body language to communicate something of the message, as well as a fast pace to capture the rhetorical force, as is typical in Zulu praise poetry. The final cola slows down to emphasise the LORD'S victory "always" (with the slow choral enunciation of njalo-njalo "always").

3 Selection of Cola and Adjustment of Words

Often, the performers adjusted the word order to better fit the musical rhythm. This is important since Zulu is a tonal language, and the musical melody and the tonal melody must be synchronised. Also, the stress of the word needs to match the beat (musical rhythm). Furthermore, the songs usually selected a number of verses or cola, rather than trying to include the entire translated poem. For example, the song from the translation below includes the items in grey. The word in bold in the translation was replaced with a synonym in the song. Only certain colas were included in the song (none from verse 3), and some elements of the translation were adjusted, e.g. 'day and night' in the translation became 'forever and ever'.

One notion is included in the song (in the second last line) which has no equivalent in the biblical psalm nor in the Zulu translation thereof.

Translation41

This example shows the loss of some content in the song. However, this was not always the case; one gifted musician was able to sing the complete psalm.42 Obviously, with practice, the transposing of a poem to a song would improve.

In another performance (one of Ps 145),43 the singer conflated the text of the first two lines of the translation and used that as a chorus, repeated several times. The translation began with the lines:

1a. Ngizokuphakamisa wena Jehova wami Nkosi,

(I will lift you up, you LORD, my king,)

1b. ngizolidumisa igama lakho njalo.

(I will praise your name forever.)

In the performance, the conflation of these two lines became:

Ngizophakamisa igama lakho

(I will lift up your name)

In another performance of Ps 145:1-2,44 the singer included all the words, with some repetition of the word njalo ("always/continually") and the addition of a "nonsense syllable" (at the end of colon 2b) to fit the melody and rhythm. Apart from these small adjustments to the translated text, the song followed the translation. It must be said that this performer, a young woman, is extremely musically talented, and converted the poem into a song within thirty minutes. The melody varied, soaring to high notes on the repetition of colon 1 a. The words were easy to remember, and the singer had the audience clicking along in unison.

The text is as follows:

1a. Ngiyakuphakamisa ubukhulu akho,

(I will lift up your greatness,)

Nkulunkulu wami oyinkosi,

(My God who is the king,)

1b. Ngiyakukubonga njalo-njalo.

(I will thank you continually.)

2a. Ngiyakukubonga onke amalanga,

(I will thank you all the days,)

2b. ngikutuse njalo-njalo.

(I praise you continually [nonsense syllable]).

Thus, the Zulu performer of a biblical text (as probably all performers) feels the liberty to adjust the given text, if necessary, to the needs of the performance. Generally, the meaning was not changed in any significant way, and usually no extraneous ideas were included. One example45 where an idea was included in the song that was not in the translation is given below. The song is based on verses 1, 3, and 4 of Ps 145. The performance text is:

Chorus

Rapper 1:

Chorus (sung) - as above, culminating with "Yeeh! !'"

(Rapper 2)

In this performance, it is clear that the order of content from the three biblical verses has been changed (verse numbers indicated on the left of each line). However, it is only colon 3c (in grey above) which seems to contain content that is not in Ρ s 145, although it can be said to reflect biblical truth.

 

Ε PRESENCE OF THE AUDIENCE

The translated items were performed first before peers, and then before an invited audience of family and friends or the church congregation at a Sunday service. The response, especially in the larger group of a church congregation, was very evident, through clapping, ululating, and the taking of videos. Before the smaller audiences of peers, there was snapping of fingers and joining in with the humming of the performers. The more relaxed environment allowed for greater freedom and participation by the audience.

Interviews with audience members revealed their sense of inclusion in the performances. For example, when asked "What did you like best about the songs?", the response was "They were just songs that you can sing along with."46The meaning of the texts was also considered to be accessible. One audience member noted: "[Most people will enjoy singing the songs] because the translation used is much easier to understand than the original translation we have."47 The performances also were clearly memorable for many audience members. Comments such as the following revealed their métonymie capacity:

"With the message they did using drums, I can even recall the scripture they used... It is not easy to forget the song."48

- "I like many ways of preaching, which involve acting, and it helps people to remember what was said and done."49

- "I think that Zulu people will like to create songs like these because it is ... a way to know the Bible. When we sing it, we remember the verses "50

Others indicated that the songs appealed to them because of their aesthetic power, either through the rhythm or the words. For example, one audience member observed: "I think people enjoyed [it]... because the song's words were catchy, because this song is created in a way that can attract teenagers. And there was also a beat; beats are always catchy, that's why I like it."51

In the church context, the performances preceded the preaching, and the preacher later commented: "Before I preached, they gave me power, because they started first and gave a strong message."52 From his perspective, the performance changed the "spiritual atmosphere" and made his work easier. Certainly, it was noticeable that most people became more alert with the start of the performances. And the performances were considered by the audience to be within the bounds of acceptability of "biblical text". As one noted, "[People will enjoy singing the songs] because of the message and it still is part of the scripture, not something we came up with."53

With the audience engaged and interested in the performances, as was clearly the case, the translation is more likely to become "something talked about and shared with friends".54 It was noted how all the young people in the audience jumped up once the performance began, and made video recordings on their phones of their peers performing. No doubt these performances would be shared with many others, and be a talking point.

Further work needs to be done in this area where the original (Hebrew) text are further transformed in performance. Zulu oral art over past centuries shows that the audience often interacts even vocally with the performer(s), thereby changing the direction of the movement of the text. It is expected that after several hearings of a text, the audience might become familiar with the theme and rhythm and add their own verses. However, it can be said from even the work done thus far, that lack of response from the audience will shut down the performer(s). Zulu audiences are attentive to indicate their enjoyment or otherwise, and the snapping of fingers to praise a clever or beautiful line is common in the performance of Zulu poetry. Conversely, the lack of response is a clear sign to the performer that his/her poem is not being received well.

 

F CONCLUSION

In the oral performance in Zulu of some biblical praise-psalms, four "presences" are evident. As the source text is biblical, it was expected that the voice of the "original author" would be apparent, although being poetry, one would not expect the Zulu translations to follow the form of the Hebrew poetry. The fact that they did, in some cases, is the result of both languages sharing certain poetic devices (such as chiasm, parallelism, assonance, and others) in their poetry. The Zulu poets showed an ability to maintain the literary and rhetorical power of the "original author" while presenting the message in a Zulu way, using rhythm and the typical style of Zulu praise poetry. Their voices were very apparent in the translations, using colourful images that speak to their situations, interpreting Hebrew words within their contemporary contexts, and adjusting the syntax to represent Zulu thought. It is hoped that translators of biblical poetry would explore ways to incorporate all the literary beauty and rhetorical power of the source text, and this study indicates that the inclusion of indigenous poets in the translation process and the application of the literary-rhetorical approach, can significantly help in this direction.

Moreover, when the poets then performed their items, they made further adaptations to fit the performance event. This included adjusting the word-order or choice of words, repeating words to fill the rhythm, selecting portions of the biblical text to have prominence, and so on. The audience also became involved in the performances, participating verbally and non-verbally, and connecting with the text in a meaningful way. Thus this study has also shown that insights from performance criticism should be borne in mind by the translator of biblical poetry. Some of the meanings of the texts can be transmitted using performance features rather than by being limited to words on a page. Also, presenting a biblical psalm through oral performance is far more engaging and memorable than using the traditional medium, and it is hoped that more communicators of the biblical message will experiment with the dynamics of performance, in light of the many benefits that it offers.

Careful translation can facilitate the voice of the original author to sing in the performed text, along with the dance movements of the translator, the innovations of the performer, and the responsiveness of the audience. All four "presences" contribute to the entire experience, and the translator of biblical poetry has all four of these voices available to him/her, to produce a new oral poem with all the lyrical beauty and dynamic persuasive power of the original text.

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Barnstone, Willis. The Poetics of Translation: History, Theory, Practice. New York: Yale Univ. Press, 1993.         [ Links ]

Brueggemann, W. and Bellinger, W.H. Psalms. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014.         [ Links ]

Cope, A. Trevor. Izibongo Zulu Praise Poems. London: Oxford University Press, 1968.         [ Links ]

Dickie, June F. "Zulu Song, Oral Art, Performing the Psalms to Stir the Heart." Ph.D thesis, University of Kwa-Zulu Natal, 2017.         [ Links ]

Foley, John M. The singer of tales in performance. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995.         [ Links ]

Hossfeld, F-L. and Zenger, E. Psalms, volume 2. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2005.         [ Links ]

Nida, Eugene A. Fascinated by Languages. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2003. https://doi.org/10.1075/z.119        [ Links ]

Soukup, Paul A. "Understanding audience understanding." Pages 91-107 in From one medium to another: communicating the Bible through multimedia. Edited by Paul A. Soukup and Robert Hodgson, Kansas City: Sheed & Ward, 1997.         [ Links ]

Wendland, Ernst R. LiFE-Style Translating. Dallas: SIL, 2006.         [ Links ]

 

 

Submitted: 12/01/2018
Peer-reviewed: 02/05/2018
Accepted: 03/05/2018

 

 

June Frances Dickie. University of KwaZulu-Natal. E-mail: iunedickie@gmail.com. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5226-5874.
1 Praise-poetry is used across Africa, but for this article, the focus is on Zulu poetry. However, much of what is said relates equally to other African languages.
2 See A. Trevor Cope, Izibongo Zulu Praise Poems (London: Oxford University Press, 1968).
3 Four workshops were held with four different church/poetry groups, each studying the same three praise-psalms.
4 For more discussion of the Literary-rhetorical method and functional equivalence in translation, see June F. Dickie, "Zulu Song, Oral Art, Performing the Psalms to Stir the Heart" (Ph.D thesis, UKZN), 2017: section 2.6.
5 Foley uses the term "arena" to refer to the physical context of a performance (John M. Foley, The singer of tales in performance [Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995]).
6 Cope, Izibongo, 77, lines 42-44.
7 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Item 19 in Appendix 1b.
8 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Item 20 in Appendix 1c.
9 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Item 6 in Appendix 1b.
10 This translation omits the notion of 'house' from the Hebrew (colon 5b). However, other translations did incorporate the semantic richness in the Hebrew term. See section 2.4.
11 The second pattern is noted by Walter Brueggemann and William H. Bellinger, Psalms (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014), 560.
12 Support for this notion of v.3 being the "peak" of the psalm comes from the following (X, 130): a significant shift of subject to YHWH (doing the blessing), an attributive phrase appositional to YHWH, a key term ('Zion'), a formula ('heaven and earth') and the use of a jussive (after four imperative verbs).
13 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Item 2 in Appendix 1a.
14 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Item 10 in Appendix 1a.
15 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Item 12 in Appendix 1b.
16 F-L. Hossfeld and E. Zenger, Psalms, vol. 2 (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2005), 449. It links back also to the threatening waters before order was first instituted in the Creation, with the separating of the land from the sea (Gen 1:6).
17 Cf. Isa. 57:20; Jer. 49:23.
18 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Item 12 in Appendix lb.
19 See Dickie, "Zulu Song", 76. At that stage, I referred to sound rhythm, poetic rhythm, and musical rhythm, but this paper distinguishes three elements of "poetic rhythm". The four components linked to literary features together comprise "literary rhythm".
20 DO = direct object marker.
21 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Item 21 in Appendix la.
22 The Zulu example shows two imperatives (in la and 2a) and two hortatives (in 2c and 2d). However, a hortative following an imperative has imperative force. The subjunctive in 3a is repeated in 3b for the purposes of rhythm, using parallelism.
23 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Item 21 in Appendix 1a.
24 Barnstone quotes the way the Chinese describe the method of the great Tang poets, viz. working imaginatively while being bound by strictures (Willis Barnstone, The Poetics of Translation: History, Theory, Practice [New York: Yale Univ. Press, 1993], 270).
25 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Item 17 in Appendix la.
26 See Paul A. Soukup, "Understanding audience understanding" in From one medium to another: communicating the Bible through multimedia (eds. Paul A. Soukup and Robert Hodgson; Kansas City: Sheed & Ward, 1997), 103-107.
27 Dickie, "Zulu Song" Item 6 in Appendix 1b.
28 28 Uyingonyama is used as a praise name for the Zulu chief, referring to a special lion, one that is majestic.
29 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Item 23 in Appendix lb.
30 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Item 23 in Appendix lb.
31 Although ninike (2b) and nimubusise (2c) are subjunctives, they carry imperative force as they follow an imperative in 2a (not shown).
32 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Item 19 in Appendix lb.
33 Eugene A. Nida, Fascinated by Languages (Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2003), 82.
34 See section 2.4.
35 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Item 3 in Appendix la.
36 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Item 21 in Appendix la.
37 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Item 17 in Appendix la.
38 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Item 8 in Appendix lc.
39 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Items 28 and 29 in Appendix 1b.
40 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Items 27, 30, and 31 in Appendix 1b.
41 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Item 3 in Appendix la.
42 See for example, Dickie, "Zulu Song", Item 22 in Appendix la and Item 32 in Appendix lc.
43 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Item 8 in Appendix lc.
44 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Item 32 in Appendix 1c.
45 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Song 52 in Appendix 1c.
46 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Interview 9 in Appendix 2c.
47 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Interview 5 in Appendix 2c.
48 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Interview 1 in Appendix 2c.
49 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Interview 3 in Appendix 2c.
50 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Interview 9 in Appendix 2c.
51 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Interview 9 in Appendix 2c.
52 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Interview 3 in Appendix 2c.
53 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Interview 6 in Appendix 2c.
54 Paul A. Soukup, "Understanding audience understanding" in From one medium to another: communicating the Bible through multimedia (ed. Paul A. Soukup and Robert Hodgson; Kansas City: Sheed & Ward, 1997), 106.

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46 Craig S. Keener, Spirit Hermeneutics: Reading Scripture in the Light of Pentecost (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2016), 104.
47 Willem J. Wessels, "Skrifgebruik en Samelewing: Die Apostoliese Geloofsending van Suid-Afrika", In die Skriflig 26.3 (1992): 374, referring to the period from 1913 to 1943 in the AFM of SA.
48 Kenneth J. Archer, A Pentecostal Hermeneutic: Spirit, Scripture and Community (Cleveland: CPT, 2009), 65.
49 Archer, Pentecostal Hermeneutic, 66.
50 Lee Roy Martin, "Introduction to Pentecostal Biblical Hermeneutics," in Pentecostal Hermeneutics: A Reader (ed. Lee Roy Martin; Leiden: Brill, 2013), 3; Donald A. Carson, ExegeticalFallacies (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1984), 127.
51 Archer, Pentecostal Hermeneutic, 102.
52 Russell J. Spittler, "Scripture and the Theological Enterprise: A View from the Big Canoe," in The Use of the Bible (ed. Robert K. Johnston; Atlanta: John Knox, 1985), 75-77.
53 John W. McKay, "When the Veil is Taken Away: The Impact of Prophetic Experience on Biblical Interpretation," in Pentecostal Hermeneutics: A Reader (ed. Lee Roy Martin; Leiden: Brill, 2013), 63.
54 Wessels, "Skrifgebruik en Samelewing," 375.
55 Jean-Daniel Pluess, "Azusa and Other Myths: The Long and Winding Road from Experience to Stated Belief and Back Again," Pneuma 15.2 (1993): 191; Scott A. Ellington, "Pentecostalism and the Authority of Scriptures," Journal of Pentecostal Theology 4/9 (1996):26.
56 Ellington, "Pentecostalism and the Authority of Scriptures," i-viii.
57 Daniel E. Albrecht and Evan B. Howard, "Pentecostal Spirituality," in The Cambridge Companion to Pentecostalism (ed. Cecil M. Robeck and Amos Young; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014), 246-7.
58 William Menzies, "The Methodology of Pentecostal Theology: An Essay on Hermeneutics", in Essays on Apostolic Themes (ed. P. Elbert; Peabody: Hendrickson, 1985), 15; Daniel Tomberlin, Pentecostal Sacraments: Encountering God at the Altar (Cleveland: Center for Pentecostal Leadership and Care, 2010), 35-53.
59 Archer, A Pentecostal Hermeneutic, 137.
60 Paul W. Lewis, "Reflections of a hundred years of Pentecostal theology," Cyberjournal for Pentecostal-Charismatic Research 12 (January 2003), 8. Presented at the 9 Annual William Menzies Lectureship in January, 2001, at Asia Pacific Theological Seminary in Baguio, Philippines, 1-25. http://www.pctii.org/cvberi/cvberi12/lewis.htm#ftnl.
61 Ellington, "Pentecostalism and the Authority of Scriptures," 17.
62 Wessels, "Skrifgebruik en samelewing", 376.
63 D. D. Daniels, "North American Pentecostalism" in The Cambridge companion to Pentecostalism, pp. 89-108, (edited by Cecil M. Robeck and Amos Yong, Cambridge University Press, New York, 2014), 97.
64 Robeck, "National Association of Evangelicals," 634-636.; cf. website of ΝΑΕ, http://nae.net/about-nae/history/.
65 Ellington, "Pentecostalism and the Authority of Scriptures," 151.
66 William W. Menzies and Robert P. Menzies, Spirit and Power: Foundations of Pentecostal Experience (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2000), 495.
67 Wessels, "Skrifgebruik en Samelewing", 382. Wessels describes this era in the AFM as the period since 1944.
68 William L. Oliverio, "Introduction: Pentecostal Hermeneutics and the Hermeneutical Tradition," in Constructive Pneumatological Hermeneutics in Pentecostal Christianity (ed. Kenneth J. Archer and L. William Oliverio; New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), 3.
69 Mathew Clark, "Contemporary Pentecostal Leadership: The Apostolic Faith Mission of South Africa as Case Study," AJPS 10/1 (2007): 42-61, Online: http://www.apts.edu/aeimages//File/07-1MathewClark.pdf
70 William L. Oliverio, Theological Hermeneutics in the Classical Pentecostal Tradition: A Typological Account (Leiden: Brill, 2012), 85.
71 Nancy T. Ammerman, "North-American Protestant fundamentalism," in Media, Culture, and the Religious Right (ed. Linda Kintz and Julia Lesage, 55-113; Minneapolis: University of Minneapolis Press, 1998), 61; Kenneth J. Archer, "Spirited Conversation about Hermeneutics: A Pentecostal Hermeneut's Response to Craig Keener's," Spirit Hermeneutics" Pneuma 39 (2017): 179-1186.
72 Christian Smith, The Bible made impossible: Why Biblicism is not a Truly Evangelical Reading of Scripture (Grand Rapids: Brazos, 2011), 4-5.
73 Flood, Disarming Scripture, 26.
74 Joel Shuman, "Pentecost and the End of Patriotism: A Call for the Restoration of Pacifism among Pentecostal Christians,'" Journal for Pentecostal Theology 9 (1996): 96.
75 Jonathan Sacks, Not in God's Name: Confronting Religious Violence (New York: Schocken, 2015), 207; Bradley Truman Noel, Pentecostal and Postmodern Hermeneutics: Comparisons and Contemporary Impact (Eugene, OR: WIPF & STOCK, 2010), 13, 74.
76 Harvey Cox, How to read the Bible (New York: HarperCollins, 2015), 177.
77 Scheffler, "War and Violence in the Old Testament World," 15.
78 Harry A. Hoffner, "Symbols for Masculinity and Femininity: Their Use in Ancient Near Eastern Sympathetic Magic Rituals," Journal of Biblical Literature 85.3(1966):327.
79 H. C. Washington, "Violence and the Construction of Gender in the Hebrew Bible: A New Historicist Approach," Biblical Interpretation 5.4 (1997): 331.
80 Washington, "Violence and the Construction", 344.
81 Lynn A. Higgins and Brenda A. Silver, "Introduction: Rereading Rape," in Rape and Representation (ed. Lynn A. Higgins and Brenda A. Silver; New York: Columbia University Press, 1991), 2. (Gender and Culture).
82 Cf. Hagar (Gen 16:3-4), Dinah (Gen 34:2), the Midianite young women (Num 31:18), the Levite's wife (Judg 19:25), the young women of Jabesh-Gilead and Shiloh (Judg 21:12-14, 19-23), Rizpah (2 Sam 3:7), Bathsheba (2 Sam 11:2-4), Tamar (2 Sam 13:11-15), and David's wives (2 Sam 16:21-22) where sexual assault and coercion are considered commonplace, demonstrating the so-called "rape laws" of Deuteronomy 22:23-29. These laws do not in fact prohibit rape; they institutionalise it and confirm men's control of women. Rather than "rape laws", the rules of Deuteronomy 22:23-29 are best classified as a subset of the general law of adultery preceding them in Deuteronomy 22:22. The Deuteronomist laws clearly intend to protect a patriarchal household against the theft of a marriageable woman without the paying of a bride price. It does not prohibit sexual violence but rather stipulates the terms under which a man may commit rape, provided he pays reparation to the offended male party. Rape is also a prominent figurative device in the Hebrew Bible, especially in the metaphorical depiction of the conquered city as a raped woman and of the punishing God as a vengeful rapist. One instance is Jeremiah 13:20-27 that envisions the Babylonian attack on Jerusalem as a divine rape (Washington, "Violence and the Construction", 354-355).
Marius Nel, Research Chair, Ecumenism: Pentecostalism and neo-pentecostalism, Unit for Reformed Theology, North-West University. PO Box 19659, Noordbrug. 2522; 015 299-1591; 083 454-9126; marius.nel@nwu.ac.za. ORCID ID : https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0304-580.

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BOOK REVIEWS

 

Book Reviews

 

Boekresensies

 

 

James, Joshua T. 2017. The Storied Ethics of the Thanksgiving Psalms (Library of Hebrew Bible I Old Testament Studies 658). London - New York, NY: Bloomsbury T&T Clark. 161 Pages. Hardcover. ISBN 978-05676-7521-7.

Bei der vorliegenden Studie handelt es sich um eine unter der Leitung von John Goldingay geschriebene Dissertation, mit der J.T. James (J.) am Fuller Theological Seminary (Pasadena, CA, USA) promoviert wurde (PhD).

Sie enthält fünf Kapitel: Zunächst wird das Lesen von (Dank-)Psalmen unter ethischer Perspektive vorgestellt. Solche Sichtweisen sind in der jüngeren Zeit auf zunehmendes Interesse gestossen (vgl. u.a. Publikationen von G. Wenham). Einen diesbezüglich noch unterentwickelten Aspekt greift vorliegende Monographie auf, nämlich 'the ethical value of story and storytelling in Israel's thanksgiving psalms' (3) Die im Buch entwickelte These lautet, ,that the storied retellings of the worshipper's (and/or community's) experience of divine deliverance in the thanksgiving psalms greatly contribute to the ethical framework or ethos of the ancient Israelite worshipping community' (4). Dazu werden drei Dankpsalmen (116; 118; 138) ausgewählt und unter zwei Fragerichtungen bearbeitet: 1. Aufweiche Weise wird durch das Erzählen der Erfahrung göttlicher Rettung ('story') die Hörerschaft ethisch geformt und umgestaltet? 2. Welches ethische Modell wird durch das öffentliche Bezeugen ('storytelling') in Hinsicht auf das Hören und teilweise Partizipieren der Gottesdienstgemeinschaft präfiguriert? J. grenzt sich dabei von einem panethischen Ansatz ab, insofern er nicht der Meinung ist, dass jede gute Liturgie ethische Implikationen mit sich führt: ,Good liturgy does not necessarily create or form good people.' (7) Im zweiten Kapitel wird der in der Theologie entwickelte narrative ethical approach' näher vorgestellt (u.a. A. Maclntyre, S. Hauerwas). Es handelt sich weniger um eine neue (exegetische) Methodik als um den Einbezug einer bestimmten Sichtweise: der Wahrnehmung der in den Texten liegenden Möglichkeit, die Zuhörerschaft wertemässig zu prägen. Anders als bei direkt adressierten Geboten, Verboten und Aufforderungen ist von einer impliziten, indirekten, aber möglicherweise ebenso wirkungsvollen ethischen Adressierung und Beeinflussung die Rede. In einen derartigen, narrativ-ethischen Ansatz wurden nicht-narrative Texte wie die der Psalmen bisher kaum einbezogen; sie finden erst seit kurzem Beachtung (vgl. C.J.H. Wright, P. McMillon). Das Gesagte wird beispielhaft am Toda-Psalm 30 dargestellt: Mit seinem Rettungszeugnis lädt der Beter die Gemeinschaft ein, ihr Leben als ein Leben der Dankbarkeit und des Lobpreises zu gestalten, im Sinn von: 'what happened to me, it could happen to you too' (25). Die in der Toda-Gattung inhärenten Betonungen von Spiritualität und gottesdienstlicher Anbetung ('worship') sind Parameter der ethischen (Trans-)Formierung der hörenden und mitbeteiligten Gemeinschaft und haben einen didaktischen Impetus.

In den Kapiteln 3-5, dem Hauptteil des Buches, wird je einer der drei genannten Psalmen unter dem vorgestellten Gesichtspunkt behandelt. J. bietet jeweils den übersetzten Psalmtext dar, behandelt kurz textkritische und linguistische Phänomene und äussert sich danach zu Struktur und Gattung des Psalms. Der Hauptteil besteht in der Interpretation des jeweiligen Psalms entlang seiner Abschnitte, unter besonderer Herausstellung der ethischen Implikationen, die am Schluss zusammengefasst werden. Für die Inhalte im Einzelnen ist auf die Ausführungen zu verweisen. Was Ps 116 betrifft, sieht J. eine Reihe wichtiger Aspekte des Ethos der altisraelitischen Gottesdienstgemeinschaft expliziert: prayer, sacrifice, thanksgiving, love/commitment, trust, hopefulness, expectancy, and gratitude' (74). In Ps 118 zeigt sich, dass die berichteten Erfahrungen didaktische, ja exemplarische Momente beinhalten; der Psalm bietet an ethos of possibility' (116), welches das Erlösungswerk JHWHs als anhaltend, weitergehend verstehen lässt. Ps 138 hat gegenüber den andern beiden Psalmen einen universalen Horizont. Yahweh's involvement in the life of this individual should become a paradigm for what might be, and as such, it should lead to an expectation of similar redemptive activity in diverse situations. Their story should lead to hope.' (142). Eine kurze Zusammenfassung beschliesst den Band. Beigegeben sind Bibliographie und zwei Indices (Stellen, Autoren).

Die vorliegende Studie zur Betrachtung der Psalmen unter einer (verstärkt) ethischen' Leseperspektive ist zu begrüssen und fügt sich gut ein in neuere und neuste Beiträge diesbezüglicher Psalmenforschung. Mit ihrem textpragmatischen Akzent erweist sie sich zudem als relevant im Blick auf die Neuverwendung der Psalmen in Glaubensgemeinschaften und für das persönliche Glaubensleben bis heute. Neben der weisheitlich-didaktisch geprägten Buchgestalt mit ihrer Tora-Struktur (Ps 1, Fünfteilung) sind die Toda-bzw. Thanksgiving-Psalmen, die über die formularische Wiederverwendung hinaus (die freilich für die allermeisten Psalmen gelten dürfte) für eine (verstärkt) ethische' Betrachtungsweise gleichsam disponiert. Ein wesentlicher Grund liegt in der dieser Gattung eigenen vertikal-horizontalen Doppeladressierung an Gott (Lobdank) wie an die teilnehmende Gemeinschaft (Bezeugung, Aufrufe etc.). J. gibt in den Einleitungskapiteln hilfreiche Hinweise und Einsichten und trägt bei der Auslegung der drei Psalmen viele gute Beobachtungen zusammen. Allerdings leidet die Arbeit an gewissen Unklarheiten und methodischen Mängeln. Ich greife drei Aspekte heraus:

1. Terminologie: Ob die Verwendung des Begriff Ethik' (und Ethos') für den gemeinten Sachverhalt glücklich ist, ist diskutierbar. Die Übertragung von Begrifflichkeit des Hautgenres Erzählung' (narrative, story, storytelling, narrative ethics etc.) in die (Psalmen-)Poesie ist jedenfalls unglücklich. Damit wird eine lineare' Wahrnehmung übergewichtet und der Rede-Charakter (in den Psalmen wird berichtet', nicht erzählt') zu wenig wahrgenommen. (Psalmen-Poesie funktioniert' anders als Narration. Entsprechend sind angepasste Verstehensparameter im Rahmen eines poetic ethical approach' zu skizzieren.

2. Gattung und Setting: J. verwendet den Gattungsbegriff thanksgiving psalms' (deutsch: Danklied [eines Einzelnen]', hebräisch: tôdâ). Auch wenn zu enge Gattungsdefinitionen nicht hilfreich sind, so ist gerade bei dieser Gattung ein (ritueller) Geschehensablauf recht gut zu erkennen und der Ort der Psalmaufführung darin: Die Bezeugung von erfahrener individueller Gottesrettung samt Dank an Gott im Dabeisein einer Gemeinschaft, die sich aus Freunden, Vertrauten und Dazugekommenen zusammensetzt. Es geht um die persönliche Erfahrung (kleine Rettung'), nicht um diejenige des gesamten Gottesvolks (grosse Rettung'). Entsprechend ist auch nicht die Volksgemeinde zugegen, vielmehr handelt es sich um eine Art familären Kleingottesdienst' (die Gattung eines [kollektiven] Danklieds Israels' ist strittig und die Abgrenzung zum Hymnus unklar). Bei J. ist die Gattung s Verwendung nicht hinreichend klar, insbesondere was die worshipping community' betrifft. Ist hier die Kleingemeinschaft der Gattung im Blick oder bereits ganz Israel (und die Kirche)? Ist die Gattungsperspektive verlassen und der Psalm als literarischer, in das Buch eingebetteter Text Ausgangspunkt? Die Vermischung' zeigt sich auch in der vorgenommenen Auwahl der Psalmen. Neben dem klassischen' Ps 30 als Beispiel und Ps 116 ist die Wahl von Ps 118 und 138 weniger glücklich. Denn die Gattung ist in diesen vermischten' Psalmen teils aufgelöst, kollektive und/oder königliche Sprechende werden einbezogen und das Toda-Setting ist aufgesprengt. Warum sind nicht unstrittige Toda-Psalmen gewählt wurden? Weshalb sind alle drei Psalmen aus dem (späten) Teilbuch V entnommen? Bei lediglich drei Psalmen, davon zwei mit diskutabler Gattungszuordnung ist eine storied ethics of the thanksgiving psalms' nicht hinreichend gewährleistet.

3. Ethik und Textpragmatik: Auch wenn das Wort von J. vermieden wird, tritt bei (s)einer ethischen Betrachtungsweise die textpragmatische Zugangsweise und Methodik in den Vordergrund. Gerade im Blick auf ethische' Momente wäre es angezeigt gewesen, die Reden in den Toda-Psalmen kommunikativ zu bestimmen (Sprechakte, Adressierungen etc.). Damit Hessen sich über die Rettungsberichte hinaus hilfreiche Differenzierungen und eine Profilierung ethischer' Momente gewinnen. So sind z.B. die Rettungsberichte in Ps 30 an Gott gerichtet (Gebet), in Ps 116 hingegen sind diese weithin Teil einer Er-Rede, also Zeugnis gegenüber den Anwesenden, allerdings gibt es solche auch in kurzen, eingelegten Gebeten (V. 8.16). In Ps 30 wird an die Anwesenden direkt appelliert; sie werden zum Mitfeiern aufgerufen und daraufhin wird ihnen eine Belehrung mitgegeben (V. 5f). In Ps 116 fehlen Aufrufe an die Mitfeiernden, dafür werden - eher ungewöhnlich - zwei kurze Selbstreden (V. lOf.) kundgetan. Was ergibt sich aus diesem Befund im Blick auf eine ethische (Trans-)Formierung der partizipierenden Gemeinschaft?

Insgesamt eine interessante Studie zu einem interessanten Thema mit vielen guten Einsichten, aber fehlender methodischer Klarheit, die der Studie gut getan hätte.

Beat Weber, Lecturer in Old Testament at Theologisches Seminar Bienenberg (Liestal), Switzerland & Research Associate of the Department of Ancient Languages and Cultures, University of Pretoria, South Africa. E-mail: weber-1ehnherr@sunrise.ch. DOI: https://doi.org/10.17159/2312-3621/2018/v31n2a310.

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BOOK REVIEWS

 

 

John Goldingay. Reading Jesus's Bible: How the New Testament Helps Us Understand the Old Testament. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2017. 262 pages, soft cover, $ 24.00. ISBN 978-0-8028-7364-4.

In chapter 1 ('Introduction' of the book under discussion), Goldingay states his basic conviction that both the Old and New Testaments are essential for understanding each other: '... we learn to read the OT by reading backwards from the Gospels, and - at the same time - we learn how to read the Gospels by reading forwards from the OT' (p. 1). Goldingay then points out that the term Old Testament does not occur in the New Testament, which rather refers simply to the 'Scriptures'. Since 'Old' can be understood (and often is) in the sense of something that is past and completed, Goldingay prefers to use the term 'First Testament' (p. 2).

Goldingay mainly concentrates on the Gospel according to Matthew, where he finds his framework for reading the First Testament in light of the New Testament. From Matthew he derives five ways of reading the First Testament (p. 3): (1) Jesus is the climax of the story that the First Testament is telling; (2) Jesus is the fulfillment of the promises made in the First Testament; (3) The images, ideas and words of the First Testament help us to understand Jesus; (4) The First Testament shows the nature of a relationship with God, which is then lived and taught by Jesus; and (5) The moral teaching of Jesus has its foundation in the First Testament.

The book then follows and elaborates on each of these five reading directives in chapters 2 through to chapter 6. Each chapter starts with one or more texts from Matthew, proceeds to other passages in the New Testament, and then turns to the Old (First) Testament. Each chapter then closes with some questions for discussion. These questions set out to summarise the main points of the respective chapter to suggest relevance to the reader's own congregational or spiritual life.

Chapter 2 ('Story') speaks about the story tahat begins in the First Testament and finally finds its climax in Jesus (pp. 5-60). Goldingay argues that neither of the two Testaments begins with teaching doctrines about God or the spiritual life of believers. Rather, they open by telling a story about what God has done. This then leads naturally to more concrete teachings. The story, which the New Testament tells at its beginning, is linked to the First Testament story (p. 5). Together, the First and the New Testaments can be understood as 'Act One' and 'Act Two' of 'the Bible's drama' (p. 8). Goldingay argues that the biblical writers are referring to 'historical events'. However, they select, order and rewrite these historical stories in such a way as to communicate their theological perspectives of these stories. When reading these texts, it is therefore vital to not 'let one interest exclude the other' (p. 10). They must be understood as 'narratives based on facts, but incorporating divinely inspired reflection and divinely inspired imagination' (p. 12).

Goldingay then asks how this helps to understand the First Testament 'in its own right' (p. 39). The First Testament presents many different stories, but they must all be understood as parts of one larger story, a 'narrative arc', that 'runs through Genesis - 2Kings as a whole' (p. 40) and then continues in Chronicles to Ezra-Nehemiah. Goldingay understands this second part of the story as 'an alternative version of the story from Genesis - Kings' (p. 52). It 'tells the story of how steps were taken to put things right' (p. 55).

Chapter 3 ('Promises') speaks about the promises made in the First Testament which find their fulfillment in Jesus (pp. 61-103). When the New Testament declares that a special promise is fulfilled in Jesus, this is not primarily meant to prove the truth of the First Testament. The main point of the New Testament is to show how to understand Jesus and how to understand the First Testament as well (p. 63). This means that the prophets are a 'resource' for us 'in understanding who Jesus is' and Jesus helps us to understand the prophets (p. 66). Goldingay argues that we must therefore understand the prophets in both ways: 'in light of their meaning in their context' and 'in light of the way Jesus confirms them and fills out their significance' (p. 74). We cannot anticipate many of the central aspects of Jesus (e.g. his suffering, death and resurrection after three days, his being born from a virgin or living in Nazareth) from the Prophets alone. However, after these things have happened, we can find passages in the First Testament that help us to understand them (p. 77). Goldingay speaks about an 'interpretive process' that 'works backward' (p. 79). After these arguments from the New Testament, Goldingay then considers the Prophets in themselves (pp. 96-103), showing how these texts can be understood in light of the New Testament.

Chapter 4 ('Ideas') speaks about the ideas, images and words of the First Testament which help us to understand Jesus (pp. 104-169). Goldingay considers many words and images used in the New Testament and shows their biblical background in the First Testament. In so doing, he demonstrates how important the understanding of the First Testament is for understanding the New Testament. This is true for the entire New Testament, but especially the book of Revelation, where there is 'hardly a verse without an allusion' to the First Testament (p. 153).

Goldingay then turns to 'The Theology of the First Testament in the New Testament' (pp. 158-169). Again, he shows the lines running from the First to the New Testament. He discusses the themes of 'God' (pp. 159-160), 'The World' (pp. 160-162), 'Humanity' (pp. 162-163), 'Israel' (pp. 163-165), 'The Nations' (pp. 165-166) and 'The Future' (pp. 166-168). This discussion can, of course, be only rather brief, but succeeds in demonstrating how the First and the New Testament can indeed be understood as two parts of one Bible.

Chapter 5 ('Relationship') turns to the 'nature of a relationship with God' (pp. 170-207). Goldingay starts by analysing the story of Jesus' temptation in Matthew 4:1-11. He argues that: 'The story implies that people reading the Gospel need also to acquire a knowledge of the Torah good enough to enable them to evaluate suggestions from demonic agencies, whether or not well disguised' (p. 174). He applies the hermeneutical principles inherent in this story to the reading of the First Testament (pp. 171-172). Then, he turns to the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5:1-16) and again applies his findings to the First Testament (pp. 176-184). Then he discusses texts in Ephesians, Revelation and Hebrews that speak about the relationship with God (pp. 184190) and finally turns to the 'dynamics of life with God in the First Testament itself (pp. 191-207).

In chapter 6 ('Life') Goldingay looks at the moral teachings of Jesus and how the First Testament provides the foundation of these teachings (pp. 208247). According to him, Jesus is 'fulfilling' or 'filling out' the First Testament: 'What Jesus does is fill out or spell out the implications of the Torah and the Prophets' (p. 210) in the same way as the prophets themselves did with the Torah (p. 215). After discussing different passages and topics, he then turns to 'The First Testament's Ethics in Its Own Right' (pp. 217-247). As in chapter 4, this can also only be a brief survey. It serves to extend his argument of the unity of both Testaments, and how the understanding of the New Testament helps one to understand the First Testament.

Chapter 7 ('Conclusions') is - as was chapter 1 -very short (pp. 248-250). Goldingay summarises the five topics he discussed, showing the interdependency and unity of the First and the New Testaments. He then concludes that: 'In light of the importance the New Testament attaches to the First Testament, it is odd that the church does not read it much' (p. 249). His admonition at the very end of the book is therefore: 'Yes, take up and read' (250).

Goldingay makes a strong point to demonstrate the value that a comprehensive understanding of the Old Testament has for our understanding of the New Testament, and vice versa. The diversity and breadth of the biblical passages and topics discussed constitute a major strength of the book. Many exegetical insights are made, which demonstrate the connectedness of Old (First) and New Testaments. The comprehensive scripture index at the back of the book is therefore very helpful. However, the diversity of biblical passages is also, at the same time, partly a weakness. It is sometimes difficult to follow the thread of the argument because of the extent of various passages dealt with. Furthermore, it also tends towards repetition.

It seems that Goldingay sets out to cover all passages, words and subjects related to his topic. This again can be very helpful, especially with the index of subjects at the end of the book. However, it is also clear that the presentation cannot proceed at the same time with sufficient depth. Goldingay therefore frequently refers to his Old (First) Testament Theology for further studies.

A final remark: It is not very clear for whom this book is designed. On the one hand it presumes a reader with some previous theological knowledge, but for an academic audience, references to the Greek and Hebrew words are missing as well as interaction with other theological positions. The church layperson, on the other hand, may find many interesting ideas in the book, but may be overwhelmed by the quantity of textual references, concepts and ideas discussed. A thorough understanding of Old and New Testament history is also necessary in order to fully understand all arguments.

Nevertheless, the book appears to fill an important gap in Old and New Testament studies. Unlike the usual procedure, it does not argue from the Old to the New Testament, but starts with the New Testament instead, looking back at the Old. In so doing, it offers some quite new and stimulating insights and helps to understand and defend the unity of the one Bible. Therefore, one can truly say with Goldingay: 'Yes, take up and read'.

Prof Dr Hans-Georg Wünch, Lecturer and Academic Dean at the Theologisches Seminar Rheinland, Raiffeisenstr. 2, D-57635 Wölmersen, Germany; Professor extraordinarius at the Department of Biblical and Ancient Studies, University of South Africa (Pretoria), E-Mail: Hans-Georg.Wuench@tsr.de. DOI: https://doi.org/10.17159/2312-3621/2018/v31n2a310.

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BOOK REVIEWS

 

 

Mirjam Zimmermann, Ruben Zimmermann (Hrsg.), Handbuch der Bibeldidaktik. UTB (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2013). Xviii + 748 S., kartoniert. ISBN 978-3-8252-3996-1. 40 Euro

This extensive handbook provides a fine survey of the current insights and debates in Bible-related-didactics in different German contexts. Some of the essays are particular to this context, while others will also apply elsewhere, including an undergraduate university setting. The question behind the volume is this: 'Wie kann dieser Text, der in ferner Vergangenheit entstanden ist, für Menschen im 21. Jahrhundert, besonders für Schülerinnen und Schüler, noch heute zugänglich werden, Sinn stiften und vielleicht sogar mehr Bedeutung bekommen als gute Literatur?' (vii). Regarding the purpose of the volume, the editors (Mirjam Zimmermann, a specialist in teaching the Bible at the University of Siegen, Ruben a New Testament scholar at the University of Mainz, Germany) note:

Das vorliegende Handbuch möchte für die Chancen einer Bibeldidaktik werben und empfangt Rückenwind durch neue Impulse der Fachdisziplinen, wie etwa der 'Kinderexegese' oder der 'narratologischen Figurenanalyse', um nur zwei Beispiele zu nennen. Es stellt insofern exegetisch-hermeneutische sowie didaktisch-methodische Neuansätze vor, möchte aber zugleich traditionelle Wissensbestände der Bibelwissenschaft und Bibeldidaktik und klassische Zugänge und Methoden aufnehmen, die zu kennen immer noch hilfreich und nützlich ist. Die Artikel können auf diese Weise umfassend informieren und zugleich motivieren, mit der Bibel pädagogisch zu arbeiten (Preface, vii).

The editors introduce the subject and the volume with its different parts ('Bibeldidaktik - eine Hinführung und Leseanleitung', 1-21). Bibeldidaktik is defined as processes of teaching and learning with the Bible.

Wer die Bibel zur Hand nimmt und liest, wird ein Lernender werden. Er oder sie wird mit Fremdheit, Widersprüchen und Unverständnis konfrontiert, entdeckt längst Bekanntes und Vertrautes wieder, folgt zögerlich oder neugierig den Spuren einer eigenen Sprach- und Denkwelt des Gottesglaubens, wird in seiner individuellen Existenz- und Weltsicht angesprochen und herausgefordert, kurzum: Er oder sie wird in einen Prozess des Verstehens und Missverstehens, der Ermutigung und Veränderung oder eben mit anderen Worten: in einen Prozess des Lernens hineingezogen.

Die Bibel war und ist immer schon ein 'didaktisches Buch': Sei es, dass in ganz materialer Hinsicht die Bibel als Lehrbuch und Lesefibel verwendet wurde, sei es, dass die Bibel mit ihren Geschichten und Gestalten zur kollektiven Lehrmeisterin wurde und prägende Spuren in der abendländischen Kulturgeschichte hinterlassen hat, sei es, dass Menschen in ihrer individuellen Suche nach Sinn und Orientierung bis heute in der Bibel Antworten finden, die Bibel somit zum Lernbegleiter wird, mit dem 'zu leben' gelernt werden kann (1).

The introductory essay also reflects on teaching and learning the Bible (the Bible as an object of education), on teaching and learning with the Bible (the Bible as a medium of teaching), on teaching and learning through the Bible (the Bible as a catalyst for comprehensive learning) and on the aspects of teaching the Bible. Each article starts with an introduction that describes the relevance of the subject for teaching the Bible. This is followed by presentations of aspects from the history of research and the current scholarly debates. These sections lead to didactical-methodological issues and concrete suggestions for application. Each articles also contains suggestions for further reading.

The volume consists of seven parts. Part one focuses on the history of the origin and reception of the Bible. It contains the following essays: Georg Plasger, 'Bibel: Entstehung, Überlieferung, Kanonisierung' (25-30); Michaela Bauks, 'Die Welt des Orients' (30-37); Susanne Luther, 'Politische Geschichte und religiöser Kontext in griechisch-römischer Zeit' (38-46); Wolfgang Zwickel, 'Biblische Archäologie' (47-51); Susanne Luther, 'Neutestamentliche Sozial-und Kulturgeschichte der Umwelt Jesu und der frühchristlichen Gemeinden' (51-58); Michael Tilly, 'Opfer, Kult und Fest im Judentum' (58-64); Katja Soennecken, Dieter Vieweger, 'Jerusalem' (64-70); Michael Landgraf, 'Die Bibel als Lehrbuch' (71-76), Peter Kristen, 'Moderne deutsche Bibelübersetzungen' (76-82) and Michael Landgraf, 'Bibelausgaben damals und heute' (82-87).

Part two offers quite a mixed survey of the content of the Bible that is considered to be important and presented in schools in German speaking Europe. The following texts and themes are described (we focus on contribution on the Old Testament or themes appearing in both Testaments: Sabine Pemsel-Maier, 'Der Kanon im Kanon' (91-99, what are the most important passages/books of the Bible, what are the criteria used to determine them? This is where the focus should be in teaching the Bible); Georg Plasger, 'Gott' (99-106); Martin Rothgangel, 'Schöpfung' (106-113); Christina Kalloch, 'Der Turmbau zu Babel' (113-116); Georg Plasger, 'Erwählung und Bund' (117-120); Bernd Schröder, 'Der Dekalog' (120-126); Ann-Cathrin Fiß, Gudrun Neebe, 'Prophetie' (127-133); Christoph Gramzow, 'Ijob/Hiob und die Frage nach dem Leid' (133-137); Ingo Baldermann, 'Psalmen' (138-144); Ruben Zimmermann, 'Liebe und Sexualität' (145-148); ... Marco Hofheinz, 'Sünde' (218-222); Johannes Woyke, 'Gerechtigkeit Gottes/Rechtfertigung des Menschen' (222227); Mirjam Zimmermann, Ruben Zimmermann, 'Ethik' (228-234); ... Marco Hofheinz, 'Kirche/Volk Gottes' (243-247); Peter Müller, 'Kinder in der Bibel' (247-250); ... and Manfred L. Pirner, 'Eschatologie/Reich Gottes' (259-263).

Part three presents a number of biblical figures. From the Old Testament the following are chosen after a short introduction by Hans Mendl ('Lernen an biblischen Personen, 267-271): Christfried Böttrich, 'Adam und Eva' (271275); Martina Steinkühler, 'Kain und Abel' (275-279); Martina Steinkühler, 'Noach' (280-283); Dorothea Erbele-Küster, 'Abraham und Sara' (283-289); Thomas Naumann, 'Isaak und Rebekka' (289-292); Thomas Naumann, 'Ismael und Hagar' (293-296); Gabriele Theuer, 'Jakob und Rahel' (296-300); Isa Breitmaier, 'Mose und Mirjam' (300-304); Friedhelm Kraft, 'Josef (305-311); Heimich Krauss, 'David' (312-317); Ruth Sauerwein, 'Elija und Elischa' (318- 322); Isa Breitmaier, 'Arnos' (322-327) and Frauke Büchner, 'Ruf (327-330).

Part four presents various concepts and approaches to teaching the Bible. These are Rainer Lachmann, 'Die Entwicklung der Bibeldidaktik von 1900 bis zum problemorientierten Religionsunterricht' (375-381); Michael Meyer-Blanck, 'Hermeneutik und Bibeldidaktik' (382-387); Gabriele Klappenecker, 'Problemorientierung und Bibeldidaktik' (387-392); Ingo Baldermann, 'Existenzielle Bibeldidaktik' (392-398); Jürgen Heumann, 'Bibeldidaktik als Symboldidaktik' (398-403); Hans Mendl, 'Korrelation und Bibeldidaktik' (404409); Friedrich Schweitzer, 'Elementarisierung und Bibeldidaktik' (409-415); Bernhard Dressler, 'Semiotik und Bibeldidaktik' (415-421); Alois Stimpfle, 'Bibeldidaktik und konstruktivistisches Lernen' (421-428); Mirjam Zimmermann, 'Kindertheologie und Kinderexegese' (428-433); Bärbel Husmann, 'Bibel und performative Didaktik' (434-439); Mirjam Schambeck, 'Bibeltheologische Didaktik' (439-446); and Hartmut Lenhard, Gabriele Obst, 'Bibeldidaktik im kompetenzorientierten Religionsunterricht' (447-454).

Part five explains and evaluates various methods and approaches to teaching the Bible in different contexts: Hans-Ulrich Weidemann, 'Historischkritische Bibelauslegung' (457-)462; Mirjam Zimmermann, Ruben Zimmermann, 'Aneignende Methoden der Exegese' (463-468); Christian Dem, 'Angeleitete Lektüre von biblischen Ganzschriften' (468-474); Mirjam Zimmermann, 'Erzählen' (475-482); Bettina Eltrop, 'Lectio divina/Bibelteilen' (483-490); Rainer Oberthür, 'Bibelwort-Karten' (490-496); Gottfried Adam, 'Lernen mit Kinderbibeln' (497-503); Mirjam Zimmermann, 'Kreatives Schreiben' (503-509); Gerhard Marcel Martin, 'Bibliodrama' (509-515); Uta Pohl-Patalong, 'Bibliolog' (516-522); Werner Kleine, 'Sprechzeichnen zu biblischen Geschichten' (522-529); Anneliese Hecht, 'Biblische Figuren stellen' (530-535); Barbara Schaupp, 'Bibel und Bodenbilder' (536-540); Martin Steinhäuser, 'Godly Play' (541-547); Georg Langenhorst, 'Bibel und moderne Literatur' (547-553); Gerhard Büttner, 'Bibel und Kunst' (554-559); Heike Lindner, 'Bibel und Musik' (560-565); Reinhold Zwick, 'Bibel im Film' (565571); Gerd Buschmann, 'Bibel und Popkultur' (572-577); Marion Keuchen, 'Bibel und digitale Welten' (577-582); Hartmut Rupp, 'Bibel und Kirchenraum' (582-589); Michael Landgraf, Mirjam Zimmermann, 'Außerschulische Lernorte zur Bibel' (589-595) and Manfred Zoll, 'Kinderbibeltage/Kinderbibelwochen' (596-602).

Part six focuses on the variety of the recipients, that is those learning and reading the Bible: Georg Langenhorst, 'Bibeldidaktik und Entwicklungspsychologie' (605-609); Carsten Gennerich, 'Bibel als Medium der Identitätsbildung' (609-613); Ulrich Riegel, 'Bibelverständnis und soziales Milieu' (614-617); Susanne Betz, Hans Hilt, 'Zugänge zur Bibel für kleine Kinder (Elementarpädagogik)' (618-623); Ulrike Itze, Edelgard Moers, 'Zugänge zur Bibel für Schülerinnen und Schüler der Grundschule' (623-629); Iris Bosold, 'Zugänge zur Bibel für Schülerinnen und Schüler der Sekundarstufe Γ (629-633, children between 10 and 16 years of age); Birgit MaischZimmermann, 'Zugänge zur Bibel für Schülerinnen und Schüler der Sekundarstufe ΙΓ (633-638), Andreas Obermann, 'Zugänge zur Bibel in der Berufsschule' (638-642); Anita Müller-Friese, 'Inklusives Lernen zur Bibel' (642-647); Carsten Haeske, 'Zugänge zur Bibel für Konfirmandinnen und Konfirmanden' (647-651); Anneliese Hecht, 'Zugänge zur Bibel in der Gemeindearbeit' (651-656; surprisingly, one essays is to cover all ages between about 14 years and 65 years of age!) and Christian Mulia, 'Zugänge zur Bibel für Seniorinnen und Senioren' (656-660).

The final part addresses several problems in approaching and understanding the Bible. It consists often essays: Mirjam Zimmermann, Ruben Zimmermann, 'Ist die Bibel wahr?' (663-667); Norbert Mette, 'Zeitgemäßheit der Bibel' (667-670); Michael Fricke, 'Was sind (zu) schwierige Bibeltexte?' (671-674); Bernd Beuscher, 'Tipps für einen langweiligen Bibelunterricht' (675-678); Frederike Weißphal, 'Die Bibel als patriarchalisches Buch' (679682); Helga Kohler-Spiegel, 'Lesen Jungen und Mädchen die Bibel unterschiedlich?' (683-687); Michael Bachmann, 'Bibel und Antisemitismus' (687-692); Anton A. Bucher, 'Gewalt in der Bibel' (693-696); Matthias Hahn, 'Biblische Texte und Themen im Ethikunterricht' (697-701) and Michael Weinrich, 'Die Bibel und der Exklusivitätsanspruch' (701-705).

Indices of biblical references and of subjects close the volume. The volume is a goldmine for all who teach the Bible in schools, different ecclesial settings and elsewhere and who are looking for inspiration or want to reflect their task. The volume also offers helpful material and insights for those teaching biblical subjects at institutions of higher learning. It is difficult to think of something that the volume with its comprehensive approach missed (at least regarding its treatment of the Old Testament). A number of essays appear which one might not have expected in a volume on Bible didactics. Due to the comprehensive coverage, the individual articles are relatively short.

While a number of articles would be similar in a South African handbook of this scope, it is worthwhile to reflect on what might be and would have to be different in order to assist and inspire those teaching the Bible in that context.

Christoph Stenschke. Biblisch-Theologische Akademie Wiedenest and Department of Biblical and Ancient Studies, University of South Africa. Ρ Ο Box 392, Pretoria, 0003. Republic of South Africa. E-mail: Stenschke@wiedenest.de DOI: https://doi.org/10.17159/2312-3621/2018/v31n2a10.

^rND^1A01^nJune F.^sDickie^rND^1A01^nJune F.^sDickie^rND^1A01^nJune F^sDickie

ARTICLES

 

Translation for and in Performance: Fusion of Horizons of Hebrew psalmist and Zulu Translator-Performer in the Zulu "Performance Arena"

 

 

June F. Dickie

University of KwaZulu-Natal

 

 


ABSTRACT

This empirical study explores whether indigenous Zulu praise-poetry can inform the translation of biblical praise-psalms. Zulu youth ("poetry fans") were invited to learn about Hebrew and Zulu poetics as well as the process of Bible translation. Then they made their own translations and performances of biblical praise-psalms, following the Literary-rhetorical approach of Ernst Wendland. The results show a strong Zulu imprint from the source to the receptor text, although the original message is retained along with some of the poetic features. The literary and rhetorical power of the Hebrew is transformed into images and thought patterns that come alive to the Zulu mind while still being acceptable (to them) in terms of biblical accuracy. The performances of the translated texts (using rap, song, or spoken poetry) utilise prosody to deliver the message, thus requiring some adjustment to the texts. The audience enters into the experience, impacting the performers. Thus, there are four "voices " apparent: those of the original author, the Zulu translator, the Zulu performer, and the audience. A rich texture of cultural beauty emerges as the Hebrew and Zulu horizons merge in a panorama of literary beauty and rhetorical power.

Keywords: Bible translation, psalms, community, oral performance


 

 

A INTRODUCTION

In Africa,1 praise-poems are traditionally performed at ceremonies to celebrate the feats achieved by a famous person.2 The focus is less to praise the person than to praise the positive characteristics (and criticise, in a veiled way, the negative characteristics) with the goal of reinforcing acceptable behaviour in society. Nevertheless, the fact that the Zulu community has a long history of such praise poetry, and that young people today are passionate about composing and performing poetry, provides a significant opportunity to utilise this form of indigenous poetry in the translation of some biblical praise psalms. To test this hypothesis in my doctoral work, I undertook an empirical study in which volunteers were invited to receive basic training in principles of Bible translation and Hebrew / Zulu poetic devices. Thereafter, they made their own translations of three praise-psalms (one on each of three days of "workshop"), and then performed their translations (or portions thereof) before an audience of their peers or the church congregation.3

The theoretical basis for the study was the literary-rhetorical method of analysing biblical poetry developed by Ernst Wendland (2006). This involves following twelve steps to analyse the Hebrew poetry to determine the literary and rhetorical devices used in the source text, and the functions achieved by these. For example, the use of repetition might provide rhythm and serve a mnemonic function; the use of chiasm might act as a memory device and also highlight the main point; and the use of inclusion might indicate topic-boundaries.4

Before undertaking the workshops with the Zulu participants, I analysed three Hebrew praise-psalms using Wendland's methodology. The poetic features in the Hebrew text were discussed with the participants, along with a review of poetic features in Zulu. The Zulu "poets" were encouraged to use poetic devices in Zulu that performed the same function as those in the Hebrew. They then made their translations. The results yielded rich data, indicating the "presence" in the translated poems of, first, the original Hebrew author, and second, the Zulu translator. Wendland's theoretical approach formed the basis for identifying these first two voices, or "presences".

The poets then transformed their compositions into performances. This required them to make further adjustments in order to fit the performance "arena".5 Notions of performance criticism that had to be considered included paralinguistic features (such as the intonation pattern, rhythm, speed and volume of delivery) as well as extra-linguistics features (such as gestures, facial expressions and clothing). All these performance elements are part of the message that is delivered, and thus constitute the third "presence", namely that of the performer. Performance criticism also refers to the central role played by the audience in influencing the performance. Thus, when the Zulu youth performed their poems before their peers or the church congregation, the fourth "presence", namely that of the audience, was also apparent.

The idea of four "presences" in the performed translation can be delineated by observing the two "presences" (those of original author and translator) arising from an application of Wendland's Literary-rhetorical method, and two "presences" (those of the performer and audience) arising from an application of Performance criticism. This paper considers these four different "presences" in the light of various Zulu examples.

 

Β PRESENCE OF THE "ORIGINAL AUTHOR"

Before the translators made their own compositions, they studied an English-Hebrew interlinear text as well as various translations in English and the current (1959) Zulu translation. From my analysis of the Hebrew text (using Wendland's literary-rhetorical approach), I was able to communicate to the participants the poetic features of the text, and we discussed the functions achieved by such devices. The participants also learned to pick up repetitions of Hebrew words (from the English interlinear). To help them recognise structures such as parallelism, inclusio, and chiasm in the Hebrew text, we looked together at fairly literal translations in English (e.g. ES V) and the Zulu text. More free translations (such as the NLT or TEV) assisted with understanding key terms.

Zulu praise-poems were also studied to determine which poetic devices are traditionally used in such poems. Many similarities were found with Hebrew devices, for example, the use of alliteration and assonance, colourful metaphors, repetition (and redundancy), word-play, terseness, inclusio, chiasm, and parallelism (including 3-fold parallelism). The functions achieved by these devices in most cases were the same in both Hebrew and Zulu, for example the use of repetition to unify the poem, add rhythm, and help with memorability; the use of assonance and alliteration for aesthetic effect and as mnemonic devices; and the use of parallelism for emphasis, rhythm, memorability, and rhetorical effect. Some examples are from the Zulu translations that highlight the presence of the original Hebrew author are provided below.

1 Use of Parallelism, Assonance, and Alliteration

Psalm 93:3 uses three-fold parallelism for rhetorical effect, alliteration in 3a and 3b, and assonance in 3b and 3c:

The use of threefold-parallelism is also apparent in some Zulu praise-poems, for example the Izibongo of Senzangakhona:6

UMlunguzi wezingoje,

(Peerer over precipices)

Owalunguz' ingoje yomfowabo,

(Who peered over the precipice of his brother)

Owalunguz' ingoje kaZivalele.

(Who peered over the precipice of Zivalele.)

Thus the pattern seen in the Hebrew of Psalm 93 can be followed in Zulu too, retaining the presence of the voice of the "original author". The poem below7 shows this 3-fold parallelism, as well as assonance (e.g. the a sound in the second line) and alliteration (e.g. the i sound in the first line):

Imifula igcwele kakhulu,Nkosi, (The rivers are very full, Lord,) ulwandle nemifula kuzwakala ngomsindo, (the ocean and rivers are heard by their noise,) ngomsindo omkhulu ulwandle luyezwakala. (through its very loud noise, the ocean is heard.)

Another example of the use of parallelism used for emphasis and literary beauty is found in the Hebrew of Ps 145:1-2.


The Zulu translations tended to retain this parallelism, also using three different verbs (highlighted below) for literary effect, and to repeat the middle verb (lb, 2a), thereby assisting with memorisation:

E.g.8

1a. Ngizokukuphakamisa kakhulu, Simakade Nkosi,

(I will lift you up much, LORD King, )

1b. ngizolidumisa igama lakho phakade na phakade.

(I will praise your name forever and ever.)

2a. Zonke izinsuku ngizolidumisa.

(All the days I will praise-it)

2b. Ngizozigqaja ngegama lakho phakade na phakade (I will boast about your name forever and ever.

2 Use of Chiasm and Inclusio

The Hebrew text in Ps 93 shows an inclusio structure in cola la and 5b. Chiastic structures are also apparent, for example in cola la-b and lc:

The following translated poem9 also shows an inclusio (in the same cola as the Hebrew text) and chiasm (but in different cola, viz. la-b and 5b):

Another example of Hebrew poetic devices that were retained in the Zulu translations is apparent in Ps 134. The Hebrew in w.1-2 shows two chiastic patterns:11

Chiasm is apparent in la and 1b-2b: "bless" / "servants" / "the ones serving" / "bless", and also in 1a-b and 2a-b: "Bless the LORD" / "house of the LORD" / "holy (place)" / / "Bless the LORD".

One also observes the inclusio formed by "bless the LORD" in cola la and 2b.

Zulu translations of these two verses show a similar use of the poetic features of chiasm and inclusio, with a similar purpose, viz. to provide rhythm and unite the two verses, signifying a point of departure at v.3, the key verse of the psalm.12 Two examples below illustrate how Zulu poets introduced chiasm and inclusio into their translations:

Example 1: Zulu 13 use of chiasm (la-b and lb-2b of Ps 134)

1a. Lalelani! Makadunyiswe uNkulunkulu,

(Listen! (May you) praise God,)

1b. zisebenzi zonke, nina enisebenz' ubusuku nemini.

(all you servants who work night and day.)

2a. Phakamiselani izandla zenu endlini engcwele,

(Lift your hands in the holy place,)

2b. nimnike uNkulunkulu udumo

([and] give God praise.)

Example 2: Zulu14 use of inclusio

1a. Lalelani! Mdumiseni uSimakade,

(Listen! Praise the LORD)

1b. nina nonke zinceku zikaSimakade

(all you servants of the LORD)

1b. enimkhonza ubusuku nemini. assonance

(who worship Him night and day.)

2a. Phakamiselani izandla zenu endaweni engcwele,

(Lift up your hands to the holy place,)

2b. nimdumise uSimakade.

([and] praise the LORD.)

3 Use of Colourful Metaphors and Repetition thereof

Psalm 93:3 in the Hebrew shows use of the metaphor of rising floods. The same imagery is used again in cola 4a and 4b, although the Hebrew does not repeat the same words from v.3. However, there is a repetition of "mighty" from 4b to 4c, providing a link from the threat in 4b to the power of the LORD in 4c:


The following translated poem15 uses different imagery in verses 3-4 to that of the source text. The Hebrew metaphor (that of powerful waves overwhelming the writer) has Ugaritic and Canaanite mythology as the background: Baal fights and defeats the chaos-enemy, Sea.16 For ancient Israel, the sea symbolized the unknown, the feared. By metonymy, it may also refer to the hostile nations who opposed Israel and thus YHWH.17 As the metaphor of turbulent waves was not meaningful to the Zulu youth, they were encouraged to find picture language that represented to them a significant threat or something that aroused fear. Many chose to use natural phenomena such as wind or electric storms, but for others, the lion represented to them "the most feared". The poet below used two pictures, that of a lion and wind, which convey the same feeling of fear as the Hebrew. Moreover, as in the source text, the images used in v.3 are repeated in v.4, thereby emphasising the fact that the LORD is more powerful than the threats, which is the main point of the Hebrew text. Thus, although the metaphor has changed, the message remained the same.

3aNakuba isitha sibhodla okwebhubesi,

(Even tho' the enemy roars like a lion,)

3b Nakuba izivunguvungu zisihlasela ngamandla,

(Even tho' strong winds attack us with force,)

3c Nakuba umoya uvunguza ngamandla,

(Even tho' the wind is blowing strongly with power,)

4a inamandla Inkosi ngaphezu kwebhubesi,

(the Lord is more powerful than the lion,)

4b inamandla Inkosi ngaphezu kwezivunguvungu,

(the Lord is more powerful than the strong wind,)

4c inamandla Inkosi ngaphezu kwezivungu-vungu ezivunguza ngamandla. (the Lord is more powerful than the strong wind that is blowing with power.)

4 Careful use of vocabulary

The Zulu culture is in many ways closer to that of the Hebrew than Western culture, and consequently the notions contained in Zulu words often more closely approximate the Hebrew idea than the English. For example, the term rrg "house(hold)" in Ps 134: lb does not just refer to the building ("house") but also the people ("household) and the Zulu word indlu captures this idea.

Example18

Indlu yakho ingcwele njalo-njalo

(Your house(hold) is a place of holiness forever and ever)

Another example is the translation of in Ps 145:2b. BDB indicates that a significant part of the meaning of this verb is the notion of boasting. Although no English version consulted implies that idea, one of the Zulu poets used the verb ngizozigqaja ("I will boast about"), thereby reflecting the Hebrew author's intent very well. Thus, the Zulu translations can more accurately reveal the voice of the original writer through careful choice of vocabulary.

5 Ideational Rhythm

In my doctoral research,191 concluded that there are two main kinds of rhythm, viz. literary rhythm and musical rhythm. The former can be further analysed into four components:

- Sound rhythm (arising from the choice of particular words making a pattern of similar sounds, as in assonance, alliteration, and word play)

- Ideational rhythm (arising from a pattern of images followed by a break in the established pattern)

- Lineal rhythm (arising from the formulation of the poetic line). This includes "terseness of style" which contributes to the lineal rhythm through its abbreviated use of language.

- Structural symmetry (arising from special symmetrical syntactical patterns, such as parallelism, chiasm, inclusio, and acrostic).

In Psalm 134, the Hebrew text establishes a pattern of three imperative verbs, and this is followed by a jussive. The break in the pattern (ideational rhythm) draws attention to the last verse, the high point of the psalm:

In the translated item below,21 the same pattern is followed22, thereby reflecting the presence of the "original author":


6 Repetition of Key Terms

Ps 134 uses the Hebrew verb ('bless') to refer to both man blessing God and God blessing man. The Zulu poets similarly chose (from the repertoire of available verbs within the relevant domain) the particular verb which also includes the action in both directions (as in the Hebrew). The Zulu verb (like the Hebrew verb) has different meanings in the two directions: 'praise' when from man to God, and 'show favour' when from God to man. However, what is interesting for this paper is that the key term ('bless') was consistently translated by -busisa- in the important contexts. In the poem below,23 two verbs were used for "bless" (-busisa- and -dumisa-, in 2c). It is likely that the other term was used in colon 2d (which is parallel to 2c) to give some variety, the parallel lines providing good rhythm, typical of Zulu poetry.

 

C PRESENCE OF THE TRANSLATOR

A translator of poetry must be a poet, and although s/he must "dance in chains",24the focus is less on strict adherence to the form of the original text and more on features of artistry and aurality. There are therefore many innovations introduced by the Zulu poets to the original Hebrew texts. A few are highlighted below.

1 Different Interpretations given to Hebrew Words

Psalm 134:1 refers to ('the ones standing in the house of the LORD at night'). Two poets independently chose alternative interpretations for 'standing' and 'night'. The one25 used the expression nibambelelek 'uSimakade kunzima ('you who hold on intensely to the LORD in difficulties') and the other opted for the same interpretations of the two Hebrew words. Although this is exegetically possible for both and , none of the published translations referenced used this interpretation. Although it is not the probable interpretation in the cultic context, it is of interest as it reflects a theoretical principle found in Reception Theory:26 the 'gaps' (in meaning in the source text) provide hermeneutic opportunities for the hearers to apply the text in a meaningful way to their personal situations. The two poets who took this interpretation were both experiencing a great deal of difficulty in their personal lives, and it is possible that the more symbolical interpretation was particularly meaningful to them.

2 Insight from Metaphors

One of the poets of Ps 9327 introduced the metaphor of a "lion" into the inclusio frame (cola lc-d) where the Hebrew used the image of being 'girded with strength'. Then the poet re-used the same image with a twist (i.e. a simile instead of a metaphor) in colon 3c. This suggests that the enemy may try to appear strong, but the real lion (or strong one) is the LORD. This seems to be a powerful insight. To emphasise this point, the poet used two different words for 'lion' -the first is linked with royally and the Zulu chief, while the second is the common word for 'lion':

1e. Jehova, uyingonyama28

(LORD, you are the royal lion)

3c. sihlasela kuhle kwebhubesi,

([the enemy] attacks like a [common] lion,)

It is clear that a number of valuable revelations can come to light as people bring their own contexts and creativity into their understandings of biblical texts. Since the participants in this study made their own translations, another layer of richness was added to the truth of the biblical message.

3 Use of a Different Formula

The Hebrew in Ps 134:3c uses the traditional formula 'maker of heaven and earth'. One poet29 replaced this with two expressions in parallel, carrying with them the same broad reference metonymically to the Creator of all. Moreover, in his new formula, the poet introduced parallelism, thereby adding to the rhythm and beauty of the poem, as well as giving extra focus to 3a-b (to which 3c and 3d are in apposition). The use of a demonstrative lo (in 3c) also gives prominence to the agent / topic (in 3a).

3 a. Engathi Inkosi yamakhosi

(May the Lord of lords,)

inganibusisa eyaseSiyoni.

(the One from Zion, may he bless you.)

3b. Engathi anganibusisa,

(May he bless you,)

3c. lo owahlukanisa ubumnyama nokukhanya,

(this one who separates darkness and light,)

3d. owahlukanisa amanzi nolwandle.

(he who separates water and sea.)

4 Step-down Parallelism

Parallelism in Hebrew text often shows a step-up (additive) nature. However, several examples in Zulu show step-down parallelism. For example, from 2b to 2c, from 3a to 3b, and from 3c to 3d in the following poem:30

2b. ninike Inkosi yamakhosi udumo,

(Give31 the Lord of lords praise,)

2c. nimubusise lo aphakeme.

(bless this, the high one.)

3 a. Engathi Inkosi yamakhosi inganibusisa eyaseSiyoni,

(May the Lord of lords, the one from Zion, may he bless you,)

3b. engathi anganibusisa

(may he bless you,)

3c. lo owahlukanisa ubumnyama nokukhanya

(this one who separates darkness and light,)

3d. owahlukanisa amanzi nolwandle.

(he who separates water and sea.)

Another example32 of step-down parallelism is seen in the poem below, from le to If:

1d. Impela, umhlaba uqinile kakhulu,

(Really, the earth is very firm,)

1e. uqinile ungeguquhve yilutho,

(it is firm, nothing can shake it,)

1f ungeguquhve yilutho.

(nothing can shake it.)

As Nida observed in 2003:33 "Some of the Zulu poets are extremely skilled in producing praise poems ..." The presence of the Zulu translator is very apparent in most of the Zulu compositions, but this not only makes the text sound like a Zulu poem, but often yields exegetical insights too.34

5 Adjustments to Maintain the Lineal Rhythm

The rhythm of the poetic line is very important to a Zulu poet, and thus some words may need to be repeated or shortened to maintain a regular rhythm. In Ps 134:2, the Hebrew shows three words in colon 2a and two words in colon 2b.

However, some Zulu poets added words to maintain a regular rhythm over this verse (not a key verse, and thus not requiring a change of rhythm for emphasis). For example:35

2a. Izandla - izandla zonke ziphakame

(Hands - hands all let them lift up)

2b. zidlule ikhanda kophakeme

(above the head to the one above)

2c. nimdumise uJehova

([and] praise the LORD)

One important thing in this example is that the poet has interpreted "the holy" as "the one above" (implying 'in the holy place') and has added the notion of "lifting above" to give emphasis. Moreover, he has used two synonyms for "above" in 2b, thereby giving literary richness to the poem. He has also introduced assonance with the use of ikhanda "head" (not in the Hebrew) to sound beautiful and memorable along with izandla "hands" in colon 2a. The first line (2a) also shows deliberate alliteration. This assonance and alliteration were not present in the Hebrew text.

6 Change of Lineal Rhythm to give Focus to Key Verses

The Hebrew of Ps 134 shows a regular formulation of the poetic line across the psalm, with either 3 or 2 stressed syllables in each strophe.

However, some of the Zulu poets chose to change the rhythm pattern in v.3, to highlight this verse as the key verse in the poem. The example below36shows a regular rhythm in verses 1 and 2 of three stressed syllables per poetic line (marked in bold). This changes in v.3 to four stressed syllables (marked in bold). To achieve these extended lines in cola 3a and 3b, the poet made two ideas explicit, viz. that Zion is a mountain, and the repetition of the verb in 3b (from 3a).

1a. Lalelani!! Busisani Inkosi

(Listen, bless the Lord)

1b. nibe izikhonzi zeNkosi

(all servants of the Lord)

1e. ezi-hlala ethempeli le Nkosi

(who sit in the temple of the Lord)

1d. ebusuku nasemini.

(night and day.)

2a. Phakamisani izandla

(Lift up hands)

2b. endaweni engcwele

(to the holy place,)

2c. niyidumise Inkosi,

([and] bless the Lord)

2d. nibusise Inkosi.

([and] bless the Lord.)

3a. Inkosi mayinbusise entabeni yase Siyoni

(May the LORD bless you on the mountain from Zion)

3b. Mayinibusise owenzile izulu nomhlaba.

(May he bless you, (he) who created heaven and earth.)

7 Use of Tail-Head Linkage for Memorability and Rhythmic Beauty

As Zulu poetry is always performed and heard, it needs to include mnemonic devices to assist the hearer to remember the key ideas. A common device used for this purpose is tail-head linkage, where the last word in one line is repeated as the first word in the next line.

Example37

3a. Makanibusise uSimakade

(May the LORD bless you)

3b. uSimakade owenze umhlaba nezulu.

(the LORD who made earth and heaven.)

Here we see the translator's voice, adding something not seen in the Hebrew text but necessary for Zulu performance.

8 Ideational Rhythm for Memorability and Performability (e.g. as rap)

Zulu poetry utilises many oral devices to help the performer and hearer remember the text easily. In the translation of Ps 145:4-7 below,38 the poet used the 2PS possessive at the end of every line (except for one), facilitating memorability and performability.

4a. Isizukulwane siyakudumisa nezenzo zakho,

(Generations will praise your acts,)

4b. abanye bakhulume ngamandla ezenzo zakho.

(others speak about power of your deeds.)

5a. Ngiyakugxila ekuphakamiseni ubukhosi,

(I will focus on lifting up your majesty,)

5b. nenkazimulo yakho kanye nezimangaliso zezenzo zakho.

(and your glory and wonderful deeds.)

6a. Bayakufakaza ngamandla ezimangaliso zezenzo zakho;

(They will proclaim about the marvellous power of your deeds;)

6b. Ngiyakumemezela ubukhulu bakho.

(I will declare your greatness.)

7a. Bayokukhuluma ngadumo olukhu lomusa wakho

(They will talk about the great fame of your mercy,)

7b. bacule ngobulungiswa bakho.

([and] sing about your justice.)

Thus the Zulu poets' commitment to use their own indigenous features of oral art resulted in biblical texts that are perceived as being genuine Zulu poetry, rather than simply translations.

 

D PRESENCE OF THE PERFORMER

Several features of the performance served to highlight different parts of the translated (Zulu) text. The pace of delivery (of both the rhythm and the enunciation) as well as the combination of various media (song, rap, spoken word) served to highlight key themes and maintain the interest of the audience.

1 Pace of Delivery

In some cases, features of the performance served to highlight a particular verse as being in focus. In a sung version of his translation of Ps 134, the singer significantly increased the beat of the music before colon 3a. He also slowed down the pace as he sang the final words in colon 3b. These two devices gave prominence to verse 3 in the psalm, which is the key verse. The performance greatly added to the communicative effectiveness of the poem.

38

Dickie, "Zulu Song", Item 8 in Appendix lc.

2 Use of Song and Spoken Word

A performance of Ps 93 39 included both song and spoken word, with two different performers presenting their own translations in a complementary way. The use of different media keeps the attention of the audience.

Another performance of Psalm 93 brought together three different translations,40 with the three men interleaving their compositions in a dramatic reading. They tried to use body language to communicate something of the message, as well as a fast pace to capture the rhetorical force, as is typical in Zulu praise poetry. The final cola slows down to emphasise the LORD'S victory "always" (with the slow choral enunciation of njalo-njalo "always").

3 Selection of Cola and Adjustment of Words

Often, the performers adjusted the word order to better fit the musical rhythm. This is important since Zulu is a tonal language, and the musical melody and the tonal melody must be synchronised. Also, the stress of the word needs to match the beat (musical rhythm). Furthermore, the songs usually selected a number of verses or cola, rather than trying to include the entire translated poem. For example, the song from the translation below includes the items in grey. The word in bold in the translation was replaced with a synonym in the song. Only certain colas were included in the song (none from verse 3), and some elements of the translation were adjusted, e.g. 'day and night' in the translation became 'forever and ever'.

One notion is included in the song (in the second last line) which has no equivalent in the biblical psalm nor in the Zulu translation thereof.

Translation41

This example shows the loss of some content in the song. However, this was not always the case; one gifted musician was able to sing the complete psalm.42 Obviously, with practice, the transposing of a poem to a song would improve.

In another performance (one of Ps 145),43 the singer conflated the text of the first two lines of the translation and used that as a chorus, repeated several times. The translation began with the lines:

1a. Ngizokuphakamisa wena Jehova wami Nkosi,

(I will lift you up, you LORD, my king,)

1b. ngizolidumisa igama lakho njalo.

(I will praise your name forever.)

In the performance, the conflation of these two lines became:

Ngizophakamisa igama lakho

(I will lift up your name)

In another performance of Ps 145:1-2,44 the singer included all the words, with some repetition of the word njalo ("always/continually") and the addition of a "nonsense syllable" (at the end of colon 2b) to fit the melody and rhythm. Apart from these small adjustments to the translated text, the song followed the translation. It must be said that this performer, a young woman, is extremely musically talented, and converted the poem into a song within thirty minutes. The melody varied, soaring to high notes on the repetition of colon 1 a. The words were easy to remember, and the singer had the audience clicking along in unison.

The text is as follows:

1a. Ngiyakuphakamisa ubukhulu akho,

(I will lift up your greatness,)

Nkulunkulu wami oyinkosi,

(My God who is the king,)

1b. Ngiyakukubonga njalo-njalo.

(I will thank you continually.)

2a. Ngiyakukubonga onke amalanga,

(I will thank you all the days,)

2b. ngikutuse njalo-njalo.

(I praise you continually [nonsense syllable]).

Thus, the Zulu performer of a biblical text (as probably all performers) feels the liberty to adjust the given text, if necessary, to the needs of the performance. Generally, the meaning was not changed in any significant way, and usually no extraneous ideas were included. One example45 where an idea was included in the song that was not in the translation is given below. The song is based on verses 1, 3, and 4 of Ps 145. The performance text is:

Chorus

Rapper 1:

Chorus (sung) - as above, culminating with "Yeeh! !'"

(Rapper 2)

In this performance, it is clear that the order of content from the three biblical verses has been changed (verse numbers indicated on the left of each line). However, it is only colon 3c (in grey above) which seems to contain content that is not in Ρ s 145, although it can be said to reflect biblical truth.

 

Ε PRESENCE OF THE AUDIENCE

The translated items were performed first before peers, and then before an invited audience of family and friends or the church congregation at a Sunday service. The response, especially in the larger group of a church congregation, was very evident, through clapping, ululating, and the taking of videos. Before the smaller audiences of peers, there was snapping of fingers and joining in with the humming of the performers. The more relaxed environment allowed for greater freedom and participation by the audience.

Interviews with audience members revealed their sense of inclusion in the performances. For example, when asked "What did you like best about the songs?", the response was "They were just songs that you can sing along with."46The meaning of the texts was also considered to be accessible. One audience member noted: "[Most people will enjoy singing the songs] because the translation used is much easier to understand than the original translation we have."47 The performances also were clearly memorable for many audience members. Comments such as the following revealed their métonymie capacity:

"With the message they did using drums, I can even recall the scripture they used... It is not easy to forget the song."48

- "I like many ways of preaching, which involve acting, and it helps people to remember what was said and done."49

- "I think that Zulu people will like to create songs like these because it is ... a way to know the Bible. When we sing it, we remember the verses "50

Others indicated that the songs appealed to them because of their aesthetic power, either through the rhythm or the words. For example, one audience member observed: "I think people enjoyed [it]... because the song's words were catchy, because this song is created in a way that can attract teenagers. And there was also a beat; beats are always catchy, that's why I like it."51

In the church context, the performances preceded the preaching, and the preacher later commented: "Before I preached, they gave me power, because they started first and gave a strong message."52 From his perspective, the performance changed the "spiritual atmosphere" and made his work easier. Certainly, it was noticeable that most people became more alert with the start of the performances. And the performances were considered by the audience to be within the bounds of acceptability of "biblical text". As one noted, "[People will enjoy singing the songs] because of the message and it still is part of the scripture, not something we came up with."53

With the audience engaged and interested in the performances, as was clearly the case, the translation is more likely to become "something talked about and shared with friends".54 It was noted how all the young people in the audience jumped up once the performance began, and made video recordings on their phones of their peers performing. No doubt these performances would be shared with many others, and be a talking point.

Further work needs to be done in this area where the original (Hebrew) text are further transformed in performance. Zulu oral art over past centuries shows that the audience often interacts even vocally with the performer(s), thereby changing the direction of the movement of the text. It is expected that after several hearings of a text, the audience might become familiar with the theme and rhythm and add their own verses. However, it can be said from even the work done thus far, that lack of response from the audience will shut down the performer(s). Zulu audiences are attentive to indicate their enjoyment or otherwise, and the snapping of fingers to praise a clever or beautiful line is common in the performance of Zulu poetry. Conversely, the lack of response is a clear sign to the performer that his/her poem is not being received well.

 

F CONCLUSION

In the oral performance in Zulu of some biblical praise-psalms, four "presences" are evident. As the source text is biblical, it was expected that the voice of the "original author" would be apparent, although being poetry, one would not expect the Zulu translations to follow the form of the Hebrew poetry. The fact that they did, in some cases, is the result of both languages sharing certain poetic devices (such as chiasm, parallelism, assonance, and others) in their poetry. The Zulu poets showed an ability to maintain the literary and rhetorical power of the "original author" while presenting the message in a Zulu way, using rhythm and the typical style of Zulu praise poetry. Their voices were very apparent in the translations, using colourful images that speak to their situations, interpreting Hebrew words within their contemporary contexts, and adjusting the syntax to represent Zulu thought. It is hoped that translators of biblical poetry would explore ways to incorporate all the literary beauty and rhetorical power of the source text, and this study indicates that the inclusion of indigenous poets in the translation process and the application of the literary-rhetorical approach, can significantly help in this direction.

Moreover, when the poets then performed their items, they made further adaptations to fit the performance event. This included adjusting the word-order or choice of words, repeating words to fill the rhythm, selecting portions of the biblical text to have prominence, and so on. The audience also became involved in the performances, participating verbally and non-verbally, and connecting with the text in a meaningful way. Thus this study has also shown that insights from performance criticism should be borne in mind by the translator of biblical poetry. Some of the meanings of the texts can be transmitted using performance features rather than by being limited to words on a page. Also, presenting a biblical psalm through oral performance is far more engaging and memorable than using the traditional medium, and it is hoped that more communicators of the biblical message will experiment with the dynamics of performance, in light of the many benefits that it offers.

Careful translation can facilitate the voice of the original author to sing in the performed text, along with the dance movements of the translator, the innovations of the performer, and the responsiveness of the audience. All four "presences" contribute to the entire experience, and the translator of biblical poetry has all four of these voices available to him/her, to produce a new oral poem with all the lyrical beauty and dynamic persuasive power of the original text.

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Barnstone, Willis. The Poetics of Translation: History, Theory, Practice. New York: Yale Univ. Press, 1993.         [ Links ]

Brueggemann, W. and Bellinger, W.H. Psalms. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014.         [ Links ]

Cope, A. Trevor. Izibongo Zulu Praise Poems. London: Oxford University Press, 1968.         [ Links ]

Dickie, June F. "Zulu Song, Oral Art, Performing the Psalms to Stir the Heart." Ph.D thesis, University of Kwa-Zulu Natal, 2017.         [ Links ]

Foley, John M. The singer of tales in performance. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995.         [ Links ]

Hossfeld, F-L. and Zenger, E. Psalms, volume 2. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2005.         [ Links ]

Nida, Eugene A. Fascinated by Languages. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2003. https://doi.org/10.1075/z.119        [ Links ]

Soukup, Paul A. "Understanding audience understanding." Pages 91-107 in From one medium to another: communicating the Bible through multimedia. Edited by Paul A. Soukup and Robert Hodgson, Kansas City: Sheed & Ward, 1997.         [ Links ]

Wendland, Ernst R. LiFE-Style Translating. Dallas: SIL, 2006.         [ Links ]

 

 

Submitted: 12/01/2018
Peer-reviewed: 02/05/2018
Accepted: 03/05/2018

 

 

June Frances Dickie. University of KwaZulu-Natal. E-mail: iunedickie@gmail.com. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5226-5874.
1 Praise-poetry is used across Africa, but for this article, the focus is on Zulu poetry. However, much of what is said relates equally to other African languages.
2 See A. Trevor Cope, Izibongo Zulu Praise Poems (London: Oxford University Press, 1968).
3 Four workshops were held with four different church/poetry groups, each studying the same three praise-psalms.
4 For more discussion of the Literary-rhetorical method and functional equivalence in translation, see June F. Dickie, "Zulu Song, Oral Art, Performing the Psalms to Stir the Heart" (Ph.D thesis, UKZN), 2017: section 2.6.
5 Foley uses the term "arena" to refer to the physical context of a performance (John M. Foley, The singer of tales in performance [Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995]).
6 Cope, Izibongo, 77, lines 42-44.
7 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Item 19 in Appendix 1b.
8 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Item 20 in Appendix 1c.
9 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Item 6 in Appendix 1b.
10 This translation omits the notion of 'house' from the Hebrew (colon 5b). However, other translations did incorporate the semantic richness in the Hebrew term. See section 2.4.
11 The second pattern is noted by Walter Brueggemann and William H. Bellinger, Psalms (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014), 560.
12 Support for this notion of v.3 being the "peak" of the psalm comes from the following (X, 130): a significant shift of subject to YHWH (doing the blessing), an attributive phrase appositional to YHWH, a key term ('Zion'), a formula ('heaven and earth') and the use of a jussive (after four imperative verbs).
13 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Item 2 in Appendix 1a.
14 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Item 10 in Appendix 1a.
15 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Item 12 in Appendix 1b.
16 F-L. Hossfeld and E. Zenger, Psalms, vol. 2 (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2005), 449. It links back also to the threatening waters before order was first instituted in the Creation, with the separating of the land from the sea (Gen 1:6).
17 Cf. Isa. 57:20; Jer. 49:23.
18 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Item 12 in Appendix lb.
19 See Dickie, "Zulu Song", 76. At that stage, I referred to sound rhythm, poetic rhythm, and musical rhythm, but this paper distinguishes three elements of "poetic rhythm". The four components linked to literary features together comprise "literary rhythm".
20 DO = direct object marker.
21 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Item 21 in Appendix la.
22 The Zulu example shows two imperatives (in la and 2a) and two hortatives (in 2c and 2d). However, a hortative following an imperative has imperative force. The subjunctive in 3a is repeated in 3b for the purposes of rhythm, using parallelism.
23 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Item 21 in Appendix 1a.
24 Barnstone quotes the way the Chinese describe the method of the great Tang poets, viz. working imaginatively while being bound by strictures (Willis Barnstone, The Poetics of Translation: History, Theory, Practice [New York: Yale Univ. Press, 1993], 270).
25 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Item 17 in Appendix la.
26 See Paul A. Soukup, "Understanding audience understanding" in From one medium to another: communicating the Bible through multimedia (eds. Paul A. Soukup and Robert Hodgson; Kansas City: Sheed & Ward, 1997), 103-107.
27 Dickie, "Zulu Song" Item 6 in Appendix 1b.
28 28 Uyingonyama is used as a praise name for the Zulu chief, referring to a special lion, one that is majestic.
29 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Item 23 in Appendix lb.
30 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Item 23 in Appendix lb.
31 Although ninike (2b) and nimubusise (2c) are subjunctives, they carry imperative force as they follow an imperative in 2a (not shown).
32 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Item 19 in Appendix lb.
33 Eugene A. Nida, Fascinated by Languages (Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2003), 82.
34 See section 2.4.
35 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Item 3 in Appendix la.
36 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Item 21 in Appendix la.
37 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Item 17 in Appendix la.
38 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Item 8 in Appendix lc.
39 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Items 28 and 29 in Appendix 1b.
40 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Items 27, 30, and 31 in Appendix 1b.
41 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Item 3 in Appendix la.
42 See for example, Dickie, "Zulu Song", Item 22 in Appendix la and Item 32 in Appendix lc.
43 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Item 8 in Appendix lc.
44 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Item 32 in Appendix 1c.
45 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Song 52 in Appendix 1c.
46 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Interview 9 in Appendix 2c.
47 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Interview 5 in Appendix 2c.
48 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Interview 1 in Appendix 2c.
49 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Interview 3 in Appendix 2c.
50 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Interview 9 in Appendix 2c.
51 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Interview 9 in Appendix 2c.
52 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Interview 3 in Appendix 2c.
53 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Interview 6 in Appendix 2c.
54 Paul A. Soukup, "Understanding audience understanding" in From one medium to another: communicating the Bible through multimedia (ed. Paul A. Soukup and Robert Hodgson; Kansas City: Sheed & Ward, 1997), 106.

^rND^1A01^nJune F.^sDickie^rND^1A01^nJune F.^sDickie^rND^1A01^nJune F^sDickie

ARTICLES

 

Translation for and in Performance: Fusion of Horizons of Hebrew psalmist and Zulu Translator-Performer in the Zulu "Performance Arena"

 

 

June F. Dickie

University of KwaZulu-Natal

 

 


ABSTRACT

This empirical study explores whether indigenous Zulu praise-poetry can inform the translation of biblical praise-psalms. Zulu youth ("poetry fans") were invited to learn about Hebrew and Zulu poetics as well as the process of Bible translation. Then they made their own translations and performances of biblical praise-psalms, following the Literary-rhetorical approach of Ernst Wendland. The results show a strong Zulu imprint from the source to the receptor text, although the original message is retained along with some of the poetic features. The literary and rhetorical power of the Hebrew is transformed into images and thought patterns that come alive to the Zulu mind while still being acceptable (to them) in terms of biblical accuracy. The performances of the translated texts (using rap, song, or spoken poetry) utilise prosody to deliver the message, thus requiring some adjustment to the texts. The audience enters into the experience, impacting the performers. Thus, there are four "voices " apparent: those of the original author, the Zulu translator, the Zulu performer, and the audience. A rich texture of cultural beauty emerges as the Hebrew and Zulu horizons merge in a panorama of literary beauty and rhetorical power.

Keywords: Bible translation, psalms, community, oral performance


 

 

A INTRODUCTION

In Africa,1 praise-poems are traditionally performed at ceremonies to celebrate the feats achieved by a famous person.2 The focus is less to praise the person than to praise the positive characteristics (and criticise, in a veiled way, the negative characteristics) with the goal of reinforcing acceptable behaviour in society. Nevertheless, the fact that the Zulu community has a long history of such praise poetry, and that young people today are passionate about composing and performing poetry, provides a significant opportunity to utilise this form of indigenous poetry in the translation of some biblical praise psalms. To test this hypothesis in my doctoral work, I undertook an empirical study in which volunteers were invited to receive basic training in principles of Bible translation and Hebrew / Zulu poetic devices. Thereafter, they made their own translations of three praise-psalms (one on each of three days of "workshop"), and then performed their translations (or portions thereof) before an audience of their peers or the church congregation.3

The theoretical basis for the study was the literary-rhetorical method of analysing biblical poetry developed by Ernst Wendland (2006). This involves following twelve steps to analyse the Hebrew poetry to determine the literary and rhetorical devices used in the source text, and the functions achieved by these. For example, the use of repetition might provide rhythm and serve a mnemonic function; the use of chiasm might act as a memory device and also highlight the main point; and the use of inclusion might indicate topic-boundaries.4

Before undertaking the workshops with the Zulu participants, I analysed three Hebrew praise-psalms using Wendland's methodology. The poetic features in the Hebrew text were discussed with the participants, along with a review of poetic features in Zulu. The Zulu "poets" were encouraged to use poetic devices in Zulu that performed the same function as those in the Hebrew. They then made their translations. The results yielded rich data, indicating the "presence" in the translated poems of, first, the original Hebrew author, and second, the Zulu translator. Wendland's theoretical approach formed the basis for identifying these first two voices, or "presences".

The poets then transformed their compositions into performances. This required them to make further adjustments in order to fit the performance "arena".5 Notions of performance criticism that had to be considered included paralinguistic features (such as the intonation pattern, rhythm, speed and volume of delivery) as well as extra-linguistics features (such as gestures, facial expressions and clothing). All these performance elements are part of the message that is delivered, and thus constitute the third "presence", namely that of the performer. Performance criticism also refers to the central role played by the audience in influencing the performance. Thus, when the Zulu youth performed their poems before their peers or the church congregation, the fourth "presence", namely that of the audience, was also apparent.

The idea of four "presences" in the performed translation can be delineated by observing the two "presences" (those of original author and translator) arising from an application of Wendland's Literary-rhetorical method, and two "presences" (those of the performer and audience) arising from an application of Performance criticism. This paper considers these four different "presences" in the light of various Zulu examples.

 

Β PRESENCE OF THE "ORIGINAL AUTHOR"

Before the translators made their own compositions, they studied an English-Hebrew interlinear text as well as various translations in English and the current (1959) Zulu translation. From my analysis of the Hebrew text (using Wendland's literary-rhetorical approach), I was able to communicate to the participants the poetic features of the text, and we discussed the functions achieved by such devices. The participants also learned to pick up repetitions of Hebrew words (from the English interlinear). To help them recognise structures such as parallelism, inclusio, and chiasm in the Hebrew text, we looked together at fairly literal translations in English (e.g. ES V) and the Zulu text. More free translations (such as the NLT or TEV) assisted with understanding key terms.

Zulu praise-poems were also studied to determine which poetic devices are traditionally used in such poems. Many similarities were found with Hebrew devices, for example, the use of alliteration and assonance, colourful metaphors, repetition (and redundancy), word-play, terseness, inclusio, chiasm, and parallelism (including 3-fold parallelism). The functions achieved by these devices in most cases were the same in both Hebrew and Zulu, for example the use of repetition to unify the poem, add rhythm, and help with memorability; the use of assonance and alliteration for aesthetic effect and as mnemonic devices; and the use of parallelism for emphasis, rhythm, memorability, and rhetorical effect. Some examples are from the Zulu translations that highlight the presence of the original Hebrew author are provided below.

1 Use of Parallelism, Assonance, and Alliteration

Psalm 93:3 uses three-fold parallelism for rhetorical effect, alliteration in 3a and 3b, and assonance in 3b and 3c:

The use of threefold-parallelism is also apparent in some Zulu praise-poems, for example the Izibongo of Senzangakhona:6

UMlunguzi wezingoje,

(Peerer over precipices)

Owalunguz' ingoje yomfowabo,

(Who peered over the precipice of his brother)

Owalunguz' ingoje kaZivalele.

(Who peered over the precipice of Zivalele.)

Thus the pattern seen in the Hebrew of Psalm 93 can be followed in Zulu too, retaining the presence of the voice of the "original author". The poem below7 shows this 3-fold parallelism, as well as assonance (e.g. the a sound in the second line) and alliteration (e.g. the i sound in the first line):

Imifula igcwele kakhulu,Nkosi, (The rivers are very full, Lord,) ulwandle nemifula kuzwakala ngomsindo, (the ocean and rivers are heard by their noise,) ngomsindo omkhulu ulwandle luyezwakala. (through its very loud noise, the ocean is heard.)

Another example of the use of parallelism used for emphasis and literary beauty is found in the Hebrew of Ps 145:1-2.


The Zulu translations tended to retain this parallelism, also using three different verbs (highlighted below) for literary effect, and to repeat the middle verb (lb, 2a), thereby assisting with memorisation:

E.g.8

1a. Ngizokukuphakamisa kakhulu, Simakade Nkosi,

(I will lift you up much, LORD King, )

1b. ngizolidumisa igama lakho phakade na phakade.

(I will praise your name forever and ever.)

2a. Zonke izinsuku ngizolidumisa.

(All the days I will praise-it)

2b. Ngizozigqaja ngegama lakho phakade na phakade (I will boast about your name forever and ever.

2 Use of Chiasm and Inclusio

The Hebrew text in Ps 93 shows an inclusio structure in cola la and 5b. Chiastic structures are also apparent, for example in cola la-b and lc:

The following translated poem9 also shows an inclusio (in the same cola as the Hebrew text) and chiasm (but in different cola, viz. la-b and 5b):

Another example of Hebrew poetic devices that were retained in the Zulu translations is apparent in Ps 134. The Hebrew in w.1-2 shows two chiastic patterns:11

Chiasm is apparent in la and 1b-2b: "bless" / "servants" / "the ones serving" / "bless", and also in 1a-b and 2a-b: "Bless the LORD" / "house of the LORD" / "holy (place)" / / "Bless the LORD".

One also observes the inclusio formed by "bless the LORD" in cola la and 2b.

Zulu translations of these two verses show a similar use of the poetic features of chiasm and inclusio, with a similar purpose, viz. to provide rhythm and unite the two verses, signifying a point of departure at v.3, the key verse of the psalm.12 Two examples below illustrate how Zulu poets introduced chiasm and inclusio into their translations:

Example 1: Zulu 13 use of chiasm (la-b and lb-2b of Ps 134)

1a. Lalelani! Makadunyiswe uNkulunkulu,

(Listen! (May you) praise God,)

1b. zisebenzi zonke, nina enisebenz' ubusuku nemini.

(all you servants who work night and day.)

2a. Phakamiselani izandla zenu endlini engcwele,

(Lift your hands in the holy place,)

2b. nimnike uNkulunkulu udumo

([and] give God praise.)

Example 2: Zulu14 use of inclusio

1a. Lalelani! Mdumiseni uSimakade,

(Listen! Praise the LORD)

1b. nina nonke zinceku zikaSimakade

(all you servants of the LORD)

1b. enimkhonza ubusuku nemini. assonance

(who worship Him night and day.)

2a. Phakamiselani izandla zenu endaweni engcwele,

(Lift up your hands to the holy place,)

2b. nimdumise uSimakade.

([and] praise the LORD.)

3 Use of Colourful Metaphors and Repetition thereof

Psalm 93:3 in the Hebrew shows use of the metaphor of rising floods. The same imagery is used again in cola 4a and 4b, although the Hebrew does not repeat the same words from v.3. However, there is a repetition of "mighty" from 4b to 4c, providing a link from the threat in 4b to the power of the LORD in 4c:


The following translated poem15 uses different imagery in verses 3-4 to that of the source text. The Hebrew metaphor (that of powerful waves overwhelming the writer) has Ugaritic and Canaanite mythology as the background: Baal fights and defeats the chaos-enemy, Sea.16 For ancient Israel, the sea symbolized the unknown, the feared. By metonymy, it may also refer to the hostile nations who opposed Israel and thus YHWH.17 As the metaphor of turbulent waves was not meaningful to the Zulu youth, they were encouraged to find picture language that represented to them a significant threat or something that aroused fear. Many chose to use natural phenomena such as wind or electric storms, but for others, the lion represented to them "the most feared". The poet below used two pictures, that of a lion and wind, which convey the same feeling of fear as the Hebrew. Moreover, as in the source text, the images used in v.3 are repeated in v.4, thereby emphasising the fact that the LORD is more powerful than the threats, which is the main point of the Hebrew text. Thus, although the metaphor has changed, the message remained the same.

3aNakuba isitha sibhodla okwebhubesi,

(Even tho' the enemy roars like a lion,)

3b Nakuba izivunguvungu zisihlasela ngamandla,

(Even tho' strong winds attack us with force,)

3c Nakuba umoya uvunguza ngamandla,

(Even tho' the wind is blowing strongly with power,)

4a inamandla Inkosi ngaphezu kwebhubesi,

(the Lord is more powerful than the lion,)

4b inamandla Inkosi ngaphezu kwezivunguvungu,

(the Lord is more powerful than the strong wind,)

4c inamandla Inkosi ngaphezu kwezivungu-vungu ezivunguza ngamandla. (the Lord is more powerful than the strong wind that is blowing with power.)

4 Careful use of vocabulary

The Zulu culture is in many ways closer to that of the Hebrew than Western culture, and consequently the notions contained in Zulu words often more closely approximate the Hebrew idea than the English. For example, the term rrg "house(hold)" in Ps 134: lb does not just refer to the building ("house") but also the people ("household) and the Zulu word indlu captures this idea.

Example18

Indlu yakho ingcwele njalo-njalo

(Your house(hold) is a place of holiness forever and ever)

Another example is the translation of in Ps 145:2b. BDB indicates that a significant part of the meaning of this verb is the notion of boasting. Although no English version consulted implies that idea, one of the Zulu poets used the verb ngizozigqaja ("I will boast about"), thereby reflecting the Hebrew author's intent very well. Thus, the Zulu translations can more accurately reveal the voice of the original writer through careful choice of vocabulary.

5 Ideational Rhythm

In my doctoral research,191 concluded that there are two main kinds of rhythm, viz. literary rhythm and musical rhythm. The former can be further analysed into four components:

- Sound rhythm (arising from the choice of particular words making a pattern of similar sounds, as in assonance, alliteration, and word play)

- Ideational rhythm (arising from a pattern of images followed by a break in the established pattern)

- Lineal rhythm (arising from the formulation of the poetic line). This includes "terseness of style" which contributes to the lineal rhythm through its abbreviated use of language.

- Structural symmetry (arising from special symmetrical syntactical patterns, such as parallelism, chiasm, inclusio, and acrostic).

In Psalm 134, the Hebrew text establishes a pattern of three imperative verbs, and this is followed by a jussive. The break in the pattern (ideational rhythm) draws attention to the last verse, the high point of the psalm:

In the translated item below,21 the same pattern is followed22, thereby reflecting the presence of the "original author":


6 Repetition of Key Terms

Ps 134 uses the Hebrew verb ('bless') to refer to both man blessing God and God blessing man. The Zulu poets similarly chose (from the repertoire of available verbs within the relevant domain) the particular verb which also includes the action in both directions (as in the Hebrew). The Zulu verb (like the Hebrew verb) has different meanings in the two directions: 'praise' when from man to God, and 'show favour' when from God to man. However, what is interesting for this paper is that the key term ('bless') was consistently translated by -busisa- in the important contexts. In the poem below,23 two verbs were used for "bless" (-busisa- and -dumisa-, in 2c). It is likely that the other term was used in colon 2d (which is parallel to 2c) to give some variety, the parallel lines providing good rhythm, typical of Zulu poetry.

 

C PRESENCE OF THE TRANSLATOR

A translator of poetry must be a poet, and although s/he must "dance in chains",24the focus is less on strict adherence to the form of the original text and more on features of artistry and aurality. There are therefore many innovations introduced by the Zulu poets to the original Hebrew texts. A few are highlighted below.

1 Different Interpretations given to Hebrew Words

Psalm 134:1 refers to ('the ones standing in the house of the LORD at night'). Two poets independently chose alternative interpretations for 'standing' and 'night'. The one25 used the expression nibambelelek 'uSimakade kunzima ('you who hold on intensely to the LORD in difficulties') and the other opted for the same interpretations of the two Hebrew words. Although this is exegetically possible for both and , none of the published translations referenced used this interpretation. Although it is not the probable interpretation in the cultic context, it is of interest as it reflects a theoretical principle found in Reception Theory:26 the 'gaps' (in meaning in the source text) provide hermeneutic opportunities for the hearers to apply the text in a meaningful way to their personal situations. The two poets who took this interpretation were both experiencing a great deal of difficulty in their personal lives, and it is possible that the more symbolical interpretation was particularly meaningful to them.

2 Insight from Metaphors

One of the poets of Ps 9327 introduced the metaphor of a "lion" into the inclusio frame (cola lc-d) where the Hebrew used the image of being 'girded with strength'. Then the poet re-used the same image with a twist (i.e. a simile instead of a metaphor) in colon 3c. This suggests that the enemy may try to appear strong, but the real lion (or strong one) is the LORD. This seems to be a powerful insight. To emphasise this point, the poet used two different words for 'lion' -the first is linked with royally and the Zulu chief, while the second is the common word for 'lion':

1e. Jehova, uyingonyama28

(LORD, you are the royal lion)

3c. sihlasela kuhle kwebhubesi,

([the enemy] attacks like a [common] lion,)

It is clear that a number of valuable revelations can come to light as people bring their own contexts and creativity into their understandings of biblical texts. Since the participants in this study made their own translations, another layer of richness was added to the truth of the biblical message.

3 Use of a Different Formula

The Hebrew in Ps 134:3c uses the traditional formula 'maker of heaven and earth'. One poet29 replaced this with two expressions in parallel, carrying with them the same broad reference metonymically to the Creator of all. Moreover, in his new formula, the poet introduced parallelism, thereby adding to the rhythm and beauty of the poem, as well as giving extra focus to 3a-b (to which 3c and 3d are in apposition). The use of a demonstrative lo (in 3c) also gives prominence to the agent / topic (in 3a).

3 a. Engathi Inkosi yamakhosi

(May the Lord of lords,)

inganibusisa eyaseSiyoni.

(the One from Zion, may he bless you.)

3b. Engathi anganibusisa,

(May he bless you,)

3c. lo owahlukanisa ubumnyama nokukhanya,

(this one who separates darkness and light,)

3d. owahlukanisa amanzi nolwandle.

(he who separates water and sea.)

4 Step-down Parallelism

Parallelism in Hebrew text often shows a step-up (additive) nature. However, several examples in Zulu show step-down parallelism. For example, from 2b to 2c, from 3a to 3b, and from 3c to 3d in the following poem:30

2b. ninike Inkosi yamakhosi udumo,

(Give31 the Lord of lords praise,)

2c. nimubusise lo aphakeme.

(bless this, the high one.)

3 a. Engathi Inkosi yamakhosi inganibusisa eyaseSiyoni,

(May the Lord of lords, the one from Zion, may he bless you,)

3b. engathi anganibusisa

(may he bless you,)

3c. lo owahlukanisa ubumnyama nokukhanya

(this one who separates darkness and light,)

3d. owahlukanisa amanzi nolwandle.

(he who separates water and sea.)

Another example32 of step-down parallelism is seen in the poem below, from le to If:

1d. Impela, umhlaba uqinile kakhulu,

(Really, the earth is very firm,)

1e. uqinile ungeguquhve yilutho,

(it is firm, nothing can shake it,)

1f ungeguquhve yilutho.

(nothing can shake it.)

As Nida observed in 2003:33 "Some of the Zulu poets are extremely skilled in producing praise poems ..." The presence of the Zulu translator is very apparent in most of the Zulu compositions, but this not only makes the text sound like a Zulu poem, but often yields exegetical insights too.34

5 Adjustments to Maintain the Lineal Rhythm

The rhythm of the poetic line is very important to a Zulu poet, and thus some words may need to be repeated or shortened to maintain a regular rhythm. In Ps 134:2, the Hebrew shows three words in colon 2a and two words in colon 2b.

However, some Zulu poets added words to maintain a regular rhythm over this verse (not a key verse, and thus not requiring a change of rhythm for emphasis). For example:35

2a. Izandla - izandla zonke ziphakame

(Hands - hands all let them lift up)

2b. zidlule ikhanda kophakeme

(above the head to the one above)

2c. nimdumise uJehova

([and] praise the LORD)

One important thing in this example is that the poet has interpreted "the holy" as "the one above" (implying 'in the holy place') and has added the notion of "lifting above" to give emphasis. Moreover, he has used two synonyms for "above" in 2b, thereby giving literary richness to the poem. He has also introduced assonance with the use of ikhanda "head" (not in the Hebrew) to sound beautiful and memorable along with izandla "hands" in colon 2a. The first line (2a) also shows deliberate alliteration. This assonance and alliteration were not present in the Hebrew text.

6 Change of Lineal Rhythm to give Focus to Key Verses

The Hebrew of Ps 134 shows a regular formulation of the poetic line across the psalm, with either 3 or 2 stressed syllables in each strophe.

However, some of the Zulu poets chose to change the rhythm pattern in v.3, to highlight this verse as the key verse in the poem. The example below36shows a regular rhythm in verses 1 and 2 of three stressed syllables per poetic line (marked in bold). This changes in v.3 to four stressed syllables (marked in bold). To achieve these extended lines in cola 3a and 3b, the poet made two ideas explicit, viz. that Zion is a mountain, and the repetition of the verb in 3b (from 3a).

1a. Lalelani!! Busisani Inkosi

(Listen, bless the Lord)

1b. nibe izikhonzi zeNkosi

(all servants of the Lord)

1e. ezi-hlala ethempeli le Nkosi

(who sit in the temple of the Lord)

1d. ebusuku nasemini.

(night and day.)

2a. Phakamisani izandla

(Lift up hands)

2b. endaweni engcwele

(to the holy place,)

2c. niyidumise Inkosi,

([and] bless the Lord)

2d. nibusise Inkosi.

([and] bless the Lord.)

3a. Inkosi mayinbusise entabeni yase Siyoni

(May the LORD bless you on the mountain from Zion)

3b. Mayinibusise owenzile izulu nomhlaba.

(May he bless you, (he) who created heaven and earth.)

7 Use of Tail-Head Linkage for Memorability and Rhythmic Beauty

As Zulu poetry is always performed and heard, it needs to include mnemonic devices to assist the hearer to remember the key ideas. A common device used for this purpose is tail-head linkage, where the last word in one line is repeated as the first word in the next line.

Example37

3a. Makanibusise uSimakade

(May the LORD bless you)

3b. uSimakade owenze umhlaba nezulu.

(the LORD who made earth and heaven.)

Here we see the translator's voice, adding something not seen in the Hebrew text but necessary for Zulu performance.

8 Ideational Rhythm for Memorability and Performability (e.g. as rap)

Zulu poetry utilises many oral devices to help the performer and hearer remember the text easily. In the translation of Ps 145:4-7 below,38 the poet used the 2PS possessive at the end of every line (except for one), facilitating memorability and performability.

4a. Isizukulwane siyakudumisa nezenzo zakho,

(Generations will praise your acts,)

4b. abanye bakhulume ngamandla ezenzo zakho.

(others speak about power of your deeds.)

5a. Ngiyakugxila ekuphakamiseni ubukhosi,

(I will focus on lifting up your majesty,)

5b. nenkazimulo yakho kanye nezimangaliso zezenzo zakho.

(and your glory and wonderful deeds.)

6a. Bayakufakaza ngamandla ezimangaliso zezenzo zakho;

(They will proclaim about the marvellous power of your deeds;)

6b. Ngiyakumemezela ubukhulu bakho.

(I will declare your greatness.)

7a. Bayokukhuluma ngadumo olukhu lomusa wakho

(They will talk about the great fame of your mercy,)

7b. bacule ngobulungiswa bakho.

([and] sing about your justice.)

Thus the Zulu poets' commitment to use their own indigenous features of oral art resulted in biblical texts that are perceived as being genuine Zulu poetry, rather than simply translations.

 

D PRESENCE OF THE PERFORMER

Several features of the performance served to highlight different parts of the translated (Zulu) text. The pace of delivery (of both the rhythm and the enunciation) as well as the combination of various media (song, rap, spoken word) served to highlight key themes and maintain the interest of the audience.

1 Pace of Delivery

In some cases, features of the performance served to highlight a particular verse as being in focus. In a sung version of his translation of Ps 134, the singer significantly increased the beat of the music before colon 3a. He also slowed down the pace as he sang the final words in colon 3b. These two devices gave prominence to verse 3 in the psalm, which is the key verse. The performance greatly added to the communicative effectiveness of the poem.

38

Dickie, "Zulu Song", Item 8 in Appendix lc.

2 Use of Song and Spoken Word

A performance of Ps 93 39 included both song and spoken word, with two different performers presenting their own translations in a complementary way. The use of different media keeps the attention of the audience.

Another performance of Psalm 93 brought together three different translations,40 with the three men interleaving their compositions in a dramatic reading. They tried to use body language to communicate something of the message, as well as a fast pace to capture the rhetorical force, as is typical in Zulu praise poetry. The final cola slows down to emphasise the LORD'S victory "always" (with the slow choral enunciation of njalo-njalo "always").

3 Selection of Cola and Adjustment of Words

Often, the performers adjusted the word order to better fit the musical rhythm. This is important since Zulu is a tonal language, and the musical melody and the tonal melody must be synchronised. Also, the stress of the word needs to match the beat (musical rhythm). Furthermore, the songs usually selected a number of verses or cola, rather than trying to include the entire translated poem. For example, the song from the translation below includes the items in grey. The word in bold in the translation was replaced with a synonym in the song. Only certain colas were included in the song (none from verse 3), and some elements of the translation were adjusted, e.g. 'day and night' in the translation became 'forever and ever'.

One notion is included in the song (in the second last line) which has no equivalent in the biblical psalm nor in the Zulu translation thereof.

Translation41

This example shows the loss of some content in the song. However, this was not always the case; one gifted musician was able to sing the complete psalm.42 Obviously, with practice, the transposing of a poem to a song would improve.

In another performance (one of Ps 145),43 the singer conflated the text of the first two lines of the translation and used that as a chorus, repeated several times. The translation began with the lines:

1a. Ngizokuphakamisa wena Jehova wami Nkosi,

(I will lift you up, you LORD, my king,)

1b. ngizolidumisa igama lakho njalo.

(I will praise your name forever.)

In the performance, the conflation of these two lines became:

Ngizophakamisa igama lakho

(I will lift up your name)

In another performance of Ps 145:1-2,44 the singer included all the words, with some repetition of the word njalo ("always/continually") and the addition of a "nonsense syllable" (at the end of colon 2b) to fit the melody and rhythm. Apart from these small adjustments to the translated text, the song followed the translation. It must be said that this performer, a young woman, is extremely musically talented, and converted the poem into a song within thirty minutes. The melody varied, soaring to high notes on the repetition of colon 1 a. The words were easy to remember, and the singer had the audience clicking along in unison.

The text is as follows:

1a. Ngiyakuphakamisa ubukhulu akho,

(I will lift up your greatness,)

Nkulunkulu wami oyinkosi,

(My God who is the king,)

1b. Ngiyakukubonga njalo-njalo.

(I will thank you continually.)

2a. Ngiyakukubonga onke amalanga,

(I will thank you all the days,)

2b. ngikutuse njalo-njalo.

(I praise you continually [nonsense syllable]).

Thus, the Zulu performer of a biblical text (as probably all performers) feels the liberty to adjust the given text, if necessary, to the needs of the performance. Generally, the meaning was not changed in any significant way, and usually no extraneous ideas were included. One example45 where an idea was included in the song that was not in the translation is given below. The song is based on verses 1, 3, and 4 of Ps 145. The performance text is:

Chorus

Rapper 1:

Chorus (sung) - as above, culminating with "Yeeh! !'"

(Rapper 2)

In this performance, it is clear that the order of content from the three biblical verses has been changed (verse numbers indicated on the left of each line). However, it is only colon 3c (in grey above) which seems to contain content that is not in Ρ s 145, although it can be said to reflect biblical truth.

 

Ε PRESENCE OF THE AUDIENCE

The translated items were performed first before peers, and then before an invited audience of family and friends or the church congregation at a Sunday service. The response, especially in the larger group of a church congregation, was very evident, through clapping, ululating, and the taking of videos. Before the smaller audiences of peers, there was snapping of fingers and joining in with the humming of the performers. The more relaxed environment allowed for greater freedom and participation by the audience.

Interviews with audience members revealed their sense of inclusion in the performances. For example, when asked "What did you like best about the songs?", the response was "They were just songs that you can sing along with."46The meaning of the texts was also considered to be accessible. One audience member noted: "[Most people will enjoy singing the songs] because the translation used is much easier to understand than the original translation we have."47 The performances also were clearly memorable for many audience members. Comments such as the following revealed their métonymie capacity:

"With the message they did using drums, I can even recall the scripture they used... It is not easy to forget the song."48

- "I like many ways of preaching, which involve acting, and it helps people to remember what was said and done."49

- "I think that Zulu people will like to create songs like these because it is ... a way to know the Bible. When we sing it, we remember the verses "50

Others indicated that the songs appealed to them because of their aesthetic power, either through the rhythm or the words. For example, one audience member observed: "I think people enjoyed [it]... because the song's words were catchy, because this song is created in a way that can attract teenagers. And there was also a beat; beats are always catchy, that's why I like it."51

In the church context, the performances preceded the preaching, and the preacher later commented: "Before I preached, they gave me power, because they started first and gave a strong message."52 From his perspective, the performance changed the "spiritual atmosphere" and made his work easier. Certainly, it was noticeable that most people became more alert with the start of the performances. And the performances were considered by the audience to be within the bounds of acceptability of "biblical text". As one noted, "[People will enjoy singing the songs] because of the message and it still is part of the scripture, not something we came up with."53

With the audience engaged and interested in the performances, as was clearly the case, the translation is more likely to become "something talked about and shared with friends".54 It was noted how all the young people in the audience jumped up once the performance began, and made video recordings on their phones of their peers performing. No doubt these performances would be shared with many others, and be a talking point.

Further work needs to be done in this area where the original (Hebrew) text are further transformed in performance. Zulu oral art over past centuries shows that the audience often interacts even vocally with the performer(s), thereby changing the direction of the movement of the text. It is expected that after several hearings of a text, the audience might become familiar with the theme and rhythm and add their own verses. However, it can be said from even the work done thus far, that lack of response from the audience will shut down the performer(s). Zulu audiences are attentive to indicate their enjoyment or otherwise, and the snapping of fingers to praise a clever or beautiful line is common in the performance of Zulu poetry. Conversely, the lack of response is a clear sign to the performer that his/her poem is not being received well.

 

F CONCLUSION

In the oral performance in Zulu of some biblical praise-psalms, four "presences" are evident. As the source text is biblical, it was expected that the voice of the "original author" would be apparent, although being poetry, one would not expect the Zulu translations to follow the form of the Hebrew poetry. The fact that they did, in some cases, is the result of both languages sharing certain poetic devices (such as chiasm, parallelism, assonance, and others) in their poetry. The Zulu poets showed an ability to maintain the literary and rhetorical power of the "original author" while presenting the message in a Zulu way, using rhythm and the typical style of Zulu praise poetry. Their voices were very apparent in the translations, using colourful images that speak to their situations, interpreting Hebrew words within their contemporary contexts, and adjusting the syntax to represent Zulu thought. It is hoped that translators of biblical poetry would explore ways to incorporate all the literary beauty and rhetorical power of the source text, and this study indicates that the inclusion of indigenous poets in the translation process and the application of the literary-rhetorical approach, can significantly help in this direction.

Moreover, when the poets then performed their items, they made further adaptations to fit the performance event. This included adjusting the word-order or choice of words, repeating words to fill the rhythm, selecting portions of the biblical text to have prominence, and so on. The audience also became involved in the performances, participating verbally and non-verbally, and connecting with the text in a meaningful way. Thus this study has also shown that insights from performance criticism should be borne in mind by the translator of biblical poetry. Some of the meanings of the texts can be transmitted using performance features rather than by being limited to words on a page. Also, presenting a biblical psalm through oral performance is far more engaging and memorable than using the traditional medium, and it is hoped that more communicators of the biblical message will experiment with the dynamics of performance, in light of the many benefits that it offers.

Careful translation can facilitate the voice of the original author to sing in the performed text, along with the dance movements of the translator, the innovations of the performer, and the responsiveness of the audience. All four "presences" contribute to the entire experience, and the translator of biblical poetry has all four of these voices available to him/her, to produce a new oral poem with all the lyrical beauty and dynamic persuasive power of the original text.

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Barnstone, Willis. The Poetics of Translation: History, Theory, Practice. New York: Yale Univ. Press, 1993.         [ Links ]

Brueggemann, W. and Bellinger, W.H. Psalms. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014.         [ Links ]

Cope, A. Trevor. Izibongo Zulu Praise Poems. London: Oxford University Press, 1968.         [ Links ]

Dickie, June F. "Zulu Song, Oral Art, Performing the Psalms to Stir the Heart." Ph.D thesis, University of Kwa-Zulu Natal, 2017.         [ Links ]

Foley, John M. The singer of tales in performance. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995.         [ Links ]

Hossfeld, F-L. and Zenger, E. Psalms, volume 2. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2005.         [ Links ]

Nida, Eugene A. Fascinated by Languages. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2003. https://doi.org/10.1075/z.119        [ Links ]

Soukup, Paul A. "Understanding audience understanding." Pages 91-107 in From one medium to another: communicating the Bible through multimedia. Edited by Paul A. Soukup and Robert Hodgson, Kansas City: Sheed & Ward, 1997.         [ Links ]

Wendland, Ernst R. LiFE-Style Translating. Dallas: SIL, 2006.         [ Links ]

 

 

Submitted: 12/01/2018
Peer-reviewed: 02/05/2018
Accepted: 03/05/2018

 

 

June Frances Dickie. University of KwaZulu-Natal. E-mail: iunedickie@gmail.com. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5226-5874.
1 Praise-poetry is used across Africa, but for this article, the focus is on Zulu poetry. However, much of what is said relates equally to other African languages.
2 See A. Trevor Cope, Izibongo Zulu Praise Poems (London: Oxford University Press, 1968).
3 Four workshops were held with four different church/poetry groups, each studying the same three praise-psalms.
4 For more discussion of the Literary-rhetorical method and functional equivalence in translation, see June F. Dickie, "Zulu Song, Oral Art, Performing the Psalms to Stir the Heart" (Ph.D thesis, UKZN), 2017: section 2.6.
5 Foley uses the term "arena" to refer to the physical context of a performance (John M. Foley, The singer of tales in performance [Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995]).
6 Cope, Izibongo, 77, lines 42-44.
7 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Item 19 in Appendix 1b.
8 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Item 20 in Appendix 1c.
9 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Item 6 in Appendix 1b.
10 This translation omits the notion of 'house' from the Hebrew (colon 5b). However, other translations did incorporate the semantic richness in the Hebrew term. See section 2.4.
11 The second pattern is noted by Walter Brueggemann and William H. Bellinger, Psalms (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014), 560.
12 Support for this notion of v.3 being the "peak" of the psalm comes from the following (X, 130): a significant shift of subject to YHWH (doing the blessing), an attributive phrase appositional to YHWH, a key term ('Zion'), a formula ('heaven and earth') and the use of a jussive (after four imperative verbs).
13 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Item 2 in Appendix 1a.
14 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Item 10 in Appendix 1a.
15 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Item 12 in Appendix 1b.
16 F-L. Hossfeld and E. Zenger, Psalms, vol. 2 (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2005), 449. It links back also to the threatening waters before order was first instituted in the Creation, with the separating of the land from the sea (Gen 1:6).
17 Cf. Isa. 57:20; Jer. 49:23.
18 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Item 12 in Appendix lb.
19 See Dickie, "Zulu Song", 76. At that stage, I referred to sound rhythm, poetic rhythm, and musical rhythm, but this paper distinguishes three elements of "poetic rhythm". The four components linked to literary features together comprise "literary rhythm".
20 DO = direct object marker.
21 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Item 21 in Appendix la.
22 The Zulu example shows two imperatives (in la and 2a) and two hortatives (in 2c and 2d). However, a hortative following an imperative has imperative force. The subjunctive in 3a is repeated in 3b for the purposes of rhythm, using parallelism.
23 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Item 21 in Appendix 1a.
24 Barnstone quotes the way the Chinese describe the method of the great Tang poets, viz. working imaginatively while being bound by strictures (Willis Barnstone, The Poetics of Translation: History, Theory, Practice [New York: Yale Univ. Press, 1993], 270).
25 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Item 17 in Appendix la.
26 See Paul A. Soukup, "Understanding audience understanding" in From one medium to another: communicating the Bible through multimedia (eds. Paul A. Soukup and Robert Hodgson; Kansas City: Sheed & Ward, 1997), 103-107.
27 Dickie, "Zulu Song" Item 6 in Appendix 1b.
28 28 Uyingonyama is used as a praise name for the Zulu chief, referring to a special lion, one that is majestic.
29 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Item 23 in Appendix lb.
30 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Item 23 in Appendix lb.
31 Although ninike (2b) and nimubusise (2c) are subjunctives, they carry imperative force as they follow an imperative in 2a (not shown).
32 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Item 19 in Appendix lb.
33 Eugene A. Nida, Fascinated by Languages (Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2003), 82.
34 See section 2.4.
35 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Item 3 in Appendix la.
36 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Item 21 in Appendix la.
37 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Item 17 in Appendix la.
38 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Item 8 in Appendix lc.
39 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Items 28 and 29 in Appendix 1b.
40 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Items 27, 30, and 31 in Appendix 1b.
41 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Item 3 in Appendix la.
42 See for example, Dickie, "Zulu Song", Item 22 in Appendix la and Item 32 in Appendix lc.
43 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Item 8 in Appendix lc.
44 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Item 32 in Appendix 1c.
45 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Song 52 in Appendix 1c.
46 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Interview 9 in Appendix 2c.
47 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Interview 5 in Appendix 2c.
48 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Interview 1 in Appendix 2c.
49 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Interview 3 in Appendix 2c.
50 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Interview 9 in Appendix 2c.
51 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Interview 9 in Appendix 2c.
52 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Interview 3 in Appendix 2c.
53 Dickie, "Zulu Song", Interview 6 in Appendix 2c.
54 Paul A. Soukup, "Understanding audience understanding" in From one medium to another: communicating the Bible through multimedia (ed. Paul A. Soukup and Robert Hodgson; Kansas City: Sheed & Ward, 1997), 106.

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