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Old Testament Essays

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

Old testam. essays vol.32 n.2 Pretoria  2019 



"Be exalted, o God, above the Heavens!" (Psalm 108:6) - Studies in the Book of Psalms and its reception - Presented to Phil J. Botha on his 65th birthday



Gert T. M. Prinsloo; Beat Weber

University of Pretoria




A new psalm had to be composed for new circumstances. It made use of a well-known oracle of God, but in a new political, social, religious, and/or historical context, that oracle had a new message. In a context of praise, it opened a perspective to the future. It emphasized in a new way that God had to bring about the new dispensation, and that he would. They gave the faithful a new historical and cosmological perspective.1

This issue of Old Testament Essays is dedicated to Philippus (Phil) Jacobus Botha on the occasion of his 65th birthday and subsequent retirement from the Department of Ancient and Modern Languages and Cultures at the University of Pretoria. In a publication on Psalm 108 referred to above, Phil Botha defined the poem - a composition based upon Pss 57:8-12 and 60:7-14 - as a new psalm that "had to be composed for new circumstances". It is a great honour for everyone involved in this project to dedicate this issue to our esteemed colleague and friend as he reaches the stage in his life cycle where he inevitably enters new circumstances. It is our sincere wish that the diverse and wide-ranging contributions in this volume will aid him in the process of composing a new life-psalm based upon the many enriching moments he experienced and the many inspirational contributions he made during his long and fruitful academic career.

Phil Botha obtained a BA degree in 1977, majoring in Hebrew and Greek, a BA (Hons) in 1979, specializing in Semitic Languages, a BD in 1980, a Post-Graduate Diploma in Theology in 1981, an MA (Semitic Languages) in 1983, and a DD (Old Testament Studies) in 1987. All the qualifications were obtained cum laude at the University of Pretoria. His MA dissertation in Semitic Languages, titled Polemiese trekke in die Paasfeeshimnes van Afrem die Siriër and his DD thesis in Old Testament Studies, titled Die teologiese funksie van die Torah woordveld in die driehoeksverhouding Jahwe-vrome-vyand in Psalm 119, set the tone for his research interests during his long and fruitful academic career. His extensive list of publications illustrates his keen interest in Patristic literature in general and the work of the Syriac church father, Ephrem, in particular. His dissertation and his many publications in the field signal him as one of the very few Syriac specialists in Africa, while his publications, as well as his participation in numerous international conferences, clearly illustrate that he enjoyed international recognition in the field.

Phil Botha's magisterial doctoral thesis on the psalm of psalms, Psalm 119, cemented his place as an invaluable dialogue partner in the field of Psalter studies in general and wisdom influences in the Book of Psalms in particular. His impressive list of publications on the Book of Psalms, his countless contributions to local and international Hebrew Bible conferences, as well as his current role as co-organizer of the "Writings" programme unit at the Society of Biblical Literature International Meeting all attest to the significant footprint Phil Botha leaves and continues to contribute in the study of the Hebrew Psalter, again both locally and internationally. He indeed made an indelible impact in our scholarly field. Especially during the last decade or so Phil Botha's research endeavours focused on the wisdom influences in Books I and II of the Psalter. He argued that the final editors of the Book of Psalms were associated with wisdom circles in the late Persian and early Hellenistic periods. They were, in turn, influenced by material in the Book of Proverbs. We are looking forward to seeing much more of Phil's meticulous research in this field in the years to come.

Phil Botha's academic career spans almost four decades. He joined the (then) Department of Semitic Languages at the University of Pretoria in 1980 as a part-time lecturer. After a period of two years' compulsory military service he returned to the academic world in 1983 as a researcher in the Centre for Islamic Studies at the Rand Afrikaans University. He joined the Department of Semitic Languages at the University of Pretoria in January 1984 as a full-time lecturer. He was subsequently promoted to senior lecturer (1988), associate professor (1994) and professor (1998). During his long career he made an immense contribution to the University of Pretoria in general, the Faculty of Humanities in particular, and especially in the field of Ancient Near Eastern Languages and Cultures during often painful and difficult processes of change at the university and various amalgamations of departments over a number of years. For his entire academic career, Phil Botha was one of the most prolific authors of scientific publications in his department. He was chair of the departmental research committee for many years and served in the Faculty of Humanities' research and postgraduate committees for almost two decades. He was the Faculty's research information coordinator from 2013 to 2018. Colleagues valued his wisdom, phlegmatic personality, calming influence and unique and dry sense of humour. Most important - Phil Botha inspired successive generations of students by his dedication, humility, sincerity and generosity. His influence on students is clearly visible in the fact that he successfully supervised twenty postgraduate students in the pursuit of their MA dissertations and/or PhD theses. He often served as an external examiner for postgraduate students from other universities. His international and local recognition is attested to by the fact that he has been a National Research Foundation rated researcher since 2002.

In the context of this issue of Old Testament Essays dedicated to Phil Botha, special mention should be made of his immense contribution as editor of this journal. He was the editor-in-chief of the journal for fourteen years, from 1994 to 2009. By the time Phil became editor, Old Testament Essays was the local mouthpiece of the Old Testament Society of South Africa, a journal published once a year, containing mainly local conference contributions. Under his leadership, Old Testament Essays became an internationally recognised scholarly journal, now Scopus indexed, published three times a year, containing at least 20 articles per issue, with up to 40% of each issue contributed by international scholars. For this reason alone we are privileged to dedicate this issue of Old Testament Essays to Phil Botha on the occasion of his 65th birthday.

Honouring Phil Botha as an academic leader will not be complete without honouring Phil Botha, the human being. For his entire academic career he also served his church and community in various capacities. This is attested to by the many contributions he made in popular publications intended for the general public, his involvement in many projects that strove to make the Bible and knowledge about the Biblical social-historical context accessible to everyone interested in studying the Bible, and his invaluable participation in many Bible translation projects, not least of all the new Afrikaans translation project initiated by the South African Bible Society, Die Bybel: 'n Direkte Vertaling, to be published in 2020. Over many years the Department of Ancient and Modern Languages and Cultures received many guests from abroad. Phil Botha always impressed every guest with his hospitality, generosity, kindness, sincerity and caring. As editors we are serious when we claim that what is said about Job in Job 1:1 is true of Phil Botha. He is indeed blameless and upright; he fears God and shuns evil! Above all, Phil Botha is a family man. He cares deeply for his wife Annali and their children and grandchildren. His family provides him with gratitude, pride, and joy. We are privileged that they can all share in our modest attempt to recognise Phil Botha as a special human being.

Gert Prinsloo and Beat Weber acted as guest editors for the present issue. They wish to thank the editor-in-chief, Prof Hulisani Ramantswana, and the article editor, Prof Jaco Gericke, for their unwavering support through the entire process which culminated in the publication of this issue. The editors recognise also the important role Prof Gerrie Snyman (UNISA), Phil Botha's successor as editor-in-chief of Old Testament Essays, played in the realisation of this Festschrift. He provided invaluable information, advice and assistance throughout the project. The project commenced in earnest in March 2018 when Beat Weber suggested during one of his regular visits to the Department of Ancient and Modern Languages and Cultures as one of their valued research associates that Gert Prinsloo and he should initiate a Festschrift for our esteemed colleague and friend. Over many years a special bond developed between Beat Weber and Phil Botha and they participated in some joint research endeavours. Over a period of four decades the three Semitic professors at the University of Pretoria, Henk Potgieter, former head of the Department of Semitic Languages and later the Department of Ancient Languages and Cultures, Gert Prinsloo and Phil Botha forged a special friendship, collaborated in many research projects, and endeavoured in many ways to instil in their students a love for the Ancient Near Eastern Languages in general and the Hebrew Bible in particular. A significant number of those students are now academics in their own right. Henk and Gert, and we are convinced scores of students we taught during the last four decades, remember the many hours we could spend with Phil, both socially and in earnest academic discussions, with gratitude.

Right from the start, the decision was made to invite international and local scholars working in the field of the Psalter and who had a specific and special relationship with the honouree to contribute to the volume. The guest editors were overwhelmed by and extremely grateful for the reaction by everyone that has been approached. The present issue is the result of that initial initiative and the positive reaction by the invited authors. The issue contains twenty-three contributions, eleven by authors from South African universities and twelve from abroad, many of them also with special links with South African universities. The contributions all focus on the study of the Psalter, ranging from studies on single psalms to the reception of the Psalter in contemporary rock music.

The issue is divided into two sections. In the first section, the focus is upon individual psalms. Johann Cook (University of Stellenbosch) compares Ps 39 (LXX 38) in its Hebrew and Greek form, departing from the question whether it can be classified as a retributive psalm. Gianni Barbiero (Pontificial Biblical Institute) argues that Ps 41:14 constitutes an inherent part of Ps 41 and should not be regarded as a redactional addition. Sigrid Eder (Katholische Privat-Universität Linz, Austria) investigates the chances and limits of narrative psalm analysis with her narratological analysis of Ps 64. W. Dennis Tucker, Jr. (Baylor University, USA) indicates that although Book IV of the Psalter (Pss 90-106) responds to the events of the exile, Ps 92 nevertheless confesses that the world remains well-ordered under YHWH's rule. Susanne Gillmayr-Bucher (Katholische Privat-Universität Linz, Austria) traces and analyses the various possibilities to interpret the images of the rivers and majestic waters in Ps 93:34. Henk Potgieter (University of Pretoria) argues that various already existing poetic compositions have been incorporated in Ps 116. While the psalm can be regarded as an anthology, it is nevertheless a unique composition. Madipoane Masenya (Ngwan'a Mphahlele) (University of South Africa) compares Ps 127:35 to a number of African/South African proverbs to reveal an underlying worldview that sets great store by large families and the celebration of women's roles as mothers. With reference to Ps 128, Hendrik Viviers (University of Johannesburg) illustrates that a material place is not only shaped physically and psychologically/spiritually by its inhabitants, but in turn also shapes them. Susan Gillingham (University of Oxford, UK) traces the reception of Ps 137 in Jewish and Christian circles and argues that it reveals different approaches to suffering. Huli Ramantswana (University of South Africa) engages in a decolonial reading of Ps 137 in the light of South Africa's struggle songs. Finally, David Firth (Trinity College Bristol, UK) proposes a unified reading of Ps 139 which uses ambiguity as a central technique for developing different experiences for those who pray this psalm within the subgroup of the prayers of the accused.

In the second section, the focus shifts to groups of psalms, and the Psalter and its relations to books, themes and theologies. Phillip Sumpter (Nazareth Evangelical College, Israel) engages in a synchronic reading of Pss 1-14 in order to demonstrate the logic of the arrangement of the group of poems. Bernard Gosse (Antony, France) argues that the so-called first Davidic Psalter (Pss 3-41) reaffirms the Davidic Messiah and reveals the influence of the Book of Proverbs, especially Prov 30:1-14 in its emphasis on Yhwh as the champion for the plight of the poor. Lodewyk Sutton (University of the Free State) engages in an intertextual reading of the concept of darkness in Pss 88 and 139 from the perspective of anthropological space. Beat Weber (Basel/University of Pretoria) investigates the concept of the (war)bow in two Asaph psalms (Pss 76; 78) and Hos 1-2, 7 to argue that the intertextual commonalities signal a common prophetic-levitic-northern Israelite environment. Pieter van der Lugt (Dokkum, The Netherlands) engages in a detailed synchronic analysis of Pss 90-100 to argue that the eleven poems constitute a literary cycle consisting of two sub-cycles of five poems each. Gert Prinsloo (University of Pretoria) conducts an intertextual reading of the poetic "twins," Pss 111 and 112 and concludes that Ps 112 is deliberately composed according to the "pattern" of Ps 111 and can be interpreted as a "midrash" on Ps 112. Nancy deClaissé-Walford (Mercer University, USA) analyses the role of Pss 135-137 in the shape and shaping of Book V of the Psalter. She argues that their assurance of Yahweh's presence and provisions allow David, in Psalms 138-145, to lead the postexilic people in blessing, praise, and thanks to the sovereign God. Johannes Bremer (Theologische Fakultät Trier, Germany) investigates the neglected topic of "land" in the Book of Psalms. Herrie van Rooy (North-West University) explores the place of Manuscript 18>8dt1 in the history of the East Syriac Psalm headings to demonstrate the originality of many of the readings in this manuscript. Jaqueline du Toit (University of the Free State) compares popular examples of children's Bibles from two distinct traditions (Jewish American children's Bibles and Afrikaans children's Bibles) to argue that such Bibles are relevant for modern readerships in the deceptive simplicity of their textual engagement and their close alliance to the everyday. Jaco Gericke (North-West University) investigates the concept of divine justice from a philosophical point of view to indicate how concepts, concerns and categories in the analytic philosophy of properties can be used to update, refine and expand the explanatory framework for discussing related texts in the Book of Psalms on their own terms. Finally, Christo Lombaard (University of South Africa) explores different notions of the Psalter's ancient musicality and their later musical reception, specifically in Bono's Psalmic spirituality.

With this diverse collection of essays on the Book of Psalms we all, editors and contributors, dedicate this issue of Old Testament Essays with deep appreciation of and heartfelt gratitude to our friend and colleague.


Publications of Phil J. Botha

During his long career spanning almost four decades, Phil Botha (ORCID ID: contributed extensively in the field of Hebrew Bible and Syriac Patristic Studies. These publications attest to his academic citizenship, but also to his acute awareness that our academic endeavours should also be made accessible to the general public. In the context of this volume dedicated to him, we shall not list his numerous publications intended for general readership. We will concentrate on his so-called "scientific," peer-reviewed publications.


Contributions in peer-reviewed, accredited journals

2019 Together with Weber, B. "'The Lord is my light and my salvation ...' (Ps 27:1): Psalm 27 in the Literary Context of Psalms 25-34." Journal of Northwest Semitic Languages 45/2: forthcoming.

2019 "Psalm 32: A social-scientific investigation." Old Testament Essays 32/1: 12-31.

2018 "Psalm 5 and the polarity between those who may stand before Yahweh and those who may not." HTS Theological Studies 74/1:

2018 "Psalm 4 and the poor in the post-exilic province of Judah: A textual and contextual reading." Journal of North-West Semitic Languages 44/2: 2339.

2018 "Psalm 62: Prayer, accusation, declaration of innocence, self-motivation, sermon, or all of these?" Acta Theologica 38/2: 32-48.

2017 "Psalm 39 and its Place in the Development of a Doctrine of Retribution in the Hebrew Bible." Old Testament Essays 30/2: 240-264.

2017 "Psalm 55 Interpreted in View of its Textual, Metatextual and Intertextual Connections." Scandinavian Journal for the Old Testament 31/1: 131154.

2016 "Psalm 101: A supplication for the restoration of society in the late post-exilic age. HTS Theological Studies 72/4:

2016 "True Happiness in the Presence of YHWH: The Literary and Theological Context for Understanding Psalm 16." Old Testament Essays 29/1: 61-84.

2015 "Ephrem the Syrian's hymn On the Crucifixion 4." HTS Theological Studies 71/3:

2015 "Following the 'Tracks of Righteousness' of Psalm 23." Old Testament Essays 28/2: 283-300.

2014 "Psalm 32 as a wisdom intertext." HTS Theological Studies 70/1:

2014 "The Exegesis and Polemical Use of Ps 110 by Ephrem the Syriac-speaking Church Father." Old Testament Essays 27/2: 395-411.

2014 Together with Kritzinger, J. P. K. "The significance of the second cave episode in the Vita Malchi." HTS Theological Studies 70/1:

2013 Together with Kritzinger, J. P. K. "Rhetoric and argument in Chapter VI of Jerome's Vita Malchi." Ekklesiastikos Pharos 95: 283-293.

2013 "'I am like a green olive tree': The wisdom context of Psalm 52." HTS Theological Studies 69/1: 1-8.

2013 "Orthodox Ventriloquism in the Pseudo-Ephremic Sermon on Palm Sunday (Ephrem the Syrian, Sermones II, Sermon 3)." Journal of Early Christian History 3/2: 21-34.

2013 "Psalm 53 in Canonical Perspective." Old Testament Essays 26/3: 583606.

2012 "Interpreting 'Torah' in Psalm 1 in the light of Psalm 119." HTS Theological Studies 68/1: 1-7.

2012 "Pride and the suffering of the poor in the Persian period: Psalm 12 in its Post-Exilic context." Old Testament Essays 25/1: 40-56.

2012 "Psalm 91 and its wisdom connections." Old Testament Essays 25/2: 260276.

2011 "Poetry and Perlocution in Psalm 26." Old Testament Essays 24/1: 30-48.

2010 "Psalm 108 and the Quest for Closure to the Exile." Old Testament Essays 23/3: 574-596.

2010 Together with Potgieter, J. H. '"The Word of Yahweh is right' - Psalm 33 as a Torah-psalm." Verbum et Ecclesia 31/1: 1-8.

2009 "Answers Disguised as Questions: Rhetoric and Reasoning in Psalm 24." Old Testament Essays 22/3: 535-553.

2008 "Annotated History - The Implications of Reading Psalm 34 in Conjunction with 1 Samuel 21-26 and Vice Versa." Old Testament Essays 21/3: 593-617.

2008 Together with Weber, B. "'Killing them softly with this song The literary structure of Psalm 3 and its Psalmic and Davidic contexts. Part I: An intratextual interpretation of Psalm 3." Old Testament Essays 21/1: 18-37.

2008 Together with Weber, B. "'Killing Them Softly with this Song ...': The Literary Structure of Psalm 3 and Its Psalmic and Davidic Contexts. Part II: A Contextual and Intertextual Interpretation of Psalm 3." Old Testament Essays 21/2: 273-297.

2008 "The Poet as Preacher: St. Ephrem the Syrian's Hymn De Virginitate XXXI as a Coherent, Aesthetic, and Persuasive Poetic Discourse." Acta Patristica et Byzantina 19: 44-72.

2007 "A comparison between the Comments on Daniel in the Syriac Commentary on the Diatessaron and the Syriac Commentary on Daniel." Acta Patristica et Byzantina 18: 1-13.

2007 "The relationship between Psalms 25 and 37." Old Testament Essays 20/3: 543-566.

2006 "Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Mary - the bold women in Ephrem the Syrian's hymn 'De Nativitate 9'." Acta Patristica et Byzantina 17: 1-21.

2006 "The polarity of honour and shame in Ephrem the Syrian's Hymns on Easter." Ekklesiastikus Pharos 88: 320-329.

2006 "The reception of Daniel Chapter 2 in the commentary ascribed to Ephrem the Syrian Church Father." Acta Patristica et Byzantina 17: 119-143.

2005 "Intertextuality and the interpretation of Psalm 1." Old Testament Essays 18/3: 503-520.

2005 "The ideological interface between Psalm 1 and Psalm 2." Old Testament Essays 18/2: 189-203.

2005 "The interpretation of Daniel 3 in the Syriac Commentary ascribed to Ephrem the Syrian." Acta Patristica et Byzantina 16: 29-53.

2004 "Psalm 101: Inaugural address or social code of conduct?" HTS Theological Studies 60/3: 725-741.

2004 "Psalm 67 in its literary and ideological context." Old Testament Essays 17/3: 365-379.

2004 "The poetic structure and strategy of Psalm 79." Verbum etEcclesia 25/2: 357-377.

2004 "The textual strategy and ideology of Psalm 36." Old Testament Essays 17/3: 506-520.

2004 "The textual strategy of Ephrem the Syrian's hymn 'Contra Haereses' I." Acta Patristica et Byzantina 15: 57-75.

2003 "An analysis of Ephrem the Syrian's views on the temptation of Christ as exemplified in his hymn 'De Virginitate' XII." Acta Patristica et Byzantina 14: 39-57.

2003 Together with Botha, H. "A poetic analysis of Ephrem the Syrian's Hymn 'De Azymis' XIII." Acta Patristica et Byzantina 14: 21-38.

2003 "Psalm 118 and social values in Ancient Israel." Old Testament Essays 16/2: 195-215.

2003 "Social values in the book of Obadiah." Old Testament Essays 16/3: 581597.

2002 "A social-scientific reading of Psalm 129." HTS Theological Studies 58/4: 1401-1414.

2002 "'The honour of the righteous will be restored': Psalm 75 in its social context." Old Testament Essays 15/2: 320-334.

2002 "The paradox between appearance and truth in Ephrem the Syrian's hymn 'De Crucifixione' IV." Acta Patristica et Byzantina 13: 34-49.

2002 "The textual strategy and social background of Psalm 64 as keys to its interpretation." Journal for Semitics 11/1: 64-82.

2001 "Contrast and contrivance in Ephrem the Syrian's hymn De Virginitate XLIV." Acta Patristica et Byzantina 12: 30-40.

2001 "Honour and shame as keys to the interpretation of Malachi." Old Testament Essays 14/3: 392-403.

2001 "Social values and the interpretation of Psalm 123." Old Testament Essays 14/2: 189-198.

2000 "Isaiah 37:21-35: Sennacherib's siege of Jerusalem as a challenge to the honour of Yahweh." Old Testament Essays 13/3: 269 282.

2000 "Psalm 54: The power of positive patterning." Skrif en Kerk 21/2: 507516.

2000 "Social values and textual strategy in Ephrem the Syrian's sixth hymn on the fast." Acta Patristica et Byzantina 11: 22-32.

2000 Together with Dickson, C. R. "The role and portrayal of the king in Esther." Old Testament Essays 13/2: 156-173.

1999 "Honour and shame as pivotal values in Ephrem the Syrian's vision of Paradise." Acta Patristica et Byzantina 10: 47-62.

1999 "Shame and the social setting of Psalm 119." Old Testament Essays 12/3: 389-400.

1999 "The socio cultural background of Ezekiel 19." Old Testament Essays 12/2: 249-265.

1998 "Die konsep van eer as sleutel tot die interpretasie van Psalm 133." Skrif en Kerk 19/1: 1-10.

1998 "Polarity and divine economy in Ephrem's hymn 'De Crucifixione' V." Acta Patristica et Byzantina 9: 24-35.

1998 "The 'Enthronement Psalms': A claim to the world wide honour of Yahweh." Old Testament Essays 11/1: 24-39.

1998 "To honour Yahweh in the face of adversity: A socio critical analysis of Psalm 131." Skrif en Kerk 19/2: 525-533.

1997 "Textual strategy in a fourth century Syriac hymn on the life of the ascetic Abraham of Kidun." Acta Patristica et Byzantina 8: 42-52.

1997 "The social setting and strategy of Psalm 34." Old Testament Essays 10/2: 178-197.

1996 "The textual strategy and intent of the Bar Rakib inscription." Journal for Semitics 8/1: 1-11.

1996 "Argument and art in Ephrem the Syrian's Hymn 'De Fide' LXXVIII." Acta Patristica et Byzantina 7: 21-36.

1996 "The ideology of shame in the Wisdom of Ben Sira: Ecclesiasticus 41:1442:8." Old Testament Essays 9/3: 353-371.

1996 "Through the figure of a woman many have perished: Ben Sira's view of women." Old Testament Essays 9/1: 20-34.

1995 "Ephrem the Syrian's treatment of Tamar in comparison to that in Jewish sources." Acta Patristica et Byzantina 6: 15-26.

1995 "Ironie as sleutel tot die verstaan van Psalm 14." Skrif en Kerk 16/1: 1627.

1994 "Psalm 24: Unity in diversity." Old Testament Essays 7/3: 360-369.

1994 "The significance of the senses in St Ephrem's description of Paradise." Acta Patristica et Byzantina 5: 28-37.

1993 "Cleansing of the eye: spiritual vision and the fast in Ephrem's hymns 'De Ieiunio'." Acta Patristica et Byzantina 4: 13-22.

1993 "Ephrem's comparison of the Father/Son relationship to the relationship between a tree and its fruit in his hymns 'On Faith'." Acta Patristica et Byzantina 4: 23-32.

1993 "The communicative function of comparison in Hosea." Old Testament Essays 6/1: 57-71.

1992 "A comparison between Aphrahat and Ephrem on the subject of Passover." Acta Patristica et Byzantina 3: 46-62.

1992 "God in a garment of words: The metaphor of metaphoric language in Ephrem the Syrian's hymn 'On Faith' XXXI." Acta Patristica et Byzantina 3: 63-79.

1992 "The function of the polarity between the pious and the enemies in Psalm 119." Old Testament Essays 5/2: 252-263.

1992 "The rhetoric function of polarity in one of Ephrem the Syrian's hymns on the church." Journal for Semitics 3/2: 188-201.

1991 "The junction of the two ways: the structure and theology of Psalm 1." Old Testament Essays 4/3: 381-396.

1991 "The poetic face of rhetoric: Ephrem's polemics against the Jews and heretics in Contra Haereses XXV." Acta Patristica et Byzantina 2: 16-36.

1991 "The structure and function of paradox in the hymns of Ephrem the Syrian." Ekklesiastikos Pharos 73: 50-62.

1990 "Polarity: The theology of anti-Judaism in Ephrem the Syrian's hymns on Easter." HTS Theological Studies 46: 36-46.

1990 "Theological progress and artistic regress in the hymns on Abraham Kidunaya attributed to St Ephrem." Acta Patristica et Byzantina 1: 77-98.

1989 "Christology and apology in Ephrem the Syrian." HTS Theological Studies 45/1: 19-29.

1989 "Resepsieteorie - konkurrent of komplement van die teksimmanente eksegese?" Skrif en Kerk 10/2: 113-127.

1989 "The measurement of meaning - an exercise in field semantics." Journal for Semitics 1/1: 88-107.

1988 "Antithesis and argument in the hymns of Ephrem the Syrian." HTS Theological Studies 44/4: 581-595.

1987 "Abraham according to Muhammad and Muhammad in accordance with Abraham on the use of a Christian principle against Judaism and Christianity in the Qur'an." Journal for Islamic Studies 7: 67-87.

1983 "Islam in China: a general survey." Journal for Islamic Studies 3: 53-81.


Publications in peer-reviewed, accredited conference proceedings

2012 "Psalm 34 and the ethics of the editors of the Psalter." In Human, D. J. (ed.), Psalmody and Poetry in Old Testament Ethics (Library of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies 572). London: T&T Clark, 56-75.

2010 "Ephrem the Syrian's fictitious use of the epistolary form in his 'First Discourse for Hypatius"'. In Baranov, V., Kazuhiko D. and Basil L. (eds.), Patrologia Pacifica: Selected Papers Presented to the Asia Pacific Early Christian Studies Society (Scrinium: Revue de patrologie, d'hagiographie critique et d'histoire ecclésiastique 6). Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press and Axioma, 44-60.

2007 Intertextuality and the Interpretation of Psalm 1." In Human, D. J. (ed.), Psalms and Mythology (Library of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies 462). London: T&T Clark, 58-76.

2007 "The Relevance of the Book of Daniel for Fourth-Century Christianity According to the Commentary Ascribed to Ephrem the Syrian." In Bracht, K. and Du Toit, D. S. (eds.), Die Geschichte der Daniel-Auslegung im Judentum, Christentum und Islam. Studien zur Kommentierung des Danielbuches in Literatur und Kunst (Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 371). Berlin: de Gruyter, 100-122.

2000 "'No king like him...' Royal etiquette according to the Deuteronomistic Historian." In de Moor, J. C. and van Rooy, H. F. (eds.), The Deuteronomistic History & the Prophets (Oudtestamentische Studien 44). Leiden: Brill, 36-49.

1996 "Original sin and sexism: St Ephrem's attitude towards Eve." In Livingstone, E. A. (ed.), Augustine and his opponents, Jerome, Other Latin Fathers after Nicaea, Orientalia (Studia Patristica 33). Leuven: Peeters, 483-489.

1993 "The theology of totality. Ephrem's use of the particle kul (all)." In Livingstone, E. A. (ed.), Biblica et Apocrypha, Orientalia, Ascetica: Papers presented at the Eleventh International Conference on Patristic Studies held in Oxford 1991 (Studia Patristica 25). Leuven: Peeters, 223228.

1986 "2 Samuel 7 against the background of Ancient Near Eastern memorial inscriptions." In van Wyk, W. C. (ed.), Studies in the succession narrative. OTWSA 27 (1984) and OTWSA 28 (1985), 62-78.


Chapters in books and lexicon articles

2014 "'Wealth and Riches Are in His House' (Ps 112:3): Acrostic Wisdom Psalms and the Development of Antimaterialism." In deClaissé-Walford, N. L. (ed.), The Shape and Shaping of the Book of Psalms: The Current State of Scholarship (Ancient Israel and Its Literature 20). Atlanta, GA: SBL Press, 105-128.

2011 "Freedom to roam in a Wide Open Space. Psalm 31 Read in Conjunction with the History of David in the Books of Samuel and the Psalms." In Dietrich, W. (ed.), Seitenblicke. Literarische und historische Studien zu Nebenfiguren im zweiten Samuelbuch (Orbis Biblicus et Orientalis 249). Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht / Fribourg: Academic Press, 424442.

2010 "A World Firmly Established on Water: The Wisdom Foundations of Psalm 24:1-2." In Fischer, S. and Grohmann, M. (eds.), Weisheit und Schöpfung. Festschrift für James Alfred Loader zum 65. Geburtstag (Wiener Alttestamentliche Studien 7). Frankfurt a. M.: Peter Lang, 43-58.

2009 "Dichtung / Dichten / Dichter." In Wischmeyer, O. (ed.), Lexikon der Bibelhermeneutik (LBH). Berlin: de Gruyter, 132-133.

2009 "Glaube, alttestamentlich." In Wischmeyer, O. (ed.), Lexikon der Bibelhermeneutik (LBH). Berlin: de Gruyter, 221.

Guest editors:

Prof Gert T. M. Prinsloo, Department of Ancient and Modern Languages and Cultures, University of Pretoria, South Africa, Email ORCID ID:

Dr Beat Weber, Basel (Switzerland), Research Associate of the Department of Ancient and Modern Languages and Cultures, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa, Email ORCID ID:


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

Article editor:

Prof Jaco Gericke, Theology Group, North-West University, South Africa, Email ORCID ID:



1 Phil J. Botha, "Psalm 108 and the Quest for Closure to the Exile," OTE 23/3 (2010): 574-596 (593).

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