Old Testament Essays - latest Issue
Volume 29, Issue 1, 2016
Author Gerrie F. SnymanSource: Old Testament Essays 29, pp 9 –10 (2016)More Less
Old Testament Essays (New Series) is an instrument through which scholars can publish their research in the field of the Old Testament or Hebrew Bible. Its readers are members of the Old Testament Society of South Africa, scholars in Africa, and the rest of the world interested in the Old Testament in general as well as in (South) African biblical scholarship. The primary aim of the journal is to propagate the study of the Old Testament in (South) Africa from various points of view as well as within numerous fields related to the study of the Old Testament.
"Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live" (Exod 22:18) and contemporary Akan Christian belief and practice : a translational and hermeneutical problemAuthor Yaw Adu-GyamfiSource: Old Testament Essays 29, pp 11 –32 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.17159/2312-3621/2016/v29n1a3More Less
The King James Version (KJV) of Exod 22:18, "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live," has been used by some contemporary ordinary Akan Christians in Ghana to justify praying for the death and destruction of witches and wizards. Instructions such as "Pray for the death of any witch in your family or business; pray that Holy Ghost fire will consume any witch holding your destiny," have become a common statement at some Akan Christian prayer meetings in Ghana. This article seeks to show this belief and practice is a translational and hermeneutical problem because the Hebrew word תפּשּׂבֿטּ which the KJV translates as "witch" and subsequently translated in early Asante Bible as obayifo2 is a representational term used by the redactor of Exod 22:18 to reflect the semantic range of idolatrous practices condemned by YHWH among the Israelites. The article also purports to show that the phrase תּההאּלּ does not necessarily mean to kill the offender, and that the prohibition can be understood as being essentially religious rather than merely legal.
What is he doing at the gate? understanding Proverbs 31:23 and its implications for responsible manhood in the context of African societiesAuthor Joel T. K. BiwulSource: Old Testament Essays 29, pp 33 –60 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.17159/2312-3621/2016/v29n1a4.More Less
The poem appearing in the epilogue of the book of Proverbs (Prov 31:10-31) is classically a paean poem that eulogises the outstanding qualities of the female figure assumedly portrayed as an epitome of womanhood. This article seeks to address the unbalanced portrayal of the couple in the paean by inviting readers to pay close attention to the mention of the male figure in vv. 11, 23, 28-29 and to discover his salient role often glossed over or overlooked by interpreters. It draws attention to the civilised and humane personality of this male figure who, suggestively, is to be seen to serve as the architect of the achievements and public praise of his wife, given the patrilocal and patriarchal context of ancient Israel. In view of this, it is argued, he also deserves to elicit praise. By implication, it also invites the contemporary African male figure, particularly the Nigerian one, to follow the legacy of this husband by exhibiting the characteristics of responsible African manhood as he functions as husband and father.
True happiness in the presence of YHWH : the literary and theological context for understanding Psalm 16Author Phil J. BothaSource: Old Testament Essays 29, pp 61 –84 (2016)More Less
This article attempts to interpret Ps 16 as part of the cluster of Psalms 15-24, but also as a Torah-wisdom psalm. Hossfeld and Zenger have argued that Ps 16 was added to this cluster simultaneously with Pss 19 and 23, but that this happened quite some time before Ps 1 was composed to serve (together with Ps 2) as the preface to the whole Psalter. It is proposed here that Ps 16 is a Torahwisdom composition which exemplifies true blessedness as compliance with the Torah of YHWH in contentedness with one's lot in life. It thus represents the kind of piety also portrayed in other Torahwisdom psalms such as Pss 1, 19, 23 and 73. It is consequently suggested that Ps 16 is much closer to Ps 1 in time of origin and teaching as has been accepted until now. This does have implications for its interpretation.
Author Jaco W. GerickeSource: Old Testament Essays 29, pp 85 –99 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.17159/2312-3621/2016 /v29n1a6More Less
This article takes a closer look at how the so-called Analytic-Continental divide within meta-philosophy has manifested itself within various forms of "philosophical criticism" of the HB. It is argued that, based on data collected from recent related conferences, there is evidence of influence from both sides of the divide within both broad/narrow and explicit/implicit types of philosophical criticism. However, in contrast to tense relations elsewhere in generic philosophy, the interdisciplinary intersection of biblical scholarship,philosophy of religion and Jewish philosophy appears to display a general acceptance of methodological diversity.
Mothers and their children as victims in war : Amos 1:13 against the background of the ancient near EastAuthor Paul A. KrugerSource: Old Testament Essays 29, pp 100 –115 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.17159/2312-3621/2016/v29n1a7.More Less
This article investigates a war atrocity mentioned in Amos 1:13, viz. "ripping open pregnant women." Twice the combination "ripping open pregnant women" appears in close proximity with "dashing in pieces the little ones" (2 Kgs 8:12; Hos 14:1). The latter topic is also occasionally referred to in other prophetic passages (Isa 13:16; Nah 3:10). After the presentation of comparable evidence from a variety of ANE literary genres, it is concluded that these types of literary to poi were not essentially meant to convey a historical truth. They were rather employed as rhetorical devices to amplify the seriousness of the given (war) scenario.
Daniel at the beauty pageant and Esther in the lion's den : literary intertextuality and shared motifs between the books of Daniel and EstherAuthor Michael Daniel MatthewSource: Old Testament Essays 29, pp 116 –132 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.17159/2312-3621/2016/v29n1a8.More Less
The present paper reads the books of Esther and Daniel as polemic writings of the Persian period which subtly seek to undermine the rhetoric of each other. Since the postexilic environment posed an enormous challenge to the Jewish identity, the great need to preserve this identity became a reoccurring motif in most postexilic compositions. Crystallizing this postexilic discourse, however, the books of Esther and Daniel propose two opposing attitudes to the problem of Jewish identity. While the book of Esther generally advocates the extreme adoption and even marriage to these foreign cultures, the book of Daniel particularly its narrative section (1-6) rejects this particular perspective, and largely promotes a defiant disposition towards the dominant culture. Through intertextual connections, the paper engages the various motifs in Esther, and notes also the subtle engagement and even subversion of these motifs in Daniel.
Author Ndikho MtshiselwaSource: Old Testament Essays 29, pp 133 –150 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.17159/2312-3621/2016/v29n1a9.More Less
It is generally accepted by Latino/a biblical scholars, namely, Fernando F. Segovia and Alejandro F. Botta, among others, that both the historical-critical methods and the contextual approaches are equally important in the reading of the HB. First, this paper argues that Lev 25:8-55 contains verses (cf. Lev 25:10, 39-40 and 54-55) which are ascribed to the Deuteronomistic writers (D) but which were re-used by the authors of the Holiness Code (H). Second, because the absolute noun, רּפּשּׂ "hired labourer" and the qal verb, לּבֿץ "to work" in Lev 25:40 refer to the working-class people, the context(s) from which the text of Lev 25:8-55 emerged will be investigated in relation to the working-class people. Third, the paper probes the relevance of Lev 25:8-55 to Ernesto "Che" Guevara's discourse of the experiences of the working-class people and Segovia's reading of the HB in the light of such experiences. It is argued in this paper that H's concern for social justice for the working-class people can throw light on the reading of the ancient texts, particularly from the perspective of the Latino/a biblical criticism, and more importantly, that such a reading could also have implications for the working-class people of South Africa.
Author Sakkie (I.J.J.) SpangenbergSource: Old Testament Essays 29, pp 151 –175 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.17159/2312-3621/2016/v29n1a10.More Less
The author of Ps 73 and the author of Qoheleth both underwent experiences that did not accord with the traditional wisdom paradigm. The author of Qoheleth stated that he saw how the righteous suffered an early death while the wicked grew old (Qoh 7:15). The author of Ps 73 saw how impious folks experienced health, wealth and prosperity, while he "kept his heart pure and his hands clean" (Ps 73:13). Both authors tried to come to terms with these contradictions in life. One wrote a whole book, the other a poem, and both of them made use of quotations to argue their case. However, while the author of Qoheleth undermined the traditional wisdom paradigm, the author of Ps 73 tried to keep it intact. The author of Qoheleth concluded that nothing made sense; everything was futile, especially if the doctrine of retribution is used as a benchmark. The author of Ps 73, on the other hand, followed another route. He redefined the outcomes of shalom. In doing this, he successfully kept the traditional wisdom paradigm intact.
Reimagining a solitary landscape : tracing communities of care in Exodus 1-2 and the film Shirley AdamsSource: Old Testament Essays 29, pp 176 –194 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.17159/2312-3621/2016/v29n1a11.More Less
The 2009 film, Shirley Adams, directed by the South African director, Oliver Hermanus, depicts Shirley as the lone caregiver to her son, a victim of gang violence on the Cape Flats (South Africa) which rendered him physically disabled and emotionally scared. The film is used as a lens to explore the intersectionality of poverty, violence, gender, class, race, and disability within the South African society. The film's intimate portrayal of Shirley in her efforts to care for her son leaves the viewer without any illusion of the problems facing caregivers. Shirley's solitary effort to embody hope in a stark situation of despair is contrasted with the life giving possibilities contained within so called "communities of care." The community in Exod 1-3 that forms around Moses as identified by Feminist Biblical Scholars is used as an illuminating example. This paper explores the intertextual dialogue between two seemingly distant texts as Shirley Adams enters into creative conversation with aimaginative group of women creating a community of care around one who is helpless and vulnerable. The essay facilitates this interaction between film and Bible text by dynamically shifting in focus between the two distant story landscapes and in the process ultimately imagines an alternative reality for the seemingly isolated Shirley Adams.
Gelobt sei der HERR, mein Fels ...! (Ps 144,1) Wirkung und Bedeutung von Psalm 18 (// 2 Samuel 22) im Nachfeld des PsaltersSource: Old Testament Essays 29, pp 195 –220 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.17159/2312-3621/2016/v29n1a12.More Less
In hermeneutischen Vorüberlegungen wird die Bedeutung des Psalters als Buch und entsprechend die Wahrnehmung der Psalmen in ihrer Abfolge (lectio continua) begründet. Der davidische Psalter enthält zudem einen Rezeptionsvektor zurück zu den Geschichtserzählungen der Samuelbücher. Neben Angaben in den Psalmpräskripten ist die Doppelgestalt des königlich-davidischen Danklieds 2 Sam 22 // Ps 18 wesentlicher Bestandteil dieses Rezeptionsgefälles. Ergänzend zu Studien, die das textliche Vorfeldvon Ps 18 untersuchten, widmet sich dieser Beitrag dessen Nachfeld (Ps 19-150). Dazu werden im Blick auf Ps 18 Wiederaufnahmen von Gattung (Königspsalmen) sowie von Begriffen und Motiven (Zuflucht, Rettung, Theophanie u. a.) erarbeitet. Solche finden sich vornehmlich im Nahkontext (Ps 19-21), in einigen (weisheitlichen) Psalmen im ersten Davidpsalter, am Ende von Teilbuch II und III(Ps 71-72; 89) sowie zu Beginn und gegen Schluss der Teilbücher IV-V (Ps 91; 94 und besonders 144). Im Buchfortlauf ist dabei eine Umgewichtung in Richtung Entmilitarisierung, Theologisierung und verstärkt betonter Frömmigkeit festzustellen.
In a preliminary hermeneutic deliberation, the meaning of the Psalter as a book and the importance of perceiving the individual psalms in sequence (lectio continua) is established. The Davidic Psalter furthermore contains a reception vector "back" to the historical narratives in the books of Samuel. In addition to details provided in the psalm headings, the duplicated transmission of the royal Davidic song of thanksgiving, 2 Sam 22 // Ps 18, forms an integral part of this reception connection. In addition to studies that have investigated the textual "prelude" of Ps 18, this article addresses the "postlude" (Ps 19-150). For this purpose, recurrences of Gattung (royal psalms) and of concepts and motifs (refuge, rescue, theophany, etc.) are worked out in view of Ps 18. These are found predominantly in the immediate context (Ps 19-21); in a number of (sapiential) psalms in the first Davidic Psalter; at the end of Books II and III (Ps 71-72; 89); and at the beginning and towards the end of Books IV-V (Ps 91; 94 and especially 144). In reading through the book, one finds a shift in emphasis towards demilitarization, theologizingand an increased stress on piety.
Le rôle du Cantique d'Isaïe 12 dans la Rédaction du Livre d'Isaïe, en relation au Psautier et CantiquesAuthor Bernard GosseSource: Old Testament Essays 29, pp 221 –227 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.17159/2312-3621/2016/v29n1a13.More Less
In terms of the redaction of the Book of Isaiah, the use of the Psalter in Isa 12 is linked to the parallel created by the exit of Egypt and the return from the Exile. This return from the exile is permitted by the fall of Babylon and does not exclude the disappearance of the Davidic dynasty.
L'usage du Psautier en Is 12 est lié à l'établissement, pour l'ensemble de la rédaction du livre d'Isaïe, du parallèle entre la sortie d'Egypte et le retour d'exil. Ce retour d'exil permis par la chute de Babylone n'exclut pas la disparition de la dynastie davidique.
Author Benjamin KilchorSource: Old Testament Essays 29, pp 228 –248 (2016)More Less
James K. Hoffmeier is one of few scholars who are experts in the fields of both Egyptology and OT Studies. In two former books which are, like the present book, published in Oxford University Press (Israel in Egypt  and Ancient Israel in Sinai ), his focus was on Israel and the OT at its intersection with Egypt in the Exodus event. In his present book, however, the focus is on Egypt and only in the last chapter he turns to the OT and the question of the relationship between Akhenaten's and Israel's monotheism.
Flights of the Soul: Visions, Heavenly Journeys, and Peak Experiences in the Biblical World, John J. Pilch (Ed.) : book reviewAuthor Christoph StenschkeSource: Old Testament Essays 29, pp 231 –233 (2016)More Less
The current volume brings together 14 essays which Pilch had published between 1993 and 2009 in various books and journals. They all in one way or another address the phenomenon of alternate states of consciousness as they appear in biblical and pseudepigraphical material. They attempt to provide the reader in constructing "an appropriate scenario for reading and interpreting biblical reports containing references to alternate states of consciousness"(xiii). The articles appear as published previously with minimal revision. For each essay Pilch appended an updated bibliography, which refers mainly to the anthropological and social-scientific literature which was consulted in the research process. He also included biblical studies that incorporate social-scientific insights in the interpretation of the Bible. In his research Pilch moved from the designation "altered" state of consciousness to the phrase alternat estate of consciousness as
Psychological anthropologists note that the continuity of consciousness is an illusion. Our levels of consciousness change many times during the day, so it is best to speak of alternate states. The word 'altered' falsely suggests that there exists a 'stable' state of consciousness that changes. Not so. Consciousness shifts all the time (xiii).
Die Gebete der Propheten. Anrufungen Gottes im 'corpus propheticum' der Hebräischen Bibel, Wilke, Alexa F. (Ed.) : boekresensieSource: Old Testament Essays 29, pp 234 –237 (2016)More Less
Mit der vorliegenden Studie ist die Verfasserin an der Universität Göttingen 2012 habilitiert worden. Für die Veröffentlichung wurde die Arbeit geringfügig überarbeitet. Sie widmet sich in dem Thema der Gebete in den Prophetenbüchern in zwei Hauptteilen: "Gebete von Sündern" (36-229) und "Gebete von Gerechten" (230-402). Gerahmt werden diese durch eine Einleitung und eine Zusammenfassung. Beigegeben sind Literaturverzeichnis und drei Register (Bibelstellen, Stichworte, hebräische Begriffe).
Author Ernst R. WendlandSource: Old Testament Essays 29, pp 238 –247 (2016)More Less
Walter Brueggemann and William Bellinger Jr. are distinguished professors in the field of OT studies and the Psalter in particular. This jointly produced commentary in a highly regarded series (the NCBC) will certainly not disappoint a variety of readers students, scholars, pastors, and higher-level teachers. It is segmented into the three usual commentary divisions: introductory material, a sequential textual exposition (based on the NRSV translation) and application of each psalm, followed by the essential indices of authors, biblical texts, and subjects. This "new" series of Cambridge Bible Commentaries (the older set being popular in the 1960-70s) seeks to "utilize recent gains in rhetorical criticism, social scientific study of the Scriptures, narrative criticism, and other developing disciplines to exploit the growing advances in biblical studies" (iii). It also includes, as part of the introduction, a substantial listing of "suggested readings on the Psalms" (13-26), which is helpfully divided into categories: major commentaries, introductory works, literary studies, theological studies, historical studies, and significant articles.