The “Poor” in Ancient Israel – and in Contemporary African Biblical Studies

In: Mission Studies
Knut Holter VID Specialized University Stavanger Norway

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The academic discipline of biblical studies experiences an increasing tendency to engage in burning issues of our own time. The contemporary globalization of the subject – with more and stronger exponents outside its traditional Western habitat – challenges a discipline that used to be defined as a purely historical enterprise whose only purpose was that of providing textual and historical raw materials for others, such as the supposedly “real” theologians of systematic theology, practical theology, or missiology. Using examples provided by African biblical scholars who interpret biblical concepts of poverty, the article argues that the academic discipline of biblical studies has a mandate to participate in the current struggle for justice and human dignity, and to do so with its particular insights and tools vis-à-vis the biblical texts.

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