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On Comparability

A Critical Evaluation of Comparative “Background” Studies between Biblical and Contemporary Southern African Contexts

In: Religion and Theology
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  • 1 Department of Biblical and Ancient Studies, University of South Africa, Republic of South Africadwetcl@unisa.ac.za
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This study examines the instance of comparatism in African biblical hermeneutics, particularly the comparison of ancient cultural contexts with modern ‘African’ contexts. The study critically interrogates the conceptual dynamics of this process, and aims to discern some possible power strategies in this process. A definitive sample of studies on ancient backgrounds and African contexts are examined and the process of comparatism is delineated. Thereafter, the study traces the development of biblical-historical “background” studies in the nineteenth and twentieth century, and thereafter makes some suggestions in the supplementation of background studies in the (Southern-) African hermeneutical enterprise, namely a focus not so much on postcoloniality, but on current colonising enterprises and a more critical operation of historical and cultural comparatism.

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