On Comparability

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

in Religion and Theology
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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.

Religion and Theology

A Journal of Contemporary Religious Discourse

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References

2

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West and Dube, eds., The Bible in Africa, 457–510.

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Anum, “Comparative Readings,” 468.

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Anum, “Comparative Readings,” 470.

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Anum, “Comparative Readings,” 471.

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Letlhare, “Corporate Personality,” 480.

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Mahlangu, “Honour and Shame as a Hermeneutical Procedure,” 89.

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Mahlangu, “Honour and Shame as a Hermeneutical Procedure,” 100.

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P’Bitek, African Religions, 80; cf. also: Anum, “Comparative Readings,” 470.

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John S. Mbiti, New Testament Eschatology in an African Background (London: Oxford University Press, 1971).

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Robert Wafawanaka, “African Perspectives on Poverty in the Hebrew Law Codes,” in The Bible in Africa: Transactions, Trajectories and Trends (Gerald O. West and Musa W. Dube (eds); Leiden: Brill, 2000), 490–497.

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Lincoln, Gods and Demons, Priests and Scholars, 122.

68

Lincoln, Gods and Demons, Priests and Scholars, 122.

69

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71

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72

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73

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74

Gerald O. West, “Mapping African Biblical Interpretation: A Tentative Sketch,” in The Bible in Africa: Transactions, Trajectories and Trends (eds. Gerald O. West and Musa W. Dube; Leiden: Brill, 2000), 29–53.

75

Knut Holter, “Old Testament Scholarship in Sub-Saharan Africa North of the Limpopo River,” in The Bible in Africa: Transactions, Trajectories and Trends (eds. Gerald O. West and Musa W. Dube; Leiden: Brill, 2000), 54–71.

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