This volume contains 17 essays on the subjects of text, canon, and scribal practice. The volume is introduced by an overview of the Qumran evidence for text and canon of the Bible. Most of the text critical studies deal with texts from the Dead Sea Scrolls, including sectarian as well as canonical texts. Two essays shed light on the formation of authoritative literature. Scribal practice is illustrated in various ways, again mostly from the Dead Sea Scrolls. One essay deals with diachronic change in Qumran Hebrew. Rounding out the volume are two thematic studies, a wide-ranging study of the “ambiguous oracle” of Josephus, which he identifies as Balaam’s oracle, and a review of the use of female metaphors for Wisdom.
Biblical Interpretation and African Traditional Religion, Helen C. John juxtaposes grassroots biblical interpretations from Owamboland, Namibia, with professional interpretations of selected New Testament texts, effectively demonstrating the capacity of grassroots interpretations to destabilise, challenge and nuance dominant professional interpretations. John uses a cross-cultural and dialogical approach – ‘Cross-Cultural Biblical Interpretation Groups’ – to explore the relationship between African Traditional Religion (ATR), Christianity and biblical interpretation in Owamboland, Namibia. She contextualises the grassroots Owambo interpretations using fieldwork experiences and ethnographic literature, thus heightening the cross-cultural encounter. In particular, John reflects on Western epistemologies and the Eurocentric interpretative trends that are brought into relief by the African interpretations gathered in Owamboland.
The Stolen Bible tells the story of how Southern Africans have interacted with the Bible from its arrival in Dutch imperial ships in the mid-1600s through to contemporary post-apartheid South Africa.
The Stolen Bible emphasises African agency and distinguishes between African receptions of the Bible and African receptions of missionary-colonial Christianity. Through a series of detailed historical, geographical, and hermeneutical case-studies the book analyses Southern African receptions of the Bible, including the earliest African encounters with the Bible, the translation of the Bible into an African language, the appropriation of the Bible by African Independent Churches, the use of the Bible in the Black liberation struggle, and the ways in which the Bible is embodied in the lives of ordinary Africans.