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Interpreting the Old Testament in Africa

Papers from the International Symposium on Africa and the Old Testament in Nairobi, October 1999

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Edited By Mary Getui, Knut Holter and Victor Zinkuratire

This book is a collection of papers read at the International Symposium on Africa and the Old Testament in Nairobi, October 1999. Thirty biblical scholars and theologians – mainly from Eastern Africa, but some also from South Africa and Europe – came together to discuss what it means to interpret the Old Testament in Africa today. Their contributions fall in five parts: (i) a mapping of the social, historical, and academic context of Old Testament studies in Africa; (ii) exegetical studies of how Africa is portrayed by the Old Testament; (iii) examples of how the African socio-religious experience can serve as comparative material for interpretation of the Old Testament; (iv) examples of how Old Testament texts are experienced as relevant to contemporary African readers; and (v) various aspects of the efforts of translating the Old Testament in Africa today.

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Finding Africa in the Old Testament 41

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Finding Africa in the Old Testament This page intentionally left blank The "African" Texts of the Old Testament and Their African Interpretations Marta H0yland Lavik The purpose of this article is to present what have become known as the "African" texts of the Old Testament (OT) and to consider how these texts are interpreted by various African scholars. Of course, it is not possible within the scope of this article to make mention of all the passages in the OT that refer to the geography or people of Africa. Neither can I hope to be all-inclusive in speaking of "African scholarship". However, it is at least possible to offer some general comments which may sensitise readers to the particular hermemeutical understanding that African theologians are currently bringing to Old Testament studies. OT texts about the geography and people of Africa tend not to be regarded as a priority within traditional western scholarship. Indeed, even when western interpreters have discussed references to Egypt, it is often assumed that this part of Africa is rather more Mediterranean than African in its culture. However, over the last 20-30 years, this exegetical situation has evoked a growing concern amongst African scholars who have become intent upon emphasising a truly African presence within the OT. 1 The "African" texts When I talk about "African" texts I mean those texts that refer to areas and/or individuals from the continent of Africa. I will not attempt to discuss references to the land and people of Africa found...

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