Re-defining stewardship : a Nigerian perspective on accountable and responsible land ownership according to the Old Testament

Ahiamadu, Amadi (2007-12)

Thesis (DTh (Old and New Testament))--University of Stellenbosch, 2007.


This dissertation has explored the Biblical basis for a redefinition of stewardship, and has done so in the light of land ownership customs and ethos in some parts of Africa. It has employed a postcolonial hermeneutics in interpreting Genesis 1:26-28 using also a functional equivalence approach in its translation and exegesis. In chapter one the conceptual scheme is outlined, while providing a highlight of the problem, the hypothesis, the methodology and various definitional terms which feature in the discussion. In chapter two various scholarly views are examined in order to critically assess the criteria for either a humans-above-nature or humans-in-partnership-withnature mindset. The implications of such divergent views have been critically examined. In the third chapter views of African scholars were brought to bear on gerontocracy which has transcended pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial economic and political influences and has sustained an ongoing cultural practice of a “giraffe principle” of stewardship, land ownership and use. In the fourth and fifth chapter, the use of a postcolonial critical hermeneutics in interpretation is rationalised. A functional equivalence approach in translating our pericope into Ogba is used, and then re-read using a postcolonial critical hermeneutics. The imago Dei and the cultural mandate which goes with it has been re-interpreted in line with a hermeneutics that is humane and sensitive to a post-colonial context. In the sixth chapter a redefinition of stewardship has been attempted, using the fruits of our close reading, functional translation, and the cultural perceptions derived from our empirical research. In the final chapter, a conclusion has been drawn to show how this study contributes to a new appreciation of the concept of stewardship when applied to land ownership and use especially when humans are properly located in a relationship with God and with nature that is ongoing.

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