Messianic expectations as prophetic responses to crisis : a Zimbabwean perspective

Musendekwa, Menard (2011-12)

Thesis (MTh)--Stellenbosch University, 2011

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: What stimulates the emergence of messianic expectations or messianic figures in a society such as ancient Israel? Messianic expectations emerged as prophetic responses to social, economic, political and religious crises. This could be traced from the historical background of the pre-exilic, exilic and post-exilic periods. Messianic expectations in pre-exilic Israel were triggered by the failure of the Davidic dynasty to uphold Yahweh’s instructions and they depict the shift in focus from the anointed kings to the birth of a new Davidic prince (Isa. 9:1-7).The exilic period drew attention to a gentile king, Cyrus as Messiah (Isa. 44:28-45:1-8) who would restore Israel from exile. However, messianic expectations in Daniel 9:25-27 came about as a response to the extended subjection to foreign rule after the return from exile. The expectation for a messiah therefore changed from focusing on a historical figure to an apocalyptic figure in the post-exilic period. This approach is triggered by the situation in Zimbabwe where messianic rhetoric is now being used in an attempt to address the fragile socio-economical situation. It is shown that recent characterization of President Robert Mugabe as a messianic figure based on his role as a former liberator is a skilful propaganda and manipulation of the expectations of a messiah to legitimize his leadership amidst growing opposition.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Wat stimuleer die verskyning van messiaanse verwagtinge of messiaanse figure in 'n samelewing soos die van ou Israel? Messiaanse verwagtinge het ontstaan as profetiese antwoorde op sosiale, ekonomiese, politiese en godsdienstige krisisse. Dit kan histories teruggelei word na die tydperke voor die ballingskap en na die ballingskap. Messiaanse verwagtinge in voor-ballingskap Israel is aangewakker deur die Dawidiese dinastie se onvermoë om Jahweh se opdragte te handhaaf, en dui op die fokus-verskuiwing van gesalfde konings na die geboorte van 'n nuwe Dawidiese prins (Jes. 9:1-7). Die ballingskap het die aandag gevestig op 'n heidense koning, Kores, as die messias (Jes. 44:28-45:1-8) wat Israel uit ballingskap sou red en herstel. Messiaanse verwagtinge in Daniel 9:25-27 het egter ontstaan as 'n reaksie op die voordurende onderwerping aan buitelandse bewind na die terugkeer uit ballingskap. Die verwagting van 'n messias het dus verander van 'n fokus op 'n historiese figuur na 'n fokus op 'n apokaliptiese figuur in die na-ballingskap-era. Die benadering tot Messianisme in hierdie navorsing is na aanleiding van die huidige situasie in Zimbabwe, waar messiaanse retoriek gebruik word om die brose sosio-ekonomiese situasie aan te spreek. Die studie dui aan dat onlangse uitbeelding van President Robert Mugabe as 'n messiaanse figuur op grond van sy rol as 'n voormalige bevryder, is knap propaganda en manipulering van die verwagtinge van 'n messias, met die doel om sy leierskap te legitimeer te midde van toenemende teenkanting.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/18023
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