Nurturing honour and shame in stories of the beginning in Genesis : biblical perspectives on human dignity according to cultures in southern Kaduna

Zachariah, Bulus Takore (2013-12)

Thesis (MTh)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This research evaluates and explores the problem of How stories of the beginning impact on the theological understanding of human dignity in relation to Genesis 6:1-4. 1. In this thesis, the first chapter was conducted through a literature study of existing research and current materials which include general articles, monographs and other related materials. It is argued that the stories of the beginning have much impact on the culture of honour and shame in understanding human dignity in southern Kaduna. 2. In the second chapter, the concepts of honour and shame were regarded as reciprocal terms that are defined in webs. As such, semantic fields were used to define and analyse the different views on honour and shame especially from the perspectives of the ancient Near East and Old Testament. 3. In the third chapter, the stories of beginning among the Atyap and their neighbours were related as significant for understanding right and wrong, and identity formation for human dignity and self-respect. 4. Notably in the fourth chapter, honour and shame in narratives are not merely important to the individual but also to the family, clan and tribe. Due to its implication, people worked hard to achieve honour or respect which is mostly bestowed as titles of repute on people. It is established from the creation narratives that Genesis 1-3 has been considered for human dignity research in the past but it is equally important to look at the neglected evidence in Genesis 6:1-4. 5. In the fifth chapter, an exposition of Genesis 6:1-4 was carried out to illustrate the idea of honour from the story about the בְנֵי־הָאֱלֹהִים who disrespectfully married the daughters of Cain. The honourable נְּפִלִים and גִברִֹים were interpreted as the sons of Seth who were active, living and had the likelihood of falling into such temptations. The prospect of giants, ―men of name‖ and ―heroes of renown‖ meekly stooping low to the shameful women was unthinkable at that time; as such, a picture of utter disrespect is painted from different angles. 6. In the sixth chapter, the culture of honour and shame required that so much effort be exerted daily on the populace in order to achieve respect. It was recommended that the Old Testament stories of the beginning remained noteworthy for the stories, ethnic groups and languages of southern Kaduna. Essentially, with respect to our question and hypotheses, honour and shame in Old Testament and ancient Near Eastern stories of the beginning facilitated the understanding of southern Kaduna stories. In view of the fact that everyone desires to be important, the notion of honour and shame became the scale for evaluating respect and value. It was equally useful for appreciating human dignity and not just as a tool of entertainment or for promoting cultural heritage, religious/ethical teaching and community interaction. It was concluded that unfamiliar cultures such as those of southern Kaduna can be useful as case studies for Old Testament research in the future and that scholars could focus on such neglected regions. In this research on honour and shame, we have also uncovered a fresh picture of the recreation of the earth and a new beginning of humankind from the story of the בְנֵי־הָאֱלֹהִים in Genesis 6:1-4.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie ondersoek evalueer die probleem wat verband hou met die vraag: Hoe word die begrippe van eer en skaamte uitgebeeld in die verhale oor die begin in suidelike Kaduna kulture en watter rol speel dit binne die handhawing van menswaardigheid in Genesis 6:1-4. 1. Die eerste hoofstuk word ingelei deur 'n literatuurstudie oor joernaalartikels, monografië en ander verwante materiaal. Daar word geargumenteer dat die verhale oor die begin respek in die vorm van eer en skaamte veronderstel en dat dit belangrik is vir die verstaan van menswaardigheid in die kulture van suidelike Kaduna. 2. In die tweede hoofstuk word die begrippe van eer en skaamte as wederkerige begrippe gedefinieer. Semantiese velde is gebruik om die betekenisnuanses van eer en skaamte vanuit ou Nabye Oosterse en Ou-Testamentiese perspektiewe te definieer en te analiseer. 3. Die derde hoofstuk ondersoek die verhale oor die begin wat deur die Atyap en hulle bure oorvertel word en wat as betekenisvol beskou word vir die begrip van reg en verkeerd, sowel as identiteitsvorming en menswaardigheid. 4. Van besondere belang is die vierde hoofstuk waar eer en skaamte se implikasies vir individue, families, sibbes en stamme uitgespel word. Die meeste mense streef na eer as vorm van respek wat veral in die titels en reputasies van mense gereflekteer word. Navorsing oor die skeppingsverhale het aangetoon dat Genesis 1 – 3 baie klem in die verlede ontvang het wanneer menswaardigheid ondersoek is; terwyl die afgeskeepte Genesis 6:1-4 weinig onder die akademiese soeklig geval het. 5. Die vyfde hoofstuk bestaan uit 'n eksegetiese ondersoek van Genesis 6:1-4 wat aantoon dat eer en skaamte betrokke is by die beskrywing van die seuns van God wat op 'n oneervolle manier met die dogters van Kain trou. Eer en skaamte is ook betrokke in die beskrywing van die Nefilim en die Giborim, wat gesamentlik as die seuns van Set verstaan word. Daar bestaan dus 'n teenstelling tussen die eerbiedwaardige reuse, manne van naam en helde met reputasie en die oneerbiedige omgang met die vroue van die aarde. 6. In die sesde hoofstuk word omskryf hoe daar 'n kultuur van eer en skaamte gevestig word ten einde respek af te dwing en menswaardigheid te handhaaf. Hierdie studie het vasgestel dat eer en skaamte van deurslaggewende belang is vir die verstaan van die verhale oor die begin in Kaduna, die ou Nabye Ooste en die Ou Testament. Die algemene strewe na belangrikheid maak eer en skaamte belangrike aspekte van 'n verwysingsraamwerk in terme waarvan respek en waardes beoordeel word. In dieselfde asem moet genoem word dat eer en skaamte 'n nuwe waardering vir menswaardigheid moontlik maak. Onbekende kulture soos die in suidelike Kaduna bied ook nuttige perspektiewe wat konstruktief in Ou-Testamentiese studie benut kan word – die rol van eer en skaamte in die interpretasie van die seuns van God in Genesis 6:1-4 is 'n goeie voorbeeld daarvan.

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