Browsing by Author "Bosman, Hendrik L."
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- ItemAppropriating the decalogue according to African proverbs(Stellenbosch University, Faculty of Theology, 2002) Bosman, Hendrik L.This article argues the following: (i) there is a close but neglected relationship between “torah” and “hokmah” in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament and this should be reflected in the interpretation of the Decalogue. (ii) African proverbs/ wisdom can be utilized as a hermeneutical sounding board for the appropriation of the Decalogue in African contexts.
- ItemBeing wise betwixt order and mystery : keeping the commandments and fearing the Lord(Stellenbosch University, Faculty of Theology, 2012) Bosman, Hendrik L.Any attempt to come to grips with ‘the fear of the Lord’ as a key concept for the interpretation of Old Testament wisdom, must appreciate that it is rooted in texts that presuppose an encounter with God that can cause a variety of responses: a feeling of horror or terror; as well as reverent awe that forms the basis of the pious veneration of the Lord in the form of obedience and praise. Although statistical analysis reveals a concentration of occurrences in Deuteronomy (and the so-called Deuteronomistic History), the Psalms and Wisdom literature, it does not presuppose a clear linear development. The theological interpretation of Old Testament wisdom literature must be aware of the ongoing creative tension between order (keeping the commandments) and mystery (fearing the Lord) – as summarized in the conclusion of the Book of Ecclesiastes (12:13).
- ItemBookends of Old Testament ethics : the first and tenth commandments and human dignity(Stellenbosch University, Faculty of Theology, 2011) Bosman, Hendrik L.The final position of the tenth commandment might suggest that it is intended as the climactic statement of a series of ‘ten words’ and is linked to the first commandment to form an inclusio. While the first commandment insists that there is no other God and that this is rooted in an internal posture; so too the tenth commandment is opposed to an inner attitude of self-interest that could influence and precipitate actions that violate one of the preceding commandments.
- ItemDie Nederlandse Geloofsbelydenis / Confessio Belgica en die Bybel in 1561(Stellenbosch University : Department of Systematic Theology and Ecclesiology, 2013-02) Bosman, Hendrik L.As part of the celebration of the Confessio Belgica (450 years after it was written) this contribution focuses on the hermeneutical frame presupposed by and interpretation of the Bible in the confession. It is clear that Guido de Bres (main author of the confession) was well read and was able to formulate the confession in such a way that it resonated with the protestant communities of faith in the southern Netherlands – what initially was intended as a polemical attempt to distantiate themselves from the Anabaptists soon became accepted a confession of faith. The Confessio Belgica does not quote directly from Scripture but refers to biblical verses and phrases by means of free association. The use of Scripture in the Confessio Belgica is pre-critical because the literal sense of the Bible is paramount and it does not reflect self critically in terms of its own presuppositions – this does not imply that the confession is intellectually suspect or deficient! The question is also posed whether the Confessio Belgica can continue to be understood as a “repetition of Sacred Scripture” or must it be held accountable for the way in which it interpreted Scripture in the sixteenth century to maintain relevance in the twenty-first century?
- ItemThe Exodus and the spade: The impact of archaeology on the interpretation of the book of Exodus(AOSIS OpenJournals, 2002) Bosman, Hendrik L.The interpretation of the book of Exodus is used as an example of the different ways in which archaeological discoveries influenced the course of biblical exegesis. Special emphasis will be placed on matters such as the Amarna letters and the Habiru, Merneptah Stele and the date of the Exodus and the Egyptian background of the Exodus. In conclusion it will be argued that critical dialogue and mutual respect must exist between archaeology and biblical studies. The theological interpretation of biblical texts is inevitably an interdisciplinary endeavor and archaeology is an academic discipline that must be part of the critical dialogue with biblical exegesis.
- ItemThe Exodus as negotiation of identity and human dignity between memory and myth(AOSIS OpenJournals, 2014-11) Bosman, Hendrik L.The rendition of the exodus in the Old Testament is an excellent example of cultural memory – a remembered past that resulted in collective memories that maintained the actuality or relevance of the past, without getting bogged down in the never ending agonising about the supposed ‘historical factuality’ of the past. In the Old Testament the exodus was remembered in diverging ways in different contexts and the ongoing need for identity and the influence of trauma were but two factors that influenced the manner in which the exodus was recalled. Despite unfavourable connotations it is again suggested that the exodus functioned as a founding myth in the evolving of Israelite and early Jewish identity. Such a heuristic goal will be less interested in establishing historically or archaeologically verifiable truth claims and more interested in how the memory of the exodus shaped identity and enabled human dignity in subsequent contexts of human suffering and oppression up to the present day.
- ItemFrom 'sign/אֹ֜ות ' to 'memorial/' זִכָּרֹ ון֙ ’ in Exodus 13:1-16(Stellenbosch University, Faculty of Theology, 2013) Bosman, Hendrik L.From the perspective of cultural memory the cultic tradition of the Feast of the Unleavened Bread in Exodus 13:3-10 acted as a sign (‘אֹ֜ות ’) and a memorial or commemoration (‘ זִכָּרֹון ’) of the Exodus as an act of divine deliverance. The dialectic between ‘sign’ and ‘memorial/commemoration/reminder’ is framed by references to the consecration of the first-born male (13:1-2, 11-15) and the phylacteries (‘tefillin’) that functioned as a sign (‘אֹ֜ות ’) on the hand and symbols (‘טֹוטָֹּ ֹ֖ פת ’) on the forehead (13:16). Exodus 13 is not merely the duplication of material arguing for the observance of the Passover in the previous chapter (12:14-28) but it constitutes a combination of the cognitive act of remembering and the ritual act of comme-moration. It will be argued that the central role of memory and commemoration as complementary concepts in the observance of the Passover and the Feast of the Unleavened Bread is expanded by adding the instruction of wearing a ‘sign’ on the hand and between the eyes. These signs can be considered as embodied metaphors respectively for power and action and for perception and observation; thus going beyond the mere ritual or cultic commemoration of the exodus. This interpretation will be tested by comparing Exodus 13 with other texts in the Hexateuch where a similar link between ‘sign’ and ‘memorial’ is found. The element of ‘sign’ adds to the notion of ritual commemoration the cognitive evocation of remembrance – a potent mechanism to enhance the identity shaping function of cultural memory (Ex 12:13; Num 17:3,5; Josh 4:6f).
- ItemFrom divine command and prophetic goals to sapiential character formation : a survey of Old Testament ethical reflection informed by philosophical ethics(Stellenbosch University, 2014) Bosman, Hendrik L.At first attention will be given to recent surveys of the study of Old Testament ethical reflection. Then it will be argued that the study of ethics in general can provide a theoretical frame according to which different modes of ethical reflection can be discerned in the Old Testament: -A deontological ‘Divine command’ type of ethic rooted in the theophany on Mount Sinai through the communication of the Ten Commandments and the ‘mitzvot’. -A teleological or consequentialist type of ethic manifested in the prophetic emphasis on a covenantal relationship with God and other human beings. - A perfectionist or virtue ethic found in later wisdom and priestly literature that aspires to be wise and holy. - A descriptive ethic that focuses on the ‘is’ of Old Testament ethics then and not on the ‘ought’ of modern ethics now. In conclusion, it will be suggested that more attention should be given to the dialogue between the study of biblical ethics and the meta-theory undergirding philosophical ethics.
- ItemThe function of (maternal) cannibalism in the book of Lamentations (2:20 & 4:10)(Stellenbosch University, Faculty of Theology, 2012) Bosman, Hendrik L.Cannibalism is a sensitive subject that many commentaries on the Book of Lamentations pay little attention to. This article develops the possibility that the Book of Lamentations confronts YHWH with the affliction that He has caused the destruction of Jerusalem and that maternal cannibalism is the horrendous extreme of this divinely inflicted suffering. This suggestion is discussed against the background of a central motif in later Greco-Roman literature that the tyrant is the inverted Other. Cannibalism may then be interpreted as a motif in the polemics against tyranny by the author of Lamentations to depict YHWH as author of the misery experienced with the destruction of Jerusalem and thereafter.
- ItemThe historical understanding of the Old Testament in South Africa : Colenso, Le Roux and beyond(AOSIS OpenJournals, 2013-09) Bosman, Hendrik L.Isaiah Berlin quoted Archilochus to distinguish between two styles of academic reasoning that, to some extent, summarises the transition of historiography from Modernism to Postmodernism: ‘The fox knows many things but the hedgehog knows one big thing.’ The modernistic master narratives of the first half of the 20th century (quests for the ‘centre of the Old Testament’ etc.) were in obvious decline during the second half of the 20th century and, triggered by the Annales school of historiography social scientific methods, were incorporated into the study of ancient Israel. Historiography became less of an art that depended on an informed imagination and more like a science that presupposed empirical or social scientific research and a multidisciplinary approach to describe and explain the past. Against this backdrop, the historical understanding of the Old Testament in South Africa was discussed, starting with one of its oldest exponents, Bishop J.W. Colenso (disproving the chronological priority of the ‘E source’, rejecting the ‘truth proving’ function of archaeology and interpreting biblical texts within the historical context of its writing), and concluding with the current chair of the Old Testament Society of South Africa, Prof J.H. le Roux (influenced by Old Testament scholars such as G. von Rad and E. Otto and historiographers such as E. Troeltsch and R.G. Collingwood). The methodological principles of historiography suggested by Troeltsch (criticism, analogy and correlation) were adapted to describe and explain some trends in South African Old Testament historiography that go beyond a superficial division between maximalists and minimalists.
- ItemHumankind as being created in the ‘image of God’ in the Old testament : possible implications for the theological debate on human dignity(Stellenbosch University, Faculty of Theology, 2010) Bosman, Hendrik L.This contribution provides a survey of existing scholarship on the nature and extent of the image of God/imago Dei' according to the Old Testament. Some of the aspects that will be discussed are: - Image in the physical sense with the focus on selem in Genesis 1 - humankind as representing the divine. - Image in a spiritualized sense with the focus on demut in Genesis 1 - humankind as resembling the divine. - Image as attribute or relationship - in conversation with Barth and Bonhoeffer. A few concluding remarks will be made about human dignity and Old Testament anthropology as a theological synthesis between the Egyptian emphasis on humankind as a royal being and the Mesopotamian (Assyrian and Babylonian) view of humankind as a slave to do the most menial of work.
- ItemThe impact of death ('The King of Terrors') on human dignity in Job 18:14(Stellenbosch University, Faculty of Theology, 2009) Bosman, Hendrik L.The reference to death as the ‘king of terrors’ in Job 18:14 is interpreted against the background of the Ugaritic mythology, the terrifying fate of the wicked and other Old Testament references to death as a violent challenge to life and human dignity. It is argued that the Old Testament does consider God to be stronger than death without developing a pronounced theology of life after death. In contrast to the modern denial of the reality and inevitability of death one should face the challenge of accepting one’s death while maintaining human dignity.
- ItemJeremiah 8:8 : why are scribes accused of corrupting the Torah?(University of the Free State, Faculty of Theology, 2019) Bosman, Hendrik L.Why are scribes accused, in Jeremiah 8:8-9, of corrupting the "tôrah"? The article contemplates possible answers to this question against the background of what is presupposed in the Book of Jeremiah with regards to "tôrah" and being a scribe. Does this confront one with a response triggered by the reformation of Josiah (older interpretation) or by an indication of what took place much later during the gradual combination of Torah and Nebi'im as authoritative scripture in Persian and Hellenistic times (recent interpretation)? The article distinguishes between oral common law and written statutory law, in order to rectify anachronistic interpretations of all biblical laws as statutory laws (Berman 2014). The change from oral to written law, facilitated by the scribes, caused a legitimacy crisis and can be explained against the background of a new understanding of what "word of God" or "revelation" entailed (Van der Toorn 2013).
- ItemKarl Barth’s interpretation of scripture from the perspective of a possible “second naivety”(Pieter de Waal Neethling Trust, 2019) Bosman, Hendrik L.Although the theological exegesis of Karl Barth cannot be depicted as “naïve”, his cumulative style of interpretation presupposes that the Bible entails a “new world” that has a threefold character and that requires a “second naivety” as suggested by Paul Ricoeur (i.e. an interpretive position beyond criticism) as its hermeneutical point of departure: (i) an inner core of divine revelation in Jesus Christ; (ii) the prophetic and apostolic witness in the Bible that makes the divine core accessible for interpretation; (iii) the proclamation or preaching of the biblical witness that is rooted in this “second naivety”. Critical scholarship in general and historical-criticism in particular are not rejected outright, but theological exegesis must move beyond criticism. In the early part of his career Barth, when appointed as a lecturer in New Testament, Barth took serious note of critical biblical scholarship. However, the jury is still out whether critical biblical exegesis remained an important point of reference in Barth’s later publications and whether his reluctance to engage in hermeneutical and methodological reflection caused a lack of the self-criticism presupposed by a “second naivety”.
- ItemLarger ears and smaller horns : towards distinguishing conservative from fundamentalist theology(Stellenbosch University, Faculty of Theology, 2008) Bosman, Hendrik L.The term ‘fundamentalism’ is often used to ridicule any strong religious conviction and greater conceptual clarity must be achieved to do justice to conservative and evangelical approaches that are decidedly not fundamentalist. This contribution attempts to distinguish between conservative and fundamentalist modes of theological reflection and how this distinction is important within a South African context. Special attention will be given to the different interpretations of the Bible and history in response to Modernism. One of the main arguments is that conservative and evangelical theology become fundamentalist when it refuses to listen to or engage in dialogue with alternative points of view (the need for larger ears). This lack of tolerance becomes dangerous when it triggers the increase of the vehemence with which the own point of view is defended as ‘the only’ truth (the need for smaller horns).
- ItemLoving the neighbour and the resident alien in Leviticus 19 as ethical redefinition of holiness(Old Testament Society of South Africa, 2018) Bosman, Hendrik L."Loving the neighbour " is generally accepted as fundamental to Judeo-Christian theological ethics. However, few reflect on the implications of extending "loving the neighbour" (Lev 19:18) to "loving the resident alien/foreigner" (Lev 19:33-34) within the context of the Holiness Code (Lev 17-26). This contribution argues that "holiness" is redefined in Leviticus 19 by combining the instructions related to cultic rituals (aimed at the priests) in Leviticus 1-16 with the theological-ethical issues (aimed at all Israelites) in Leviticus 17-26; thereby moving from "ascribed holiness" (granted by divine decree to cultic officials) to "achieved holiness" (available to all Israel through obedience) in the post-exilic period.
- ItemA Nama exodus? : a postcolonial reading of the diaries of Hendrik Witbooi(Stellenbosch University, Faculty of Theology, 2011) Bosman, Hendrik L.This contribution attempts to interpret the personal diaries and papers of Hendrik Witbooi, an icon of the struggle for liberation in Namibia, in view of postcolonial criticism. It is argued that Witbooi's diaries and papers indicate how he responded to colonial discursive practices by means of assimilation and resistance. Special attention is given to the possibility that an 'exodus theme' was employed as a rhetorical strategy to mobilize the Witboois to relocate to new territory and eventually used to resist colonialism by inciting an uprising against the German authorities. The question will also be posed what type of Bible interpretation Captain Witbooi employed to come to such an understanding of the exodus theme in his diaries within the nineteenth century theological context of providentialism. The article forms part of a research project on "The negotiation of identity and narratives concerning origin and migration in Africa."
- ItemReconsidering Deuteronomy 26:5–11 as a small historical creed : overtures towards a migrant reading within the Persian period(AOSIS, 2019) Bosman, Hendrik L.Against the backdrop of recent scholarship related to Deuteronomy 26:5–11, the influential hypothesis formulated by Gerhard von Rad that this verse entails a ‘small historical creed’ will be re-evaluated. In addition to recent Old Testament scholarship, attention will be paid to migrant theory and a rereading of 26:5–11. It will be suggested that this ‘creed’ addressed the identity concerns of returning migrants or exiles from Babylon, as well as the peasant farmers who remained behind in Palestine. Thus, the creed is not understood as an early cultic starting point of a theological tradition, but as a later synthesising framework that responded to theological challenges and tensions prevalent in Persian Yehud.
- ItemThe theological paraphrasing of history : the Exodus tradition in the Wisdom of Solomon(AOSIS Publishing, 2012-11) Bosman, Hendrik L.This study of the reinterpretation of the exodus tradition in the Wisdom of Solomon investigated the possibility that the reinterpretation entailed the alignment of history and wisdom. To come to grips with this alignment, attention had to be paid to its Greco-Roman context, whilst also taking into consideration the literary and theological structure of the Wisdom of Solomon, as well as its rhetoric and genre. In a theologically creative manner, Wisdom (as divine personification) and history (as memories of salvation during the Exodus) were combined in the Wisdom of Solomon to convince the Jews in the diaspora that justice would prevail – not only in this life but also thereafter. By means of poetic imagery, rhetorical skill, historical reinterpretation and imaginative wisdom theology, religious identity were not only bolstered to resist a dominant Greco-Roman culture but also to develop a positive view of creation according to the values of wisdom exemplified by the reinterpreted Exodus traditions.
- ItemThree rounds with a heavy weight in the mximalist-minimalist contest : a review of the Dever trilogy(Stellenbosch University, Faculty of Theology, 2006) Bosman, Hendrik L.WG Dever is a well known archaeologist who for more than a decade has become entangled in an exhausting polemical debate with so-called "minimalists" (PR Davies, NP Lemche, TL Thompson, KW Whitelam etc.). This review article attempts to describe common trends of thought in three of his recently published monographs and evaluate whether he has succeeded in reaching the goals he has set for himself. In conclusion no attempt will be made to harmonize the "maximalist-minimalist" debate since despite the often acerbic rhetoric, much needed attention was generated for gaining more conceptual clarity about the historicity of Old Testament narratives.