Trampling on the poor : poverty as violence in Amos 2:6-8, 5:10-13 and 8:4-6

Garande, Tatenda (2020-04)

Thesis (MTh)--Stellenbosch University, 2020.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Poverty is a global phenomenon that is complex and multi-dimensional. Since the early 1990s, Zimbabwe has been going through a serious socio-political and economic crisis that reached its peak during 2008-2009. Current conditions in Zimbabwe indicate that the crisis is not yet over. This socio-political and economic crisis has plunged the majority of Zimbabweans into an abyss of poverty. In their quest to find a solution to their poverty, many Zimbabweans have turned to the Church. In particular, the Prosperity Gospel promoted by two popular preachers, Immanuel Makandiwa of the United Family Interdenominational Church and Walter Magaya of Prophetic, Healing, and Deliverance Ministries, has appealed to many Zimbabweans who are deep in poverty. The Prosperity Gospel proclaimed by these pastors claim that prosperity is a blessing and a sign of faith while poverty is deemed a curse and a sign of lack of faith. Conversely, poverty is also depicted as a demon that has to be exorcised. This understanding of poverty poses a challenge because it turns a blind eye on the historical and economic policies that caused poverty not only in Zimbabwe but also in other parts of Africa. In our quest to understand poverty, the meaning we ascribe to the concept will determine how individuals, nations, organizations or the church will respond to and deal with this phenomenon. This study thus argues that poverty is violence against the poor and it is embedded in societal structures that benefit a few powerful elites at the expense of the weak and innocent poor. In addition, this study proposes that Prosperity Gospel is a form of cultural violence that legitimizes the structural violence associated with poverty. The study further argues that Prosperity Gospel is not peculiar to only Makandiwa and Magaya, but that the prophet Amos dethroned a similar kind of theological construction when he castigated the rich and powerful for violating the dignity and rights of the poor. Employing literary and rhetorical criticisms as exegetical tool, this study identifies hidden forms of violence in Amos 2:6-8, 5:7, 10-13 and 8:4-6 that emphasize the basic assumption of this study which is that poverty ought to be understood as violence against the poor.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Armoede is ‘n globale fenomeen wat kompleks en multidimensioneel van aard is. Zimbabwe sedert die vroeë 1990’s het ‘n ernstige sosio-politieke en ekonomiese krisis beleef wat sy piek bereik het tydens 2008-2009. Huidige omstandighede in Zimbabwe dui op die feit dat die krisis nog ver van oor is. Die sosio-politiese en ekonomiese krisis het die meerderheid van Zimbabwiërs in die diepte van armoede gewerp. In hulle poging om ‘n oplossing vir armoede te vind, het baie Zimbabwiërs hulself tot die Kerk gewend om ‘n oplossing vir hulle problem te vind. Veral die Voorspoedsteologie wat deur populêre predikers Emmanuel Makandiwa van die United Family Interdenominational Church en Walter Magaya van die Prophetic, Healing, and Deliverance Ministries spreek tot baie mense wat hulself in armoede in Zimbabwe bevind. Die Voorspoedsteologie wat deur hierdie pastors gepreek word hou voor dat voorspoed is ‘n seëning en ‘n teken van geloof, terwyl armoede ‘n vloek is en ‘n teken van ‘n gebrek aan geloof. Armoede word ook gesien as ‘n demoon wat uitgedryf moet word. Hierdie verstaan van armoede is problematies aangesien dit blind is vir die historiese en ekonomiese beleid wat aanleiding gegee het tot armoede in Zimbabwe en in die res van Afrika. In ons poging om die konsep van armoede te verstaan, word die betekenis wat aan hierdie konsep toegeskryf word, ‘n padkaart wat bepaal hoe mense, die land, ‘n instelling of die kerk reageer op hierdie fenomeen. Hierdie studie argumenteer dat armoede geweld teen die armes is wat in die sosiale strukture ingebed is wat ‘n paar magtige, ryk elite bevoordeel en die hulpeloos, onskuldige armes benadeel. Verder argumenteer hierdie studie dat Voorspoedsteologie ‘n vorm van kulturele geweld is wat die strukturele geweld wat met armoede geassosieer is legitimeer. Hierdie studie toon verder aan dat Voorspoedsteologie is nie uniek aan die predikers Makandiwa and Magaya, maar dat die Profeet Amos ‘n soortgelyke tipe teologiese konstruksie onttroon het wanneer hy die ryk en magtiges kritiseer omdat hulle die waardigheid en regte van die armes geskend het. Deur middel van literêre en retoriese kritiek as eksegetiese benadering, identifiseer hierdie studie onderliggende vorme van geweld in Amos 2:6-8, 5:7, 10-13 en 8:4-6 wat die basiese veronderstelling van hierdie studie ondersteun wat argumenteer dat armoede verstaan behoort te word as geweld teen die armes.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/108133
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