Identity formation and community solidarity : second temple historiographies in discourse with (South) African theologies of reconstruction

Cezula, Ntozakhe Simon (2013-03)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.


ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study is motivated by a call by some African theologians for an African theology of reconstruction, specifically Mugambi. Its intended contribution is to propose a biblical paradigm from the Old Testament for an African theology of reconstruction. The study is fully convinced that a successful reconstruction process in Africa is possible if the process of identity formation is recognised as a strongly influential force on the process. The identity formation process needs to be consciously driven into a particular direction. The study identifies two factors that influence the success or failure of a reconstruction process. The two factors, which are conversely related, are community solidarity and social conflict. Community solidarity facilitates reconstruction and social conflict retards it. As far as the study is concerned, both of these factors are products of identity formation. If an identity formation process is exclusive it results in social conflict and if it is inclusive it results in community solidarity. The unfortunate part, according to the study, in any newly liberated nation, is that identity formation is inevitable. Because the Judean community of the Second Temple was a newly liberated community, the study suggests an exploration of their identity formation process. Although the contexts might not be the same, the suggestion is based on the hope that some lessons which can be of value to the African identity formation process might be learnt. The different ideologies that endeavoured to direct the identity formation of that community can potentially inform us of important issues to take note of when engaging in an identity formation process. Amongst the diverse historiographies of the Second Temple period, the study will explore two historiographies, namely, Ezra-Nehemiah and Chronicles. There are two reasons why these particular historiographies are chosen. The first one is that Nehemiah has already been proposed by some scholars as a biblical paradigm for a theology of reconstruction. The second one is that Chronicles, in many respects is related to Nehemiah and therefore provides a suitable comparison for a research study of this nature.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie studie word gemotiveer deur ‘n oproep deur sommige Afrika-teoloë tot ‘n Afrikateologie van rekonstruksie, veral deur Mugambi. Die bydrae wat die studie wil maak is om ‘n bybelse paradigma vanuit die Ou Testament vir ‘n Afrika-teologie van rekonstruksie voor te stel. Die studie is oortuig daarvan dat ‘n suksesvolle rekonstruksie in Afrika moontlik is as die proses van identiteitsvorming erken word as ‘n sterk-beïnvloedende krag in hierdie rekonstruksie. Die identiteitsvormingsproses moet doelbewus in ‘n bepaalde rigting gestuur word. Hierdie studie identifiseer twee faktore wat bepalend is vir die sukses al dan nie van die rekonstruksieproses. Die twee faktore wat oneweredig aan mekaar verwant is, is gemeenskapsolidariteit en sosiale konflik. Gemeenskapsolidariteit fasiliteer rekonstruksie, terwyl sosiale konflik dit vertraag. Hierdie studie aanvaar dat beide hierdie faktore produkte van ‘n identiteitsvormingsproses is. As ‘n identiteitsvormingsproses eksklusief funksioneer, lei dit tot sosiale konflik, maar as dit inklusief is, is die resultaat gemeenskapsolidariteit. Die ongelukkige deel hiervan, volgens hierdie studie, is dat identiteitsvorming in ‘n nuut-bevryde nasie onafwendbaar is. Aangesien die Judese gemeenskap van die Tweede Tempelperiode ‘n nuutbevryde gemeenskap was, stel hierdie study voor dat ‘n verkenning van hul identiteitsvormingsprosesse gemaak moet word. Hoewel die onderskeie kontekste nie dieselfde mag wees nie, word hierdie voorstel gemaak vanuit die hoop dat ‘n aantal lesse geleer kan word wat van waarde mag wees vir die Afrika identiteitsvormingsprosesse. Die verskillende ideologieë wat invloedryk was in die identeitsvormingsprosesse van daardie gemeenskap kan ons potensieel bewus maak van belangrike kwessies waaraan aandag gegee moet word in ‘n identiteitsvormingsproses. In die konteks van die diverse historiografieë van die Tweede Tempelpreiode sal twee historiografieë verken word, naamlik Esra-Nehemia en Kronieke. Daar is twee redes waarom hierdie spesifieke historiografieë gekies is. Die eerste is dat Nehemia alreeds voorheen voorgestel is as ‘n moontlike bybelse paradigma vir ‘n teologie van rekonstruksie. Die tweede is dat Kronieke in vele opsigte aan Nehemia verwant is en juis daarom ‘n gepaste vergelykingsbron is in ‘n navorsingstudie soos hierdie.

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