This volume opens the series BiAS. Bible in Context is a collection of 9 essays discussing how biblical texts are read and interpreted in different contexts. The book discusses such contexts as Bible translation, HIV and AIDS, urban feminist Christology, denominationalism, conversion in African Christianity, environmental crisis, political conflict, land reform and women dress code. It analyses the ways in which context determines the reading processes and interpretations given to specific biblical texts. The book basically demonstrates that biblical interpretation is influenced by the contexts of the readers and the interpreters.
This volume is a monograph which was submitted at the University of Zimbabwe in Harare as a PhD thesis. It deals with the subject of millenarianism, a movement which the author sees as developing from biblical times. He draws lines of connection between contemporary Jehovah’s Witnesses and Johane Masowe movements with prophetic and apocalyptic movements in the Bible. This volume presents vast amounts of data on prophecy, apocalypticism and millenarianism for students and scholars of the Bible alike. Further, ordinary readers of the Bible will find this volume fascinating to read. There is also detailed information on the development of the two contemporary movements Jehovah’s Witnesses and Johane Masowe in Zimbabwe.
BiAS 3 is a monograph which was submitted and passed as PhD thesis at the University of Bayreuth, Germany. The author revisits the subject of homosexuality in Zimbabwe, a subject that attracted the attention of the international community from 1995 when Robert Gabriel Mugabe, the President of Zimbabwe described homosexual persons as “worse than dogs and pigs”. The President’s position was widely supported by Christians and Traditionalists alike, and the Bible was used as the final arbiter, as it is the “Word of God”. The Bible was also used by homosexual persons and those sympathetic to them, such that the Bible fought against the Bible. The book highlights the interconnection between homosexuality, religion and the socio-economic and political challenges from the 1990s, and raises critical questions about the widespread selective-literal appropriation of the Bible, a practice that ignores the socio-historical context of the Bible. This is a book for biblical students, scholars and ordinary readers of the Bible who want to engage with contemporary socio-theological challenges.
That the Bible is a manual for daily living is attested in almost all Christian denominations, how this role is transformed into practice is clearly an area that remains a contested terrain among Christians. This volume is our modest contribution to looking at the relationship between the Bible and our practices. The central question that the articles in this volume respond to is: how is the Bible related to our daily life? This question is especially important on the African continent where religion appears to be gaining influence. Without taking anything away from western biblical scholars, African biblical scholars must also engage with the question: how do we put into practice the teachings of the Bible? This volume contains papers presented at the International Bible Symposium 2009 in Bamberg (Germany) and additional contributions.
This volume is a passed PhD thesis handed at Universität Bayreuth, Germany. The author examines burial customs and rituals among the Shona and sees a definite pattern comparable to the Judeo-Christian practices. He contends that these practices among the Shona were a preparation for the Gospel of Christ or ‘preparatio evangelica’ as Vatican II would identify this phenomenon. He laments the fact that the early Missionaries did not make full use of this preparation which would have laid the foundation for the fullness of the Gospel message they brought. On the contrary, some Missionaries sought to destroy the foundation instead of building on it, a temptation which lingers to this day, given the different conceptions of these customs and rituals by different theologians and evangelizers. The author argues strongly and with conviction in favour of the foundation for Christian evangelization, which tradition has already put in place, as embodied in the death and after life rituals among the Shona. Given the controversy concerning the rituals among some, the author assumes a Christ-like approach, who asks his disciples, ‘Who do you say I am’ (Mk.8:29). Individuals and communities will respond to this question in unique ways and should not be coerced. Jesus does not coerce his disciples but invites them to respond in love. He leaves them to mature in the faith until he can challenge Peter saying, ‘Do you love me more than these?’ (Jn.21:15). The author embarks on a similar loving process of affirmation and positive critical analysis in the hope that the past will help propel the Shona into the present and future of Christ. The author charts a new and interesting way of reading Scripture in the light of the Shona death and after life rituals.
Face aux théories de développement élaborées par les experts en économie de la Banque mondiale et du Fonds monétaire international, de l’aide conjointe de la communauté internationale qui s’élève chaque année en milliards d’Euro; face aux politiques de sortie de crise envisagées par les pays africains eux-mêmes, l’impression qui se dégage est que tout bouge en Afrique mais rien ne change. Au contraire…Où situer donc le problème du développement en Afrique: dans le manque d’infrastructures ou des personnes? Fatalité ou simple détermination? L’auteur entend démontrer dans ce travail qu’il n’y a pas de politique véritable de développement qui n’épouse les contours socioculturels, historico-religieuses et géo-environnementales des peuples concernés. Et partant de l’exemple des Béti-Fang du Cameroun, l’auteur propose une étude exégètico-éthique de sortie de crise au Cameroun.
This volume was passed as doctoral thesis by the University of Bayreuth (Germany) in February 2012. The author presents a new way of looking at leadership, history, culture and the reading of scripture in light of theme of The Messianic Feeding of the Masses. The author examines how the Zimbabwean president has embraced some messianic titles and statements ascribed to him for liberating Zimbabwe from her colonial masters and the feeding of the people. The book makes a comparative and sociological analysis of kingship in ancient traditions so as to demonstrate how the ‘sacredness’ associated and ascribed to the reign of Mugabe was not uncommon. As the bearer of the charisma, Mugabe takes some radical measures to assume the task of a saviour. He embraces the praises accorded to him by his admirers and commands obedience and a following in virtue of his mission. Some aspects examined in this study may be highly controversial but eye-opening. The author does not attempt to convert anyone to a particular side but through the way he articulates issues and supports arguments with Historical, Biblical and current material, he invites people to debate even in a larger arena.
The relationship between the Bible and Children in Africa is a topic of highest relevance. This book is treating it in two main perspectives which often are intertwined:
| The exegetical perspective “Children in the Bible” is dealing with the concepts of childhood in biblical texts, asking for example: How are children conceived in different texts. What is their status in family, society and church? What is their relation to God? What is the metaphoric use of childhood in biblical soteriology? What is the function and meaning of calling adult persons “children” (of God, or of the Apostle)?
| The contextual perspective “African children of today and the Bible” is dealing with the different life settings African children find themselves in and how the Bible is present in these life settings. Here the questions for example are: What is the status of children in family and society? How are traditional concepts of childhood changing under the conditions of poverty, HIV/AIDS and violence? How are the ideas and ideals of childhood influenced by the Bible? What is the role of the Bible in child-education? Can children’s rights be established with help of the Bible?
This volume of BiAS 17 is collecting the papers presented at the 2012 BiAS meeting in Gaborone, Botswana, with some additional contributions.
This volume intends to give voice to one of the local agents of religious change in Africa by listening to the voice of Paul Dzampah, a Christian singer-songwriter in Ghana.
Among the broad movement of new, post-modern Christianity in Africa the songs which are documented in this volume are kind of outstanding as the author never tried to establish his own church and never intended to make his living with his songs. We find a prophetic voice here which does not want to be “churchy” and which moves beyond the wide-spread attempt of making money with religion.
The volume refrains from intensive analysis or extensive comment. The editor rather is just documenting these texts, and leaving the scientific analysis to others.
This volume is based on the International Bible Symposium “The Bible and Politics in Africa” which was held in summer 2010 in Kloster Banz (Germany). The IBS 2010 was organised by Prof. Kügler’s team at the Chair for New Testament Studies at Bamberg University and was generously funded and hosted by the Hanns Seidel Foundation, Munich/ Kloster Banz. Some of the articles published here are based on papers presented at IBS 2010. The editors, however, added some articles to broaden the discussion and to also give a voice to those who could not be present at the symposium. The topic of Biblical influence on politics and of political uses of the Bible is of course not merely an African topic. Christian tradition has always stressed that it not only wants to show ways to heaven but also to reconstruct this world according to God’s will. However the topic seems especially relevant in African societies as many of them ascribe a paramount role to the “Word of God” and thus the Bible seems to be used most directly as a handbook for political actions. With their critical analytical approach the contributors of BiAS 7 try to meet this special challenge for Contextual Biblical Studies which has to be taken more serious than it used to be in academic research.