Bias Volume 18 is a book that is dedicated to critically unpack the meaning of the call to re-write the Bible made by the first President of Zimbabwe, Canaan S. Banana in 1991. In this book, the author engages with Banana’s written works and makes critical observations regarding the call to re-write the Bible. This book argues that re-writing was proposed as a means to an end by Banana. It is demonstrated that what Banana intended was eradicating injustice, violence and inequality in the Middle East which was fuelled by the “ideology of chosenness”, which was sustained by a use of the Bible. Once it became clear the end was not re-writing the Bible, this work moved on to consider alternative means to achieving the same end. The search for alternatives leads the author to consider “the way of Europe”, that is, de-biblification or a watered down de-biblification, which is named partial de-biblification in this work. Finally, the author proposes a “critical biblification” as a viable alternative to re-writing or de-biblification. This book, in honour of Banana, calls for socially and contextually relevant biblical studies.
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 of BiAS is on theory and practise of biblical tranlation. In 1857, Setswana language produced the first complete Bible in a Bantu language. The second Setswana Bible was published in 1908 – the third in 1970. In each case, different circumstances, factors or contextual frames of reference dictated the need for such a Bible version. The frames converged to cause differences between the meanings of the Setswana Bibles and their sources. This book demonstrates how specific socio-cultural, organisational, linguistic, textual and communicational frames probably influenced the outcome of each Bible. It subsequently presents a framework for analysing existing Bibles and for minimising the occurrence of shifts in prospective translations. The book of Ruth is used as an example while Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (BHS) is treated as an ideal source text.
This volume was motivated by the realisation that AICs continue to be a significant player on Zimbabwe’s spiritual market. Members of predominantly Apostolic, but also Zionist, churches are highly visible in both rural and urban areas. Prophets from AICs are constantly in the news, alongside advertising their competence in urban areas. Thus it is high time to bring AICs being an important part of recent social reality in Zimbabwe back into academic focus.
BiAS 15 at the same time is ERA 1 which means that this volume opens a new sub-series to BiAS which is meant to explore religion in Africa in all its manifold manifestation, be it Christian or not.
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.
Volume 13 of BiAS series brings out into prominence issues at the bottom of dialogue between African and Christian attitudes to nature. The Shona notion of hierarchy of sacredness of nature as opposed to the intrinsic value of nature forms a barrier to a possible reconciliation between Shona and Christian attitudes to nature. This is largely based on the belief that some aspects of nature in Shona are imbued with spirits. Although sacred aspects may be accidentally protected, there is a weakness in the discriminative attitudes that leaves other aspects vulnerable. It appears the Shona have yet to extricate themselves from an ethic based on fear of ancestral spirits to conscious assessment of scientific causes of ecological imbalances. Shona attitudes to nature fail to take account of the denial of the sacredness of some aspects of nature. The Christian attitudes to nature on the other hand, propound the doctrine of the equal worth and equal integrity of all aspects of nature, rather than a discriminative sacredness of nature. The attitudes are, however, based on the assumption that nature is purely material. This position results into divergent attitudes to nature. Attitudes to nature presented from a Christian perspective appear reluctant to identify divinity with natural phenomena. Christianity suggests the idea of creation value to bridge this gap. To this end, the creation value to which Christian attitudes tend to lend support, might well act as common denominator between Shona and Christian attitudes to nature particularly in the light of eco-spirituality and move towards African-Christian environmental ethics.
BiAS 12 examines the phenomenon of prophets and prophecy in contemporary Zimbabwe. By applying insights from biblical studies and other approaches, the volume sheds light on how this contentious phenomenon has been discussed in the Zimbabwean context. The different chapters highlight the role of the Bible, gender, media, literature and other perspectives have influenced attitudes towards prophets and prophecy in Zimbabwe. While the phenomenon has been principally associated with the new wave of Pentecostalism, it remains critical to appreciate pre-existing attitudes towards prophets from African Initiated Churches (AICs), as well as traditional healers in African Indigenous Religions (AIRs). Contributors to this volume have explored the complexities that characterize prophets and prophecy. The volume is of interest to scholars in biblical studies, theology, religious studies, political science, anthropology, philosophy and other disciplines. General readers, church leaders and civil society activists will also find the chapters in this volume valuable.
Taking the word ḤSD in the Book of Ruth as an example, this study argues that the meaning of a word can only be fully determined by taking into consideration the linguistic and socio-cultural contexts within which it functions. A basic assumption is that the biblical source text serves as a frame of reference for the semantic analysis of a particular word. The text provides an integrative semantic and pragmatic framework within which a biblical term must be investigated with reference to its wider socio-cultural setting.
This book was passed as a PhD thesis at Bayreuth University, Germany. The author challenges African Biblical scholars and Christian leaders to premise Biblical interpretation on the experiences of the often neglected underclasses. The author argues that from a comparative historical, cultural and material methodological point of view, the experiences of the Zimbabwean underclasses whose collective ordeal is represented by the experiences of domestic workers are strikingly similar to those suffered by slaves among other underclasses in the biblical world. In the same way religion was appropriated by the elite to validate oppression of the underclasses in the biblical world, the author shows that since the colonial era, Christianity in Africa, through biblical interpretation among many other tactics has been an influential force on the side of the dominant class to advance their racial, class and gender interests. To date, in Zimbabwe for example, the Bible (and religion in general) is manipulated by the dominant minority to justify and entrench the exploitation of the majority underclasses. On the other hand, the author observes that the history of ancient Israel, Roman colonial Palestine and colonial Zimbabwe evidences that when religion is appropriated (and/or the Bible is read and interpreted) from the historical cultural and material conditions of the underclasses, it can be a valuable resource not only for their mobilization to overthrow oppressive systems but also for justifying their resistance tactics. Aluta Continua!!(The Struggle goes on!!)
This volume was passed as doctoral thesis by the University of South Africa (UNISA). The author contends throughout the book that it is arguably clear that the AIDS epidemic has infected and affected our world in radical ways. Although every sector, including Biblical Studies, has come to its ‘senses’, by realising the urgency to respond; there still appears to be inadequate contextual engagement with the biblical text to stimulate empowering and transformative readings of the Bible.
The author presents his interpretative case aimed to contribute to scholarship by determining the extent to which the church, the academy and Persons with HIV have adhered to stigmatising interpretations. He uses reader response method theoretical framework as applied within the context of African theology because it is socially located.
Unlike many books, this one emerges from empirical findings. The data was collected through focus groups and personal interviews. The purposive sampling included 70 participants, who were divided into three key categories: academic theologians, university students and persons with HIV. All participants in the study re-read 2 Samuel 13:1-14:33 in order to ascertain if the characters therein could be relevant to the context of AIDS.
Towards the end, the author sums up his case by endorsing that, characters from 2 Samuel 13:1-14:33 can provide an empowering message in the context of AIDS. Although this biblical text has often been misused to promote stigma, this study confirmed that it was nonetheless possible to use the same text to unearth redemptive and empowering interpretations. Therefore the book recommends that the move towards an HIV/AIDS Biblical Hermeneutics invites socially engaged scholars along with ordinary readers to read the text together for transformative purposes.