BiAS 20 contains papers presented at the BiAS meeting 2014 in Windhoek (Namibia), with some additional contributions. Scholars from Nigeria, Cameroon, Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Namibia and Germany are dealing with the urgent question of how the Bible is involved in the widespread use of violence in political, social, religious, and gender conflicts. One leading question is how to deal with the textual representation of violence in the Bible. It is taken up by more general hermeneutical contributions. The other leading question is how biblical texts and/or concepts are used to cause and justify violence. This is taken up by a greater number of articles which deal with concrete societal and political contexts in Zimbabwe and other African countries. The conference in Namibia was supported as a Humboldt-Kolleg on the Bible and Violence in Africa by the German Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.
This volume deals with the financing of missions and missionaries which has been a headache for the church for ages. Many approaches to funding the proclamation of the gospel have often been very pragmatic, without a solid biblical foundation. In this book Paul’s claim to offer the gospel adapanon, or free of charge, is thoroughly discussed, and posed as a biblical approach to presenting the good news to the nations. This work does not only provide an in-depth look into the Scriptural basis for tentmaking, but also studies the social and historical background to the practise in the First Century Mediterranean, and in Twenty-First Century Botswana.
Information on the author:
Dr Johannes Wessels is a Post-Doctoral fellow at the North-West University, Mahikeng Campus (South Africa), and has been involved in missions since his years as a student at the same institution. Johannes has been a pastor in various contexts in South-Africa and Botswana for more than two decades, and is also involved in the management of Natanjá Christian School in Ottosdal, South Africa.
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.