Creation Utterly Consumed? Towards an Eco-critical Rereading of Zephaniah 1:2–6

  • Cornelis Johannes Redelinghuys University of the Free State
Keywords: Zephaniah 1, 2–6, The Earth Bible, Suspicion, Identification, Retrieval, Stewardship, Theocentric Approach, Nature and the Hebrew Bible, Eco-hermeneutics, Ecological Criticism


Few texts from the Hebrew Prophets present such a disconcerting ecological perspective as does Zephaniah 1:2–6. While the text itself receives only scant attention in resources dealing with ecological interpretations of the Bible, it nevertheless becomes clear that Nature plays a multifaceted role that the interpreter should not overlook. Consequently, this article aims to present an eco-critical rereading of the text based on the ecojustice principles of the Earth Bible, and Norman Habel’s tools for analysis — suspicion, identification, retrieval. Such a rereading further uncovers certain questions, problems, and challenges concerning the kinship between humans and Nature. Because it continuously works to avoid anthropocentrism and engages in dialogue with the natural sciences, the theocentric approach presents itself as a viable way to elucidate this complicated and often misrepresented relationship. Finally, the author suggests, by way of comparison, that a theocentric reading surpasses the traditional stewardship approach when it comes to an understanding and/or appropriation of the Zephaniah 1:2–6 in the contemporary context.

Author Biography

Cornelis Johannes Redelinghuys, University of the Free State
Ph.D. candidate (Old Testament and Ethics) at the University of the Free State (Bloemfontein).


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