Facing the Fate of the Proverbial Eagle? Re-envisioning African Biblical Hermeneutics within the MIT’s in Present Day South Africa

  • Madipoane Masenya (Ngwan'a Mphahlele) University of South Africa
Keywords: African biblical hermeneutics, biblical studies, proverbial eagle (nong), Bathsheba, and Dora Motshabi


Professor I.J.J. Spangenberg has invested much of his teaching time at universities in the subject of Biblical Studies among others. He is thus aware of the “glorious” days of the subject as well as of the events which led to its downfall.  It is thus fitting that in an article that seeks to honour his scholarship, also aware of his commitment to offerings that would impact on the daily lives of the people, an article that examines a possible new way of offering Biblical Studies in our African contexts, be dedicated to him. When considering the place of Biblical Studies as a school subject in South African history, one cannot but be reminded of the (predictable) fate of the proverbial eagle. Says one African proverb: o se bone go akalala ga bonong, go wa fase ke ga yona: do not puzzled by the (pride) of an eagle which soars so high, its fall is certain. Considering the present (slippery) place of (traditional) Biblical Studies as offered in South African institutions of higher learning, the subject’s future appears to be gloomy. In the era of the MIT’s (Multi, Inter, Transdisciplinarities), (biblical) scholars should be persuaded to move away from their discipline-specific silos to engage with other disciplines in order for the subject to enrich other disciplines and vice versa. If disciplines such (African) History and Folklore Studies are made to interact with the subject of Biblical Studies, which contribution may such a “merger” bring to the study of African Biblical Hermeneutics in (South) Africa today?



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