Verbum et Ecclesia (Dec 2021)

African biblical hermeneutics and the Book of Ruth: Some observations

  • Gezina G. de Villiers

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 42, no. 1
pp. e1 – e6


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This article investigates interpretations of the Book of Ruth from the point of view of some African scholars. Firstly, an attempt is made to understand what is meant by African biblical hermeneutics (ABH). An overview of the emergence of ABH is given, and the question why reading the Bible from an African perspective was necessary, is addressed. It appears that African biblical scholars and an African Christian community could not relate to Western European interpretations of the Bible that reflect western experiences and concerns that were vastly different from their own postcolonial experiences and concerns since the latter part of the 20th century. Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: The engagement between Western and ABH is discussed, and ABH as a necessary and viable means of biblical interpretation is recognised, but a point of critique is also raised at the end of this section. Thereafter an overview of ABH as appropriated to the Book of Ruth is given, and finally, some evaluative conclusions are drawn.