Monday, May 21, 2007

Reading the Bible in Africa

Neat Link A fellow episcopal-seminary professor, Dr. Grant LeMarquand has an extensive (155 page) bibliography of the Bible in Africa posted on the Web. It appears up to date through the end of the 1990s (actually, there are 6 entries from 2000 and 3 from 2001). The bibliography is definitely worth a look (click here).

LeMarquand has done some interesting work on Sudanese "readings" of the Bible, which naturally is of special interest to us here at VTS. Among texts of the Hebrew Bible of special interest to Christians in Sudan are Psalm 68:31 and Zephaniah 3:9-10. The Sudanese often see the former text to be an announcement of the blossoming of Christian faith that Sudan has now been seeing. The psalm declares that though Egypt and Cush (read Sudan) were formerly hostile to God's people, they will certainly turn to God.

Like Psalm 68, Zephaniah 3:9-10 speaks of new worshippers turning to God from "beyond the rivers of Cush." Sudan is the land of the "two Niles," so a reference to "rivers [plural] of Cush" really hits home to the Sudanese. That the African people are called "dispersed ones" here also hits home hard in light of the huge refugee crises in Sudan. In modern times, millions of Sudanese people have been displaced both within Sudan and externally to surrounding countries.

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