The Bible As Specimen, Talisman, And Dragoman In Africa: A Look At Some African Uses Of The Psalms And 1 Corinthians 12-14 -- By: Grant LeMarquand
Journal: Bulletin for Biblical Research
Volume: BBR 22:2 (NA 2012)
Article: The Bible As Specimen, Talisman, And Dragoman In Africa: A Look At Some African Uses Of The Psalms And 1 Corinthians 12-14
Author: Grant LeMarquand
BBR 22:2 (2012) p. 189
The Bible As Specimen, Talisman, And Dragoman In Africa:
A Look At Some African Uses Of The Psalms And 1 Corinthians 12-14
Trinity School For Ministry
The growth of Christian churches in Africa has given rise to diverse interpretations and uses of the Bible. This article examines three uses of the Bible in Africa: as a source of historical information (“specimen”), as a religious or magical object (“talisman”), and as a source of guidance for life (“dragoman”). It employs interpretations of the book of Psalms and of 1 Cor 12-14 to exemplify this brief taxonomy. While challenging the apparent hegemony of Western methodologies in the guild, it also raises points of concern about some African uses of Scripture.
Key Words: Africa, Psalms, 1 Corinthians, magic, miracle, charismata, religion, power, historical-critical method
The predominant mode of studying the Bible in the European and North American biblical guild is the “Scripture as a specimen” mode. For approximately the last 200 years, historical analysis of the biblical text has dominated
BBR 22:2 (2012) p. 190
scholarly discussion. The Enlightenment roots of historical-critical scholarship have been and continue to be discussed, and I will not rehearse the modern history of exegesis here.3 A few brief points will suffice.
First, it should be said that, for all the good and helpful effects of the historical-critical method (close analysis of the historical contexts which gave rise to the text, careful attention to the text itself), there can be little doubt that, for better and for worse, historical scholarship emphasize...
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