This volume of essays, the first of its kind, highlights some of the unique ways in which African women read and interpret the Bible in their diverse historical and cultural contexts. Early Bible translation and interpretation in Africa was carried out primarily by foreign missionaries and thus was deeply influenced by patriarchal and colonial ideologies. The strategies of resistance to these dominant traditions exemplified by the contributors to this volume include examining translations in their own languages and reading from a variety of perspectives. Although the authors write as individual scholars, their work has been shaped by the intersection of the biblical traditions with the various churches, women’s groups, and other reading communities with which they are in conversation.
Featured methods include storytelling (Rose Teteki Abbey, Mmadipoane Masenya, and Musa W. Dube); postcolonial feminist reading (Dora R. Mbuwayesango and Gomang Seratwa Ntloedibe-Kuswani); womanhood/bosadi and womanist reading (Mmadipoane Masenya and Sarojini Nadar); divination (Musa W. Dube); and reading from and with grassroots communities (Musimbi R. A. Kanyoro and Gloria Kehilwe Plaatjie). Responses locate the collection along a spectrum of scholarship, including that of Western feminists (Phyllis A. Bird), African women theologians (Nyambura J. Njoroge), and African male theologians (Tinyiko S. Maluleke).
This book, originating from the Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians, provides important new tools and resources for the study of the Bible in Africa, complements the work of Western feminist and womanist theologians and biblical scholars, and embodies postcolonial scholarly concern to take seriously “other” ways of reading. The result is a significant contribution to global biblical scholarship and hermeneutical reflection.