Original Research

Narratology and Orality in African Biblical Hermeneutics: Reading the story of Naboth's vineyard and Jehu's revolution in light of Intsomi yamaXhosa

Ndikho Mtshiselwa
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 37, No 1 | a1563 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v37i1.1563 | © 2016 Ndikho Mtshiselwa | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 07 January 2016 | Published: 16 November 2016

About the author(s)

Ndikho Mtshiselwa, Department of Biblical and Ancient Studies, University of South Africa, South Africa


On the issue of methodology, oral literature has been decisive in the interpretation of the Hebrew Bible in Africa. For instance, Madipoane Masenya (ngwan’a Mphahlele) convincingly employed the folktale of the ‘Rabbit and the Lion’ in her interpretation of the Bible. That Narratology and Orality in African Biblical Hermeneutics is a rarely researched area within biblical scholarship provides room for further studies in this area. This article argues that the reading of the Deuteronomistic story of Naboth’s vineyard and Jehu’s revolution in the light of Intsomi yamaXhosa [the folktale of the Xhosa people] illustrates how biblical interpretation in Africa could be informed by Orality and Narratology. This article examines the light that the socio-economic function of the story of Naboth’s vineyard and Jehu’s revolution would throw on the function of the folktale of Intsimi yeenyamakazana, and vice versa. Furthermore, the present article probes the socio-economic implications that can be drawn from biblical and Xhosa Orality and Narratology for post-apartheid South Africa.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: This article draws on the indigenous knowledge system, namely Xhosa Narratology and Orality, to interpret Old Testament texts with a view to offering liberating socio-economic possibilities for poor black people in South Africa.


Old Testament; Xhosa literature; orality; narratology; land


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