Original Research - Special Collection: Otto-Le Roux Dedication

Interpreting texts and the matter of context: Examples from the Book of Ruth

Gerda de Villiers
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 40, No 1 | a1925 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v40i1.1925 | © 2019 Gerda de Villiers | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 14 August 2018 | Published: 28 March 2019

About the author(s)

Gerda de Villiers, Department Old Testament Studies, Faculty of Theology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa


This article aims to explore the matter of context in biblical exegesis and interpretation. Several exegetical approaches are discussed, namely, text-immanent, intertextual comparison, reader-response criticism, which is subdivided into feminist and postcolonial studies, and historical criticism. The pros and cons of each approach will also be indicated. The Book of Ruth (RB) is subjected under all of these forms of exegesis in order to illustrate how a single text can be interpreted in various, even divergent ways, depending on the approach chosen by the exegete.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: This article aims to explore the matter of context in biblical exegesis and interpretation. It examines the biblical Book of Ruth by employing literary and theological theories. Different interpretations are illuminated according to the methodology chosen by the exegete.


Exegesis; Hebrew Bible; The Book of Ruth; text; text-immanent; intertext; reader-response criticism; feminism; Postcolonialism; social identity; context; historic critical


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Crossref Citations

1. African biblical hermeneutics and the Book of Ruth: Some observations
Gezina G. de Villiers
Verbum et Ecclesia  vol: 42  issue: 1  year: 2021  
doi: 10.4102/ve.v42i1.2371