Original Research - Special Collection: African Hermeneutics

Exploring Ruth 1:16–18 in the context of mother and daughter-in-law relationships in Igboland

Damian O. Odo
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 42, No 1 | a2213 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v42i1.2213 | © 2021 Damian O. Odo | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 January 2021 | Published: 09 July 2021

About the author(s)

Damian O. Odo, Department of Religion and Cultural Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria; Department of Old Testament and Hebrew Scriptures, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

This article read Ruth 1:16–18 in the context of mother and daughter-in-law relationships in Igboland. Literary analysis was adopted in this study. The literary construct of Ruth 1:16–18 was ranked amongst the Locus Classicus of Old Testament. This pericope celebrated Ruth’s vehement resolution to remain with Naomi, her mother-in-law, despite Naomi’s present hopelessness and slim prospect of the future. Ruth understood that by entering into marriage bond with Naomi’s son, she has also accepted to love and care for her and adopted her husband’s people as her own. The traditional Igbo society had similar cultural norms and values of respecting and caring for their elders. The finding of this study, however, disclosed that the wind of westernisation and modernity has negatively affected the extended family system that was the bedrock of mother and daughter-in-law relationships in Igboland. This article argued that the hermeneutical relevance of Ruth 1:16–18 will help in strengthening mother and daughter-in-law relationships in the modern Igbo society.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: The literary construct of Ruth 1:16–18 was ranked amongst the Locus Classicus of Old Testament. This pericope celebrated Ruth’s love and determination to remain with Naomi, her mother-in-law. The text of Ruth 1:16–18 was studied in the context of mother and daughter-in-law relationships in modern Igboland. Disciplines implicated were Old Testament exegesis and contextual biblical hermeneutics.


Keywords

Ruth 1:16–18; mother-in-law; sister-in-law; norm; cultural value; modernity; Igboland; modern Igboland

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