Original Research - Special Collection: African Hermeneutics

African biblical hermeneutics and the Book of Ruth: Some observations

Gezina G. de Villiers
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 42, No 1 | a2371 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v42i1.2371 | © 2021 Gezina G. de Villiers | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 14 September 2021 | Published: 03 December 2021

About the author(s)

Gezina G. de Villiers, Department of Old Testament Studies and Hebrew Scriptures, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa


This article investigates interpretations of the Book of Ruth from the point of view of some African scholars. Firstly, an attempt is made to understand what is meant by African biblical hermeneutics (ABH). An overview of the emergence of ABH is given, and the question why reading the Bible from an African perspective was necessary, is addressed. It appears that African biblical scholars and an African Christian community could not relate to Western European interpretations of the Bible that reflect western experiences and concerns that were vastly different from their own postcolonial experiences and concerns since the latter part of the 20th century.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: The engagement between Western and ABH is discussed, and ABH as a necessary and viable means of biblical interpretation is recognised, but a point of critique is also raised at the end of this section. Thereafter an overview of ABH as appropriated to the Book of Ruth is given, and finally, some evaluative conclusions are drawn.


African biblical hermeneutics; African biblical studies; Old Testament; Book of Ruth; African scholars; contextual reading; comparative paradigm; comparative methodology


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Crossref Citations

1. ‘I will marry Ruth so that the name of the dead will not be blotted out’: Exploring הסך (hesed) in Ruth 4:1–13
Damian O. Odo, Collins I. Ugwu
Verbum et Ecclesia  vol: 43  issue: 1  year: 2022  
doi: 10.4102/ve.v43i1.2471