Original Research

Exegesis seeking appropriation; appropriation seeking exegesis: Re-reading 2 Samuel 13:1−22 in search of redemptive masculinities

Gerald West
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 34, No 2 | a761 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v34i2.761 | © 2013 Gerald West | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 02 July 2012 | Published: 04 September 2013

About the author(s)

Gerald West, Ujamaa Centre, School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa


Exegesis in the traditional sense is concerned with generating as much (scientific) detail about a biblical text as possible. Whilst the two primary modes of biblical exegesis – socio-historical and literary-semiotic – do this differently, they share a common concern for the detail of the text as an ancient artefact. Critical distance is a key concept here, with the exegetes bracketing (for a moment) their own contexts and concerns. However, such bracketing is impossible to sustain, and so the exegetes’ interests (shaped by their contexts and concerns) ‘leak’ into the act of exegesis. Most exegetes today recognise this leakage, and whilst some still view such leakage as contaminating the exegesis, others, including the tradition of African biblical scholarship, actively identify the contextual concerns they bring to the task of exegesis, both respecting the detail of the text and desiring to be accountable to their contexts in which the Bible is a significant text. This article explored some of the dimensions of forms of exegesis that actively seek appropriation, using 2 Samuel 13:1–22 as an example. In this case, the article analysed the contextual shift from a focus on women as the victims of sexual violence to an emerging emphasis on masculinities. Reading the same text from these different contextual concerns ‘activates’ particular details of the text, and so both draw on different elements of the text and thus guides the gaze of exegesis.


African hermeneutics; masculinity; Tamar


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Crossref Citations

1. Exegesis of Romans 13:1–7 and its appropriation to the new dispensation of the Second Republic of Zimbabwe
Ishanesu S. Gusha
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies  vol: 76  issue: 4  year: 2020  
doi: 10.4102/hts.v76i4.6041