Original Research

Engaging with the book of Ruth as single, African Christian women: One African woman's reflection

Madipoane Masenya (ngwan'a Mphahlele)
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 34, No 1 | a771 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v34i1.771 | © 2013 Madipoane Masenya (ngwan'a Mphahlele) | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 25 July 2012 | Published: 30 September 2013

About the author(s)

Madipoane Masenya (ngwan'a Mphahlele), Department of Biblical and Ancient Studies, University of South Africa, South Africa


In their quest for knowledge, biblical scholars make the Christian Bible the object of scrutiny, analysis and critique. However, in the African–South African context dealt with in this article, the Bible is accessed not only for knowledge, but mainly for nurturing faith and for life. Hence, the character of Ruth in the Hebrew Bible is still viewed by some widows as providing a model of courage and steadfastness in a context in which heterosexual unions remain a norm. As the book of Ruth portrays some points of resemblance between the cultural milieu that produced it and many African contexts, this article has also benefited by investigating the kind of reading which might emerge if the book is read from the perspective of traditional African women. Questions addressed by this article were: which prospects may the story have if read in a traditional African female setting? Are there any prospects for knowledge, for belief and for life if the book is read from the perspective of single African Christian women in South Africa, women for whom the Bible remains important for their spiritual nurturing? If there are prospects, are these really knowledge-worthy, faith-nurturing and life-enhancing?


African culture; Book of Ruth; Moremadi; Pentecostal; Sexuality; Single Christian African women


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Crossref Citations

1. Foregrounding African Ontology/Epistemology: A Reading of Deuteronomy 23:3 and Ruth 4:18–22 Considering the Nature of God
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