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The Study of the New Testament in African Universities1

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Chapter Summary

In her presidential address to the Annual Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) in 1987, Elizabeth Schussler Fiorenza referred to the statement of Rudolf Bultmann that World War II had no effect whatsoever on his New Testament (NT) scholarship. In her address she argued that the dominant "scientist" ethos of biblical scholarship should be "decentred" in the scholarly community of the SBL and "recentred" to become "a critical interpretive praxis for liberation". To achieve this, she argued, a double ethics is needed: an ethics of historical reading and an ethics of accountability. This chapter addresses this challenge for social accountability for NT scholarship from a somewhat different perspective and in a broader context than the scholarly guild within which biblical scholars usually conduct their work. It considers the issue in the context and from the perspective of what universities are, in particular in the African context.

Keywords: African universities; Elizabeth Schussler Fiorenza; New Testament (NT); Rudolf Bultmann; Society of Biblical Literature (SBL)



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