WE HAVE YOKED A LION: THE 7th COMMANDMENT AND HUMAN DIGNITY IN AFRICA

Danie Van Zyl

Abstract


It is argued that the prohibition against adultery and related extra marital sexual
acts in pre and early Biblical times were not aimed at such acts per se, but at
stabilizing relations and protecting the their ethical function was enhanced by
making these part of cultic purity regulations. In the post-Old Testament period and
especially in the early Christian tradition, sexual restraint to the boundaries of
marriage became key in denoting the uniqueness of faith commitment. Since the
medieval period through the Reformation and especially in its pietistic off-springs,
adultery came to be viewed as one of the main ‘sins’ of humankind. In reaction to
this, since the sexual revolution of the mid sixties of the previous century, extra
marital sex became a commodity to proportions of idolatry. In traditional African
communities there was a very open and relaxed view and practice of extra marital
sex. The introduction of Western pietistic missionary teaching on sex on the one
hand and the disruption of traditional culture through westernization and lately by
mass media, disrupted sexual stability to disastrous proportions in many African
communities. In African Christian communities, sexual purity is usually valued
highly but seldom practiced. The unrestrained practice of sex and the consequential
damage to human dignity of women and children in particular, cannot be redressed
by simply preaching the seventh commandment loader. It will have to go hand in
hand with redressing of social relations.

Keywords


Seventh Commandment; Sexuality; in Old Testament; Christian History; Africa; Women; Youth; Marriage; Cross Cultural Communication; Human Rights

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7833/109-0-129

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ISSN 2305-445X (online); ISSN 0254-1807 (print)

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