• Jannie Malan University of the Western Cape
Keywords: biblical studies, reinterpreting the Bible


A dual root problem for the promotion of Biblical Studies in a democratic, multi-faith South Africa identified: the (often well intended?) distortion of the original Christian tradition and authority into a pressuring combination of ‘Christian’ traditionalism and authoritarianism. It is important to deal with this problem, but also to relate to the people concerned. A pair of problem-solving direction indicators towards the solution of this problem is suggested: reinterpreting and relevantising. As a book that originated in real life-situations and addresses the real life-situations of it’s readers, the Bible has to be constantly reinterpreted.  A scholarly, imaginative, contextual study of the Bible (and of Christian theology and Biblical Studies) is no threat to the original Good News of Christianity.  It may precisely highlight the uncomplicated, powerful Christian message.Such a reinterpretation obviously goes hand in hand with the revitalising of the original life-relatedness of the Christian message and the relevantising of the Bible in our teaching – by focusing on relevant topics, questions and problems, on input from students, and by taking into account various religious options, philosophical and ideological views, popular conceptions, and the findings of the natural and human sciences.So, if Christianity and Christian Studies are to be experienced as really relevant in the new South Africa, the solution to be planned will have to restore the emphasis on life-transformation, that was jeopardised by traditionalism and authoritarianism.