Original Research - Special Collection: P.M. Venter Dedication

The problem of money in the hand of a fool

James Alfred Loader
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 68, No 1 | a1266 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v68i1.1266 | © 2012 James Alfred Loader | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 28 May 2012 | Published: 15 October 2012

About the author(s)

James Alfred Loader, Faculty of Theology, University of Vienna, Austria; Department of Old Testament and Ancient Near Eastern Studies, University of South Africa, South Africa; Department of Ancient Languages and Cultures, University of Pretoria, South Africa; Faculty of Theology, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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This article focused on a single proverb, viz. Proverbs 17:16. The syntax and stylistic features were analysed to demonstrate the extreme polyvalence that can characterise terse aphorisms. Fifteen readings were examined and evaluated, resulting in the distillation of four equally valid clusters of meaning. This informed the argument that the terseness of aphorisms is con­ducive to multiple legitimate interpretations which constitute the ‘read ings’. The implications were considered in terms of intentionality and text­im man ence in detailed exegesis. It was concluded that a combination of sophisticated linguistics and styl istic sensitivity in proverb exegesis can, in the sense of Her derian and Gunkelian ‘Ein­füh­lung’ in minutiae, uncover a richness in ostensibly simple texts – which is to be distinguished from traditional methods claiming to probe ‘under the surface’.


aphorism; proverb; terse saying; multiple readings; polyvalence


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