Original Research - Special Collection: Boston Papers

‘Foxes’ holes and birds’ nests’ (Mt 8:20): A postcolonial reading for South Africans from the perspective of Matthew’s anti-societal language

Andries G. van Aarde
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 65, No 1 | a318 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v65i1.318 | © 2009 Andries G. van Aarde | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 15 July 2009 | Published: 11 November 2009

About the author(s)

Andries G. van Aarde, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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South Africa is experiencing an exceptionally high crime rate and many people, across the various ethnic groups, are beset by poverty. The question is whether the prevalence of violence in South Africa is the result of neocolonialism or postcolonialism, among other complicated sociological factors. The current article suggests how postcolonial hermeneutics can provide access to the diverse complexities of Africa. Postcolonial consciousness means that the experience of the Other is taken seriously from their own perspective. From the perspective of anti-societal language in the Gospel of Matthew, postcolonial theory is presented as a tool for biblical interpretation that assists in identifying colonial intentions that informed and influenced the South African context. Such theory calls for a constructive reading of concerns relating to justice. The article focuses on the Jesus saying, as influenced by Roman imperial policy. It deals with the comparison between the fate of beasts and that of the son of man, who has nowhere to lay his head (Mt 8:20).


Gospel of Matthew; postcolonial hermeneutics; Roman imperialism; anti-societal language; Mt 8:20


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1. Regeneration and resurrection in Matthew – Peasants in campo hearing time signals from scribes
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doi: 10.4102/hts.v67i3.1012