Original Research - Special Collection: Christina Landman Festschrift

Gendered African (biblical) scholarship: An ode to Talitha

Maarman S. Tshehla
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 75, No 1 | a5294 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v75i1.5294 | © 2019 Maarman S. Tshehla | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 23 October 2018 | Published: 29 November 2019

About the author(s)

Maarman S. Tshehla, Research Institute for Theology and Religion, University of South Africa, Pretoria; School of Religion, Philosophy & Classics, College of Humanities, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa


Attributed in Christian scripture to Jesus’s very lips, the intriguing Aramaic phrase ‘Talitha, Kum!’ has emerged as an important refrain within gendered African theological scholarship. African women’s experiences in the hands of religion and culture do so resonate with the two tangled stories that comprise the phrase’s literary context. The resonance is such that African women’s Bible reading strategies have come to be referred to as ‘Talitha cum African women’s biblical hermeneutics’ or some variant thereof. The ensuing panegyric by a male admirer engages the fresh ways whereby African women biblical hermeneutics (aka Talitha) are breathing new life into (African) biblical scholarship. In appreciation and tribute to African women theologians’ fragrant contributions to Christian life and reflection, the ode samples their work in a manner that in places feels intrusive whilst certainly nowhere near complete.


Talitha kum; Gendered biblical hermeneutics; Circle of Concerned African women Theologians; Bible; Mark 5:21–43


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