This article used some postmodern literary theories of philosophers such as Jean-François
Lyotard, Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida and Julia Kristeva to scrutinise a selection of texts
from the post-exilic period with regard to the exclusive language employed in these texts.
Lyotard’s insights relate to and complement Foucault’s concept of ‘counter-memory’. Foucault
also focuses on the network of discursive powers that operate behind texts and reproduce
them, arguing that it is important to have a look from behind so as to see which voices were
silenced by the specific powers behind texts. The author briefly looked at different post-exilic
texts within identity-finding contexts, focusing especially on Chronicles and a few Qumran
texts, to examine the way in which they used language to create identity and to empower the
community in their different contexts. It is generally accepted that both the author(s) of 1 & 2
Chronicles and the Qumran community used texts selectively, with their own nuances,
omissions and additions. This study scrutinised the way the author(s) of Chronicles and the
Qumran community used documents selectively, focusing on the way in which they used
exclusive language. It is clear that all communities used such language in certain circumstances
to strengthen a certain group’s identity, to empower them and to legitimise this group’s
conduct, behaviour and claims – and thereby exclude other groups.
INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS : Based on postmodern literary
theories, this article compares the exclusive language used in Chronicles and in the texts of the
Qumran community, pointing to the practice of creating identity and empowering through
discourse. In conclusion, the article reflects on what is necessary in a South African context,
post-1994, to be a truly democratic country.
This article is a revision of a paper that I delivered at the OTSSA conference in 2014. The theme of the conference was ‘Studying
the Old Testament in South Africa from 1994 to 2014 and beyond’.