In the last few decades in South Africa, much emphasis has been placed on unhistorical,
synchronistic interpretations of the text of the Old Testament. Very little effort has been made to
look into the long historical development of the text from the sources to the present form.
Sometimes the advocates of these synchronistic approaches even responded with hostility
towards any approach that would, in their words, deny the authority of the text. Their search
was for absolute truth, which they believed could be secured by their methods. The uncertainties
of historical research were not attractive to them. In this article, we briefly look at Gerhard Von
Rad’s Traditionsgeschichte [History of Traditions] and Hans-Georg Gadamer’s Wirkungsgeschichte
[Reception History] and point out that mankind is rooted in history. We thus come to
understanding through a process that is tied to our historical horisons. Furthermore, it will become
clear that theology and philosophy can help one another in defining the process of understanding.
J.H.L.R. (Universiteit van Pretoria) was die promotor en
P.H.J.L. (Universiteit van Pretoria) het die navorsing gedoen
en die manuskrip geskryf.