“This Wine Is Treacherous” (Hab 2:5a): Reading Condemnations against Violence in Habakkuk 2:5–20 from an Ecotheological Perspective
Festschrift for Willie van Heerden
Keywords:book of Habakkuk, Habakkuk 2:5–20, ecology, ecotheology, hermeneutics of reminescence, Minor Prophets, Babylonian Empire, Persian period
This study engages in an ecotheological reading of Habakkuk 2:5–20, a text riddled with text-critical, redaction-critical, and theological problems. I argue that the central theme permeating this text is the condemnation of human hubris and self-centredness, resulting in violent behaviour, whether it is perpetrated against nature, animals, or humanity in general (Hab 2:17). Utilising a hermeneutics of reminiscence as point of departure, the study argues that the book of Habakkuk is an ancient Near Eastern text bound to its own worldview(s) and societal issues. However, reading Hab 2:5–20 from the perspective of victims of violence against the background of exile and marginalisation opens avenues for ecotheological application. Such a reading recognises both the integrity of the ancient text and its relevance for modern readers struggling with urgent issues that did not exist in biblical times.
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