| A DISCUSSION WITH DR. ANDREAS VONACH
The Relevance of Deuteronomistic History for Today
A Discussion with Dr. Andreas Vonach
Professor of Biblical Studies and Historical Theology
University of Innsbruck
On Tuesday 15th September 2009, Dr. Andreas Vonach, Professor of Biblical Studies and Historical Theology, University of Innsbruck spent an interactive evening with the Staff and Students of De Nobili Collge. The evening was organised by the Institute for the Study of Religion. The theme of the discussion was on the Relevance of Deuteronomistic History for Today.
Dr. Andreas Vonach alluded to the fact that Deuternomistic history is a self-critical history where the Israelites looked back critically on their past through the eyes of faith. He went to elaborate on the sitz-im-leben of the period – how the Israelites who were called to believe in monolatory at that time, had to live in harmony with other people and their religions around them. While the solutions posed by the Deuteronomists were proper to those times, Dr. Vonach raised the interesting question of how this situation, posing as it does a challenge to Christianity in India, is applicable in India.
He highlighted the charismatic role of the prophets and their socio-politically critical message and compared that to the unheard and disliked voices of the prophets today.
Finally, the presentation closed with the example of the prostitute Rahab, the first non-Israelite to confess the God of Israelites, YHWH – an example of how often neglected and marginalised people have a role to play in God’s salvific plan.
After the presentation, there was a round of fruitful discussion on the present religious situation in
India, and a possible Christian response in a multi religious society.
Richard D'Souza, S.J.
Orville de Silva, S.J.