GUARDING THE MYSTERY AND MAJESTY OF GOD: REFLECTIONS ON THE HERMENEUTICAL IMPLICATIONS OF THE SECOND COMMANDMENT
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AbstractThe early post-exilic period in Israel’s history saw a radical reinterpretation of Yahweh’s presence among his people. This re-orientation was prompted by the significantly changed socio-religious conditions during the Persian era. Yahwism had to be defined in the absence of the luxurious sanctuary of the monarchic era, as well as in the context of a diversity of religions. Within this context the radical shift which is witnessed in the second commandment took place. A movement away from cult images to the strong prohibition of images (aniconism) was concluded. This movement is a reflection of the hermeneutical altercation on the mystery and majesty of God. The present paper investigates the hermeneutical implications of the second commandment for reflecting on human dignity in an African context. An overview will be provided of the history of research on the second commandment and the religious-historical circumstances that prompted it. Thereafter, the results of the overview will be brought into interaction with one particular Africentric interpretation of the Second Commandment.