Gambaran Umum Mengenai Penggunaan Teori-teori Sosial Dalam Studi Penafsiran Kitab Suci Ibrani (PL)

  • Meno Soebagjo


The implementation of social-scientific methods and theoris to biblical texts in anattempt to reconstruct the social worlds behind these texts reflects a new paradigm. Thereis a shift away from the perspectives of historical critics and biblical theologians (theolder models), to new models in shedding light on ancient Israels social worlds. Thesenew theories generated from the social sciences provide biblical scholars with models forunderstanding social and religious phenomena that are very different from the dynamicsfound in modern life.

Most important among the subdisciplines of the social sciences are Sociology andAnthropology. Sociology is useful in locating and analyzing patterns of social behavourthat provide generalizations about social change. Anthropology and its subdisciplines,such as Archaeology and Structural Anthropology, focuses on the comparative study ofhuman behaviour. The combined application of these methods allows the researcher toreconstruct various social dimentions of the biblical text.

The representatives of early anthropological studies that attempted to understandthe social structure and religious customes of ancient Israel and served as precursors forcontemporary social-scientific criticism are R.W. Smith (1889) and J. Wellhausen (1897).Their anthropological approaches were accepted by later scholars such as J. Pederson(1920) and R. de Vaux (1958). Focusing on socioeconomic conditions, G. Mendenhall(1973) rejected Noths thesis of the amphictyonic social organization in ancient Israel.Mendenhall argued that early Israel was a peasant-based tribal federation that revoltedagainst its Canaanite overlords and bound itself together through a covenant traditionwith God.

The current theoretical scene is made up of diverse social scientific paradigms.There are some areas in the study of the Hebrew Bible that have received extensiveattention from scholars using sociological methods, such as Israels origins, theemergence of the monarchy, prophecy, apocalypticism, and law and wisdom. Thesociology of literature and the issue of the sociological settings of early Christianity andits interaction with Judaism are still waiting such approaches.

Author Biography

Meno Soebagjo
Lecturer at The Faculty of Theology Duta Wacana Christian University
How to Cite
SOEBAGJO, Meno. Gambaran Umum Mengenai Penggunaan Teori-teori Sosial Dalam Studi Penafsiran Kitab Suci Ibrani (PL). Gema Teologi, [S.l.], v. 30, n. 1, apr. 2006. ISSN 08534500. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 16 oct. 2019.


Sociology; sociological; anthroplogy; anthropological; social setting; social change; ancient Israel; analysis; comparative data; biblical texts