Retired Methodist minister and lecturer, Reverend Dr William Watty has launched his second book; entitled ‘The Nathan Narrative in 2 Samuel 7:1-17, A Traditio-Historical Study’.
The book was launched at the Fort Young Hotel on Tuesday 4 April 2017.
Dr Watty, in discussing the making, meaning and significance of the book during the launching, described the book as “a long, long pilgrimage” and a “high point” for him as it is being read here and in the United States of America as a contribution to the study of the Old Testament.
Dr Watty explained that the Dominica Grammar School’s motto ‘A Healthy Mind in a Health Body’ as well as his childhood contributed to the publishing of the book because “but for that stubbornness and that pigheadedness, that book could not be published because when I got my Master’s Degree in 1972 I thought I had reached the pinnacle of my academic career”.
A traditio-historical study, as explained by Dr Watty, “is a study that takes you through the whole process from what we have in our bible to the earlier editions that were written, that are there; sometimes hidden, but there. You can find the earlier histories in the final edition and even beyond the first edition written to the oral traditions”.
He said traditio-historical studies have been in other areas of Old Testament study, for example in the case of Abraham and the arc of the covenant, “but I never saw it done in the case of David and I thought I would make this a study. The traditio-historical study of the Nathan Narrative is really a study of King David”.
Dr Watty explained that the book, which is available for purchase at twenty-eight US dollars a copy, bears historical significance for Dominica as Christianity, which has been in the Caribbean for more than half a millennium, “all of that we know has come to us from outside; people have come to us and told us what theology is, what the bible is, but we have not yet joined the discussion”.
Further, he said most of the teaching and scholarship of the bible has been European, Euro-American, Eurasian, Euro-African, and “we have received it, we have repeated it, we have copied it, but we have not made our contribution to it”.
Thus, the traditio-historical study on King David is part of the Caribbean region’s contribution to the discussion on the Old Testament.
Prior to Dr Watty, there was one Old Testament scholar from the Caribbean; Adam Claude Welch, who was born in Jamaica but travelled to Scotland at six months old because his parents died from Yellow Fever.
“As far as I know, this is the first indigenous contribution from this region to the study of the Old Testament at a scholarly level and if I’m correct, I believe that this is a historic moment for the church in the Caribbean and as a proud Dominican it is a big moment for Dominica,” he said.
“I’m happy to launch this book and I pray that it will find acceptance here, it will find acceptance abroad and that in time to come, we will say that we’ve made our contribution, as we have done in other areas, to the word of God,” Dr Watty said.