HTS Theological Studies
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Open Access journal
ISSN (Print) 0259-9422 - ISSN (Online) 2072-8050
Published by SciELO [716 journals]
- Pastoral lessons from Augustine's theological correspondence with
Abstract: Augustine of Hippo (354-430) was a fourth- and fifth-century monk-bishop who left a great imprint on the spiritual leaders of his day by overseeing the monastery at Hippo Regius and also authoring a significant corpus of letters that were pastoral in nature. What is often overlooked in the study of his pastoral ministry and, thus, the focus of this article, is Augustine's theological correspondence with 15 different women. Through surveying the themes and issues in these letters, I have endeavoured to show that, though a monk, Augustine did care for women in his pastoral ministry and his letters show that he discussed with women many of the issues of his day (pastoral issues, church matters, monastic ideas, theology, and practical theology) that he also discussed with his male correspondents. In short, Augustine believed that these women were much like his mother Monica - capable of grasping biblical and theological issues - and he valued them as an important part of the church. I conclude the article by summarising Augustine's approaches to and values for ministering to women.
- Review of James Alfred Loader 'Proverbs 1-9' (Historical Commentary on the
Old Testament), Peeters Leuven, 2014
Abstract: Loader's commentary on Proverbs 1-9 belongs to the category of technical commentaries. It is evaluated in terms of similar commentaries written by scholars who focus on interpreting the original Hebrew text. The design of the commentary, the four essays included in the commentary, and the approach to the text is discussed. A final section deals with Loader's exposition of Proverbs 8. This section focuses on the problematic Hebrew terms qnhin 8:22 and 'amon in 8:30 and compares his interpretation with the opinions raised by other scholars in this regard.
- The text-critical and exegetical value of the Dead Sea Scrolls
Abstract: This article will analyse a number of Dead Sea manuscripts and/or fragments in order to determine their linguistic and exegetical value. The article will, firstly, address textual material that is largely in agreement with the Massoretic Text - 1QIsaª is a case in point. Secondly, fragments that are seemingly less relevant will be discussed. The less helpful fragments from the Biblical books Proverbs and Job are taken as examples. Finally, highly significant textual differences, such as a fragment from Genesis 1 and one from the complicated books of Jeremiah, will be evaluated.
- Orphans in the Dead Sea Scrolls
Abstract: This study investigates the literary references to orphans in writings amongst the Qumran texts that were written in Hebrew and can be associated with the sectarian Qumran movement. The study focuses on passages where forms of the word -- are used. These include the Damascus Document (CD 6:16-17), Hodayot (1QHª 13:22) and Barkhi Nafshiª (4Q434 1 i 2). The investigation concludes that the references to orphans in these passages do not have the same rhetorical functions. In CD 6, the wordings of authoritative scriptures are adapted to portray orphans and widows as the victims of wrongdoing. In 1QHª and 4Q434, however, orphans are mentioned in hymns that praise the Lord's positive treatment of needy people.
- Did Ms Wisdom of Proverbs 8 become a mystery in 4QInstruction?
Abstract: The Hebrew Bible is quoted and alluded to in 4QInstruction. There is an obvious similarity between the way the raz nihyeh of 4QInstruction and Lady Wisdom in Proverbs 8 function. This intertextual study investigates this phenomenon by comparing 4Q416 2 III 8-21 and 4Q417 1 I with Proverbs 8:12-21 and 8:22-31. It is concluded that apocalyptic influence changed the character of Lady Wisdom but not her essential function.
- Ritual failure in Romans 6
Abstract: Ritual studies are slow to make a large impact on New Testament studies, despite a number of notable exceptions. This notwithstanding, rituals occur frequently in the New Testament, in particular when there is a problem with a ritual. In this article, recent anthropological work on 'ritual failure' is used to address Paul's discussion of Roman practices concerning baptism in relation to a person's walk of life and to argue that this can be understood well as a case of 'ritual failure,' in which a ritual fails, from Paul's perspective, to achieve what it should. This leads both to challenging the attitude of the Romans concerning baptism and to a reconsideration of its significance.
- Preaching the 'green gospel' in our environment: A re-reading of Genesis
1:27-28 in the Nigerian context
Abstract: The article focuses on the text of Genesis 1:27-28 within its broader context where the author, the Jahwist, describes humankind as charged with the responsibility to fill and to subdue the earth, which has generally been misunderstood by wealth prospectors. Our methodology is a simplified historical and exegetical study of the two verses of the creation narrative in order to join other contemporary theologians to argue the right of humans to treat the nonhuman as private property as source of material wealth is immoral. As we re-read the text, our findings resonate with the contemporary clarion call for respect and protection of the environment such as COP 2015 in Paris. This provides the justification of our title 'Preaching the green gospel', especially in the Nigerian oil-rich states and in Africa in general. Whilst the paper presents a disquisition of the global efforts of the church through sensitisation of their members to appreciate the magnitude of the environmental pollution and the apocalypse it holds for the world, it draws attention to the possibility of the envisaged doomsday that may descend on Nigeria and other parts of Africa if the crass environmental degradation and the rate of pollution of flora and fauna are not checked. The paper takes cognisance of the positive views expressed by the evangelists of the 'New Theology' in Africa. Whilst the paper raises Biblically friendly ecological awareness in modern Africa, using Nigeria as a contact point, it concludes, inter alia, that the text demands humankind to partake in God's will for order and peace in the universe as it struggles to maintain the ecological sustainability of mother earth.
- De betekenis van Johan Buitendags stellingname in theologie der
Abstract: This article presents the importance of Buitendag's stance in the so-called 'theology of nature'. His theological statements endeavour to understand reality in conversation with other academic disciplines to see things in a wider and holistic perspective. Following a suggestion of Moltmann, theology must not restrict itself to internal ecclesiastical and personal faith topics but search for 'the truth of the whole'. It is argued that Buitendag's concept of holism is different from Moltmann's 'the truth of the whole'. Moltmann's holism is eschatologically directed after history, but is meaningless in a contemporary debate. His concept of history seems to be problematic too. Buitendag's holism is more Quinean as a comprehensive relative approach, bottom-up from contemporary insights within different academic disciplines. His theological approach looks like an ellipsis, involving both an ontological and epistemological focus. He defends (Trinitarian) communion as the primary concept, ontologically, which biologists may recognise in their observations of animal communities too. His theology shows a panentheistic perspective for the discourse on divine immanent agency by using as analogy the mind-body relationship in a sophisticated way. Buitendag shows the importance of this perspective for theological hermeneutics. This article presents some logical and theological problems in a panentheistic view which some prominent supporters defend as 'reality depicting'. Buitendag avoids this because of a relational ontology.
- Theology and development as capability expansion
Abstract: For the last 25 years, human development has become part of official development discourses. It takes the normative position that the success of policies depends on whether they have expanded human flourishing, or expanded the 'freedoms' or 'capabilities' people have 'reason to value', as Amartya Sen would put it. It emphasises the importance of institutions to facilitate such expansion, and the agency of people to create such institutions. The ability of institutions to be conducive to human flourishing depends on the nature of human interaction. When human interaction no longer has the flourishing of other persons as its aim, it can create structures which then constrain human agency. The article argues that the human development perspective could be enriched by theological insights such as structural sin and the contribution of religious narratives to public reasoning. It concentrates on the idea of justice of one biblical parable, and illustrates its argument with examples from the Argentine labour context.
- Why cannot the term development just be dropped altogether? Some
reflections on the concept of maturation as alternative to development
Abstract: This contribution is aimed at some provocation by questioning the basic assumptions of current development discourse (also in the context of religion and theology). It asks for conceptual clarification and differentiation on the meaning of various process terms. It needs to be recognised that the word development remains a metaphor than can indeed be extended but can also become over-extended and ossified. The concept of development is then contrasted with the process of maturation. It is argued that the concept of maturation is, (1) better able to indicate the final goal of the process than most other process terms, (2) recognises inherent limitations and (3) follows natural cycles better than exponential growth, sustained development or endless progress.
- The Way of the Mystic: The Sanjuanist stages of the spiritual path
Abstract: A major conceptual dynamic in all major religious traditions is the need for purification and transformation of the individual in order to effect integration and maturation of the personality in the divine. Although the means by which this purification takes place differs according to the cultural and religious configurations of any given tradition, nevertheless a recurring image is that of an inner and outer odyssey. A major example is the threefold path of John of the Cross, which presents a psycho-spiritual journey by which 'divine osmosis' can be realised, passing through the 'dark night of the soul', and culminating in 'spiritual marriage'. Although not accepted by many theoreticians and practitioners of mysticism, nevertheless the value of the Sanjuanist schemata still holds sway in contemporary society.
- Der Heilige Geist und die Realisierung des Glaubens in der Geschichte.
Überlegungen zur systematischen Funktion der Pneumatologie
Abstract: Die systematische Funktion der Lehre vom Heiligen Geist für die theologische Dogmatik ist umstritten. Der Beitrag arbeitet in einer problemgeschichtlichen Perspektive die These aus, dass der Pneumatologie eine notwendige und eigene Funktion für die Explikation der Religion zukommt. Deren Thema ist, wie zu zeigen sein wird, das Wissen des religiösen Aktes um seine Einbindung in eine inhaltliche Überlieferung sowie deren Wandelbarkeit.
- The healing power of just forgiveness, without excusing injustice
Abstract: Justice is closely related to forgiveness and the extent of the injustice gap experienced depends on how much or how little personal justice a wounded person desires. The experience of forgiveness includes two diverse forms of forgiveness: decisional and emotional forgiveness. Decisional forgiveness is controlling humans' behavioural intentions, while emotional forgiveness replaces negative, unforgiving emotions with positive, other-orientated emotions. A victim may make a decision to forgive, but never feels emotional peace about the decision to forgive. Both decisional and emotional forgiveness are experienced internally within a wounded person and depends on the social context of the transgression and the response to it. Justice can narrow the injustice gap, but rarely closes it, while forgiveness can heal the pain within the injustice gap. The sense of desired justice is to some degree justifiable, but by granting decisional forgiveness and experiencing emotional forgiveness a wounded person can slow down if not stop ruminating vengeful thoughts. Christians can forgive transgression and wrongdoing because they are responding in gratitude to God's mercy, loving-kindness and forgiveness through Jesus' death on the cross. God guides Christian believers through the example of Jesus's humility to forgive wrongdoing and ultimately grow spiritually when Jesus requires decisional forgiveness and desires emotional forgiveness between victim and offender. Forgiveness is based on God's forgiveness, while humans tend to both forgive and also pursue justice without excusing injustice. Humans are in their own power incapable of justly forgiving transgression, but God can guide people through the Holy Spirit to just forgiveness.
- Human dignity and education - A Protestant view
Abstract: Taking current discussions on the relationship between human dignity as a human right and education as his starting point the author pursues the possibility of interpreting this relationship from a Protestant perspective based on the biblical understanding of the likeness of God. Since this understanding has not been at the centre of the majority view in Protestant educational thinking the author tries to uncover a minority tradition that has made the likeness of God the basis of education (Melanchthon, Comenius, and others). In another step, the author describes four foundational perspectives for making the likeness of God and human dignity the basis for education today, addressing education beyond utilitarianism, justice in education and education for justice, interreligious education and special commitment to children's rights. In all four respects Protestantism can make important contributions but there is also a need for the renewal of Protestantism's understanding of education in light of future challenges.
- Afrikaners in post-apartheid South Africa: Inward migration and enclave
Abstract: South Africa's transition to democracy coincided and interlinked with massive global shifts, including the fall of communism and the rise of western capitalist triumphalism. Late capitalism operates through paradoxical global-local dynamics, both universalising identities and expanding local particularities. The erstwhile hegemonic identity of apartheid, 'the Afrikaner', was a product of Afrikaner nationalism. Like other identities, it was spatially organised, with Afrikaner nationalism projecting its imagined community ('the volk') onto a national territory ('white South Africa'). The study traces the neo-nationalist spatial permutations of 'the Afrikaner', following Massey's (2005) understanding of space as (1) political, (2) produced through interrelations ranging from the global to micro intimacies, (3) potentially a sphere for heterogeneous co-existence, and (4) continuously created. Research is presented that shows a neo-nationalist revival of ethnic privileges in a defensive version of Hall's 'return to the local' (1997a). Although Afrikaner nationalism's territorial claims to a nation state were defeated, neo-nationalist remnants reclaim a purchase on white Afrikaans identities, albeit in shrunken territories. This phenomenon is, here, called Afrikaner enclave nationalism. Drawing on a global revamping of race as a category of social subjugation, a strategy is deployed that is here called 'inward migration'. These dynamics produce a privatised micro-apartheid in sites ranging from homes, to commercial and religious enterprises, to suburbs. Virtual white spaces in the form of Afrikaans media products serve as extensions of these whitened locales. The lynchpin holding it all together is the heteronormative, middle-class family, with consumption the primary mode of the generation of its white comfort zones.
moments and prophetic witness: Towards a
Abstract: The thirtieth anniversary of the publication of the Kairos Document was celebrated in August 2015. This was the most radical of several theological declarations issued by Christians during the struggle against apartheid. Arguing that theology itself had become a site of that struggle, it rejected 'state theology', which gave legitimacy to apartheid, and 'church theology' which promoted reconciliation without justice as its pre-requisite. Against these, it presented a 'prophetic theology' as a challenge to the churches in response to what was perceived as a kairos moment. Since then the Kairos Document has inspired a global movement in which its social analysis and understanding of prophetic theology has been adopted in a variety of contexts, most notably in the Kairos-Palestine Document (2009). In reflecting on the significance of this global kairos movement, I firstly examine the meaning of 'prophecy' and 'prophetic theology', arguing that 'prophetic theology' is in continuity with the message of the Hebrew prophets and the ministry and mission of Jesus. Secondly, I examine the use of the term kairos to describe historical turning points which demand such a prophetic theological response. Thirdly, I address the need for an ecumenical prophetic ecclesiology that foregrounds the responsibility of the church to discern and understand those God-given kairos moments in history that demand a prophetic response.
- De opstanding van Lazarus (Johannes 10:40-12:11): Bijbelse echo's in
Lazarus is dead (2011) van Richard Beard
Abstract: This article discusses the relationship between the modern novel of Beard and John's stories about Lazarus and Jesus, and wants to give answers to three questions: (1) how is the Lazarus story in John interpreted by Beard?; (2) what meaning does John's story have within its own literary and cultural setting?; (3) what similarities and differences are there between Beard's interpretation and the original meaning of the Johannine story? Questions 1 and 2 require an intratextual analysis, which focuses on the structure and meaning lines in each of the two texts. Then follows an intertextual analysis which in this article is particularly aimed at comparing the contents of the concepts/ death/ and/ live/ in the Fourth Gospel with the ways in which these concepts are semantically coloured in Beard's book. Studying echoes from the Bible in modern literary contexts can explain how the rich potential of meaning of biblical texts is being unlocked in new texts, time and time again, but can also help us to read the Bible with new eyes through the lens of modern culture.
- The wisdom of Ben Sira in MENA cultural context: A cultural topical
Abstract: The biblical Books of Proverbs and Ben Sira (Sirach; Ecclesiasticus) yield no narrative continuity or logical outline. They are simply collections. The best way to interpret these books is with the aid of a topical index. Most topical indexes are based on English (or another language) translation. This article proposes a tentative topical index reflecting Middle East North African culture and its values. It will serve as the outline for a full length commentary already in process.
- Shades of irony in the anti-language of Amos
Abstract: The rhetoric of Amos includes a wonderful mixture of humour and threat, sarcasm and irony, hyperbole and prediction. Holding the fabric of this conversation together is Amos's place within the prophetic minority - the Yahweh-only party (his anti-society). Making use of sociolinguistics, and particularly the idea of anti-language, I take a closer look at Amos, including his use of overlexicalisation, insider-humour and all the shades of irony one might expect. Typically of a member of an anti-society, Amos exaggerates the differences between insider and outsider, in this case, speaking of 'ivory houses', 'the cattle of Bashan' while appealing to his successful attempts to save the rich from the wrath of God. The offenses of the outsiders are sometimes crystal clear and at other times shrouded in metaphor, and so too is the fate of these people. In reading Amos, we are constantly in danger of falling victim to the persuasive power of his rhetoric. We are drawn into the world of Amos, quickly accepting his boundaries and the ideology of his anti-society, his depiction of reality and his stark caricature of the rich. The rhetoric is persuasive and the irony is divisive forcing a choice of black and white, believer and unbeliever, rich and poor, oppressors and oppressed. We struggle to swim against the current and instead long to respond to Amos's invitation to live (Am 5:5) - perhaps even to discover that elusive hope at which the book hints: Most of history has been the forging of structures of security and appropriate loyalty symbols, to announce and defend one's personal identity, one's group, and one's gender issues and identity. (Rohr 2011:4)
- Thomas Wolsey on stage and screen
Abstract: Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, lord chancellor of England from 1515 to 1529, has played no small part in the many literary, historical and dramatic retellings of the reign of King Henry VIII. This article presents the first extended analysis of the way in which Wolsey has been represented by playwrights and, later, film and television writers during the years from his death in 1530 through the present. The article demonstrates that by the middle of the 16th century, two competing narratives about Wolsey had become entrenched historiographically, and nearly all subsequent accounts borrow substantially from the narratives of either Edward Hall (1550) or George Cavendish (1554-1558). How successive playwrights and screenwriters balanced the cardinal's two archetypal personae has often depended, in no small part, on the concerns of their own day. In the 21st century, readings of the cardinal as crafty rather than callous, unlucky rather than unprincipled, have become more common, and with them have come more sympathetic portrayals of a traditional Tudor villain.
- Workplace spirituality: A tool or a trend?
Abstract: Workplace spirituality is a construct widely discussed over the past few decades and it is a much-disputed inquiry field which is gaining the interest of practitioners and scholars. Some clarifications regarding concepts and definitions are necessary in order to structure and direct the current debate. The aim of this conceptual article is to gain a better understanding regarding the direction in which this field of study is progressing and to put the question on the table namely, whether workplace spirituality is only a new tool to be used in leadership development or is it a trend to be taken seriously? The results showed that this field has potential to further development. This article can be used as foundation for future studies within the knowledge area of practical theology.
- Believing in God the Father: Interpreting a phrase from the Apostle's
Abstract: In our days, the creedal phrase 'I believe in God the Father almighty' is interpreted primarily along Trinitarian lines: It is applied to God as the Father of Jesus Christ. Here I argue that it has a dual background: in Jesus' prayer practice, in which He consistently addressed God as 'Father', and in the Hellenistic habit of referring to the Creator as 'Father'. I discuss Jesus' use of the term 'Father' against its Old Testament background, and argue that it primarily points to the intimacy of Jesus' relationship with His father. Against the Hellenistic background, however, the metaphor 'Father' means 'he who brings forth effortlessly'. Finally, I discuss some gender issues connected with the use of the term 'Father' for God.
- Jewish fish (
) in post-supersessionist water: Messianic
Judaism within a post-supersessionistic paradigm
Abstract: This article defines, explains and argues for the necessity of a post-supersessionistic hermeneutical posture towards the New Testament. The post-supersessionistic reading of the New Testament takes the Jewish nature of the apostolic documents seriously, and has as its goal the correction of the sin of supersessionism. While supersessionism theologically is repudiated in most corners of the contemporary church through official church documents, the practise of reading the New Testament continues to exhibit supersessionistic tendencies and outcomes. The consequence of this predominant reading of the New Testament is the continued exclusion of Jewish ethnic identity in the church. In light of the growing recognition of multiculturalism and contextualisation on the one hand, and the recent presence of a movement within the body of Messiah of Jewish believers in Jesus on the other, the church's established approach to reading Scripture that leads to the elimination of ethnic identity must be repudiated alongside its post-supersessionist doctrinal statements. This article defines terms, explains consequences and argues for a renewed perspective on the New Testament as an ethnic document; such a perspective will promote the church's cultivation of real embodied ethnic particularity rather than either a pseudo-interculturalism or the eraser full ethnicity.
- Psalm 101: A supplication for the restoration of society in the late
Abstract: This article investigates the form and purpose of Psalm 101 from two perspectives: As a unique composition from the late Persian or early Hellenistic period, and in terms of its function within the context of Book IV of the Psalter. It is suggested that it was designed by exponents of wisdom and Torah piety to serve as a 'royal psalm' at exactly this location in the Psalter. It was meant to offer support to faithful Yahwists by criticising the apostate Judean aristocracy of its time of origin and serve as a prayer with which Yahweh could be beseeched to establish his righteous rule by judging evildoers and thus vindicating the faithful.
- The reception of rhetorical elements in the Letter to Philemon by
Abstract: The aim of this study is to offer an overview of the way in which Patristic exegetes interpreted the rhetorical aspects of Paul's Letter to Philemon. Although a rhetorical analysis of the letter was not the matter which interested them as such, one can still obtain a fairly good idea of the way in which they perceived such aspects by reading their explanations of this letter. Accordingly, the contributions of all the Patristic exegetes in this regard are studied systematically in this study. The interpretations of the letters by Ambrosiaster, Jerome, John Chrysostom, Pelagius, Theodore of Mopsuestia and Theodoret of Cyrus are investigated from this angle. In each case, the most important comments on Paul's rhetorical strategy are identified and discussed.
- Spirituality and healthcare: Towards holistic people-centred healthcare
in South Africa
Abstract: Healthcare in South Africa is in a crisis. Problems with infrastructure, management, human resources and the supply of essential medicines are at a critical level. This is compounded by a high burden of disease and disparity in levels of service delivery, particularly between public and private healthcare. The government has put ambitious plans in place, which are part of the National Development Plan to ward 2030. In the midst of this we find the individual person and their family and community staggering under the suffering caused by disease, poverty, crime and violence. There is a more than 70% chance that this person and their family and community are trying to make sense of this within a spiritual framework and that they belong to a faith-based community. This article explores the valuable contribution of spirituality, spiritual and pastoral work, the faith-based community (FBC) and faith-based organisations (FBOs) to holistic people-centred healthcare in South Africa.
- Calling, is there anything special about it?
Abstract: Within the Reformed tradition, 'calling' is a core concept. Often, this biblical verse is cited when a pastor is installed or a new candidate is ordained, 'The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it' (1 Th 5:24 NIV). It is also confessed within this tradition that all Christians are called to be faithful ministers of the graces of God in whatever profession they may serve. In some Presbyterian congregations, it is a practice to say at the baptism of a child, 'This is your ordination to ministry'. This article focuses on what is meant by calling when we use it in so many ways and with so many meanings. The first part explores the use of the concept in church history by different scholars and leaders - like in the Reformation. The second part briefly explores the implications and impact of the calling of someone into full-time congregational ministry.
- A therapeutic community as a relevant and efficient ecclesial model in
Abstract: This article sets forth the argument that Christian ministry in Africa must become socially and culturally informed and constructed or else it will not touch the African soul and thus remain superficial. Black African people aspire above everything else to experience fullness of life and wellbeing here and now, as demonstrated by their greetings that are actually an enquiry into each other's health and an expression of the wish for the other's good health and wellbeing. The mainline churches that operate in Africa should embrace the scripturally sound Christian healing ministry in obedience to Christ's commission to preach the gospel and heal the sick, if they are to prosper. Hence, this article discusses the following eight points, namely, (1) good health and healing as Africans' important aspiration, (2) healing as the work of God and thus of the church, (3) the imperative of serious consideration of and respect for the African worldview, (4) membership decline and mainline churches' loss of influence, (5) rethinking church in African Christianity, (6) the need for the black African church to adopt a therapeutic or healing community ecclesial model in order to position itself strategically to cater for the holistic needs of African (South African) church members and surrounding communities, (7) the rationale of the healing ministry in today's Reformed Church in Africa and (8) the recommended healing ministry. The article closes with a few concluding statements and advice.
- Myth as metaphor
Abstract: Modern Christianity has failed to update its myths and has even eliminated them, thus, excluding the metaphysical experience indispensable to religion (Jung). Myths should be interpreted, not eliminated. Answering the question about how to interpret myths without eliminating them or their intended effect is the object of this paper. The study investigates the possibility of interpreting myths as metaphors, thus, in a non-literal way. Various definitions of metaphor and myth, and theories for their interpretation are discussed, with focus on their relationship to symbolic universes. Finally, a non-mythical symbolic universe structured by root-metaphors is suggested as a framework for the existential interpretation of mythical concepts in the New Testament.
- Ricoeur on myth and demythologising
Abstract: Since Jean Paul Gustav Ricoeur's passing away in 2005, there has been a significant international resurgence of interest in his work. Coming to grips with the sheer extent of Ricoeur's publications on a variety of subjects can leave one thoroughly perplexed. This is also true when investigating his views on myth and demythologisation. Numerous of his publications expound from various perspectives his insights on myth and its interpretation. This investigation proposes to bring together Ricoeur's extensive contributions on myth, its interpretation and demythologisation in order to present them in condensed form. This will pave the way for a future follow-up study to compare Ricoeur's perspectives to Bultmann's demythologisation program and consider combining their contributions for theological hermeneutics.
- Theological imagination as hermeneutical device: Exploring the
hermeneutical contribution of an imaginai engagement with the text
Abstract: In the past, biblical scholarship has neglected the hermeneutical contribution that an imaginai engagement with the text may make. The author's aim in this article was to develop theological imagination as a hermeneutical device. This was done by briefly considering the concurrence in the hermeneutic contributions of three interpreters of biblical texts, with specific regard to their understanding of biblical imagination. These were Walter Brueggemann, Paul Ricoeur and Ignatius of Loyola. Their hermeneutical contributions concur in their understanding of a biblically informed imagination, and it is specifically this aspect of the concurrence of their thought that was explored. An illustration from Proverbs 14:27, which draws on the metaphor and biblical motif of the fountain or source of life, was put forward to demonstrate how the concurrence in the contributions of these biblical interpreters may influence an imaginal engagement with the text.
- The contribution of Qumran to historical Hebrew linguistics: Evidence from
the syntax of participial negation
Abstract: In this article we examine how Qumran Hebrew can contribute to our knowledge of historical Hebrew linguistics. The premise of this paper is that Qumran Hebrew reflects a distinct stage in the development of Hebrew which sets it apart from Biblical Hebrew. It is further assumed that these unique features are able to assist us to understand the nature of the development of Biblical Hebrew in a more precise way. Evidence from the syntax of participial negation at Qumran as opposed to Biblical Hebrew provides evidence for this claim.
- The memorable invention of the death of Jesus
Abstract: The death story of Jesus of Nazareth has traditionally been understood as a matter of historical fact. The various versions of the story would seem to confirm a documented death scene. Nevertheless, critical appraisals of this material have raised numerous questions regarding the passion story. This article considers how the very structure of the story is a vital clue to the way in which the death of Jesus was invented. The Jewish tale of the suffering and vindication of the innocent one provides the memory locus for discovering meaning in the fate of Jesus. We find that the basic fact of the death tale of Jesus is that it was a fiction, authorising further elaborations for those who understood the craft of memory.
- What light does Matthew's use of Mark in Matthew 1-4 throw on Matthew's
Abstract: This article approaches the issue of Matthew's theological context by examining Matthew's use of Mark, including through redaction and supplementation, in Matthew 1-4. This is undertaken in two parts: Matthew 1-2, which is largely additional material, and Matthew 3-4, followed by a concluding assessment. Issues addressed or alluded to in these chapters frequently find resonance in the remainder of Matthew's gospel and so give important clues about Matthew's concerns and their relevance for understanding its context. Such issues include the importance of messiahship; continuity with Israel, but also with John the Baptist and the Church; defence against slander; heightened christological claims; soteriology; Gentile mission; the status of Torah; and Jesus as judge to come. The article suggests a location within a Jewish religious context with a Jewish self-understanding, separate from the synagogue, but claiming to belong where its opponents would claim it did not; and a Christian tradition where the approach of 'Q' to Torah is upheld in contrast to Mark's, while embracing and expanding Mark's Christology and restoring the common understanding of Gentile mission as a post-Easter phenomenon.
- The material variance of the Dead Sea Scrolls: On texts and
Abstract: What does a sacred text look like? Are religious books materially different from other books? Does materiality matter? This article deals with three different aspects of material variance attested amongst the Dead Sea Scrolls, Ancient Jewish religious text fragments, of which were found in the Judean Desert. I suggest that the substitution of the ancient Hebrew script by the everyday Aramaic script, also for Torah and other religious texts, was intentional and programmatic: it enabled the broader diffusion of scriptures in Hellenistic and Roman Judea. The preponderant use of parchment for religious texts rather than papyrus may be a marker of identity. The many small scrolls which contained only small parts of specific religious books (Genesis, Psalms) may have been produced as religious artefacts which express identity in the period when Judaism developed into a religion of the book.
- The theological significance of the Isaiah citation in Mark 4:12
Abstract: The well-known passage Mark 4:1-34 is no stranger to New Testament scientific scrutiny, not to even mention the hotly debated phrases in Mark 4:10-12. To avoid repetition, the aim with this article is to determine the extent of the impact the Isaiah 6:9-10 citation in Mark 4:12 might have had on the interpretation and understanding of Mark 4:1-34 and the Gospel as a whole. The theory is that the citation in Mark 4:12, especially within Mark 4:1-34, is foundational for understanding the Markan gospel as a 'parable'. Moreover, the redactional inclusion of the concept of 'the Twelve' will prove to be a vital contribution in understanding the Markan gospel as a 'parable'. Arguing this theory will include evaluating the parable theory in Mark 4:10-12, followed by determining the interpretative effect the explicit citation in Mark 4:12 had on Mark 4:10-12 and its larger literary context (Mk. 4:1-34). This will be followed by concluding remarks and suggestions.
- Why did people choose for the Jesus-Movement?
Abstract: The must have been critical factors that made the growth of Christianity possible. What factors made it possible for Christianity to grow from 0 to 10 per cent of the population of the Roman Empire in the year 300, and even to 50 per cent in the year 350? By the end of the first century hardly any of the 60 million people of the Roman Empire were Christians. How did they manage to reach the major milestone of 10 per cent in the year 300? Five factors are very important in this regard, namely, (1) The apostle Paul was an excellent advocate to promote the christian message. (2) His voyages, his frequent visits to several christian communities, his epistles and his rules of life enabled him to create a 'world wide web' of christian communities that were recognisable as such for every traveller. (3) At the time monotheism was more attractive than the polytheism of the ancient Greek times. 4. The universalism preached by Paul (Gl. 3:28) was attractive as well. (5) The emperor Julian (the Apostate) recognised that christians surpassed everyone else with respect to philanthropy. According to him, only if the priests of other religions followed suit would it be possible for their 'gentile' religions to survive.
- A cultural turn in New Testament studies?
Abstract: This article considers intersections between cultural studies and New Testament studies. It ponders and focuses on possible approaches to the bearing of the 'cultural turn' on biblical studies. Following a brief consideration of cultural studies and its potential value for New Testament studies, four promising developments in cultural studies approaches to the New Testament are noted.
- Where is God when dementia sneaks into our house? Practical theology and
the partners of dementia patients
Abstract: How can hope, love and faith stay alive when dementia enters a home? In this article I shall look especially at the spouse or partner who shares an abode with a person with dementia. Most of the authors in this field, also John Swinton who is perhaps the best known author whose books are written from a (practical) theological perspective, focus on care in institutions, that means care by professionals. A partner living with a dementia patient has two main roles: as partner and caregiver. Night and day a partner is witness to the ongoing deterioration of her or his beloved partner, without being a professional. This article is founded not only on literature about dementia patients, but also on the experiences of several partners, as well as my own experiences as a partner. The question we all ask is: 'From where does our strength come?' I argue that what is said in the literature on the subject of (the pastoral care for) dementia patients does not help the partners, because it lays a heavy burden on them, who are already suffering from feelings of grief and guilt. I do not agree with John Swinton's idea that God created dementia. Looking for different ways of thinking about God and faith to survive with hope and love, I turn to the exegesis of the creation stories by Ellen van Wolde. These give the opportunity to take the evil of the situation of the deterioration of the personality of a patient with dementia seriously, and at the same time grant the possibility to turn the grief and guilt feelings into strength to fight evil, together with a God whose empathy and love stays with a partner in her or his loneliness and grief.