HTS Theological Studies
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Open Access journal
ISSN (Print) 0259-9422 - ISSN (Online) 2072-8050
Published by SciELO [725 journals]
- 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.