HTS : Theological Studies - Volume 64, Issue 1, 2008
Volume 64, Issue 1, 2008
Matthew, Paul and the origin and nature of the gentile mission : the great commission in Matthew 28:16-20 as an anti-Pauline traditionAuthor D. SimSource: HTS : Theological Studies 64, pp 377 –392 (2008)More Less
The Great Commission at the conclusion of Matthew's Gospel is one of its key texts. In this tradition the risen Christ overturns the previous restriction of the mission to Israel alone and demands that the disciples evangelise all the nations. The gospel they were to proclaim included observance of the Torah by Jew and Gentile like. Matthew's account of the origin and nature of the Gentile mission differs from Paul's view as it is found in the epistle to the Galatians. Paul maintains that he had been commissioned by the resurrected Lord to evangelise the Gentiles and that the gospel he was to preach did not involve obedience to the Torah. The later and alternative version of Matthew can be understood as an attempt by the evangelist to undermine these claims by Paul. Such an interpretation is consistent with Matthew's anti-Pauline polemic that emerges elsewhere in the Gospel.
Author A. Van de BeekSource: HTS : Theological Studies 64, pp 395 –413 (2008)More Less
Jude and Thomas, were they Gnostics? Reading the Gospel according to John from a Gnostic perspective
The discoveries of Gnostic texts since the mid of the twentieth century challenge biblical scholarship to read New Testament texts from new points of view. It is remarkable that Jesus' disciples who are prominently present in Gnostic texts, especially Jude, Thomas and Philip are also more conspicuous characters in the Gospel of John than in the Synoptics. This challenges scholars to read these sections in relation to Gnosticism. The article aims at reading the scenes dealing with Jude and Thomas in John's gospel with a Gnostic framework in mind. These texts gain more profile than by a traditional reading which is often based on a psychological understanding of Jude and Thomas. The article demonstrates that the author of John's gospel uses these passages in an anti-Gnostic discourse. Thomas is a Gnostic who could fully understand Jesus' words in a Gnostic way until he encounters the bodily risen Lord. Jude does not make such a conversion and disappears in the night. These are the option for Gnostics : either convert to the type of Christianity the Gospel of John teaches or being lost in darkness.
Author A le R. Du PlooySource: HTS : Theological Studies 64, pp 415 –428 (2008)More Less
A critical analysis of the concept ratification according to Reformed church polity
This article reflects critically on the view that local churches should in a separate act, after major assemblies have taken their resolutions, ratify the decisions before it could be regarded as valid and binding. Attention is given to the following aspects : The meaning of expressions such as ratum facere and ratum habere in law and church polity; perspectives from the Reformational approach on issues such as the authority of decisions of major assemblies and a critical evaluation of the arguments of protagonists in favour of ecclesiastical ratification.
Author Elna MoutonSource: HTS : Theological Studies 64, pp 431 –445 (2008)More Less
The essay discusses challenges regarding the position and role of Christian Theology in twenty-first century university contexts. Questions asked include the following : How will a theology that is oriented to (Reformed) Christian Theology develop itself at universities worldwide, within contexts of secularisation and globalisation? What important strategic choices will it have to make? It is argued that answers to such questions inter alia relate to how Christian Theology responds to three crucial choices: (1) Being truthful to its biblical orientation and calling; (2) Accounting critically for its position on the threshold of interdisciplinary and interreligious dialogue; and (3) Being connected to the life stories of people.
Author H. ViviersSource: HTS : Theological Studies 64, pp 447 –460 (2008)More Less
The absence of and the presence of "god(s)" in the Song of Songs
The absence of the Israelite God in the Song of Songs is conspicuous. The poet of the Song is far too sophisticated to attribute this to a slip of the mind. Among many reasons offered for the absence of Israel's societal stereotype of God, might the Song's alternative views on gender relations, within a love setting, perhaps be a reason for prohibiting the "ultimate Patriarch" to interfere? Interestingly the Song contains quite a number of other notions of counter-intuitivity (= gods) confirming humans' propensity, since early evolution, to create gods to fulfil certain needs. Although it is an ancient love-song the Song has much to offer on gender and god constructs and the implications thereof for the civilization of society today.
Author J.M. VorsterSource: HTS : Theological Studies 64, pp 463 –481 (2008)More Less
The past four decades witnessed a tremendous and wide-ranging change in family patterns in Western societies. Amongst these changes are phenomena such as growing number of divorces, births out-of-wedlock, and the absence of fathers because of globalisation, same-sex marriages and cohabitation of people without a marriage contract. Western societies are typified as "high-divorce societies". Furthermore, in the United States the number of couples cohabiting has increased eightfold since 1970 and it is fair to conclude that the situation is similar in other Western societies. The purpose of the article is to deal with these patterns from a Reformed perspective. The central theoretical argument is that these developments can be perceived as a crisis in view of the Biblical perspectives on marriage and family life. However, the Biblical perspectives not only offer a clear indication of healthy marriage and family life entail, but also indicate that a Christian attitude in marriage and family life can serve as a remedy for the damage caused by the new trends.
Author T.F.J. DreyerSource: HTS : Theological Studies 64, pp 483 –496 (2008)More Less
The church, marriage and sex - a moral crisis?
Within Western societies the church is challenged by a new sexual "morality". Seemingly, the traditional theological answers do not address the challenge sufficiently. The incompetence of the church to change people's minds leads to a moral crisis. This article is an attempt to create awareness that the church has no choice but to review her traditional stance. This awareness will only surface once we are prepared to acknowledge that our traditional views were influenced by different contexts through the ages. Therefore it is necessary, in a postmodern context, to theologically reflect afresh within this context.
The "sanctity" of marriage - an archaeology of a socio-religious construct : mythological origins, forms and modelsAuthor Yolanda DreyerSource: HTS : Theological Studies 64, pp 499 –527 (2008)More Less
The aim of the article is to argue that the sexual difference between female and male should be regarded as soteriologically indifferent. Though a biological reality of being human, sexuality is profoundly influenced by social constructs and the institution of marriage itself is a social construct. In this article the biological and social aspects are taken into account in a theological approach which on the one hand is interested in the relationship between God and human beings, and on the other in the way in which the Bible elucidates sexuality and marriage. The article indicates that the idea of sexual intercourse between a man and a woman as being equal to God-given "holy matrimony" has mythological origins. It focuses on these origins and on the multifarious forms of marital arrangements and models.
"Op die aarde net soos in die hemel" : Matteus se eskatologie as die koninkryk van die hemel wat reeds begin kom hetAuthor Andries Van AardeSource: HTS : Theological Studies 64, pp 529 –565 (2008)More Less
"On earth as it is in heaven" : Matthew's eschatology as the kingdom of heaven that has come
In the article time as both "imagined" and "experienced" is explained against the background of the first-century Mediterranean conceptualisation of time. This reading scenario is seen as over against a modern Eurocentric ethnocentric interpretation of the concept "apocalyptic-eschatology". The aim of the article is to argue that Matthew's narration of the demolition of the temple in Jerusalem concurs with his belief that the first followers of Jesus experienced the vision of the coming of the Son of man and that both these experiences are presented in Matthew as though Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection are incidents of the past. Matthew's eschatology centres on the view that the final consummation of time has already begun. The article explores the ethical appeal which is communicated through such an eschatological reading scenario. This appeal is summarised by Jesus' words "On earth as it is in heaven". The article consists of a conversation about core issues in mainstream interpretations of what Matthew's eschatology could be within the narrative's plot as it contextualised in formative Christianity and formative Judaism. The view assumed in this article is that the "time" and the experiences of Matthew's church and those of Jesus and his disciples are considered to be integrated within the history of Israel.
Author Ernest Van EckSource: HTS : Theological Studies 64, pp 567 –597 (2008)More Less
Eschatology and kingdom in Mark
This article investigates the concepts of eschatology and kingdom in Mark from a narratological point of view. Special attention is given to the narrator's use of story time and plotted time, the narrative function of Mark 13, and the Son of man sayings in the Gospel. The two most important conclusions reached are that Mark uses the Son of man sayings in a non titular way, and that the coming of the son of man (parousia) refers to Jesus' vindication by God at his resurrection. In Mark the kingdom is equated with Jesus' new household, a household that replaces the temple. The concepts of kingdom (new household), eschatology and son of man are thus so closely linked in Mark's narrative that eschatology is the kingdom and the kingdom is eschatology. A possible sociohistorical setting for Mark's community, in which the above understanding of the concepts of kingdom, eschatology and Son of man sayings would have made sense, is also postulated.
Author I.W.C. Van WykSource: HTS : Theological Studies 64, pp 599 –629 (2008)More Less
Apology for a Christian way of life and ethics
Many young Afrikaners have turned their backs on the Calvinistic churches in South Africa. Many of them have difficulty with the Christian morality. Works of by "Boetman" and Koos Kombuis are analysed in order to get acquainted with present-day thinking of the critics of the Afrikaans churches. This article proposes a positive reception of the moral tradition of the Early Church. A short overview of the basic aspects of the ethics of the early church fathers and apologists is given. Whether the critics would embrace a morality of caring, remains an open question. The author is convinced that this morality is the better one. The critics are invited to rethink Christian morality and ethics.
Author P.M. VenterSource: HTS : Theological Studies 64, pp 631 –650 (2008)More Less
Jubilees 8-9 is a rewriting of Genesis 10. It changed a depiction of Israel's identity in genealogical terms into one using spatial terms. This ideological construct was based on a Noah tradition and on Biblical texts describing the ideal borders of the land allotted to Israel. Using a triad of space, time and identity the author of Jubilees advanced his conviction of who the true Israel was. He emphasized the holiness of their land and demarcated the borders of the territory that God allotted them.
Author A.C. NeeleSource: HTS : Theological Studies 64, pp 653 –664 (2008)More Less
This article suggests that the topic "children" received considerable attention in the post-Reformation era - the period of CA 1565-1725. In particular, the author argues that the post-Reformation Reformed sources attest of a significant interest in the education and parenting of children. This interest not only continued, but intensified during the sixteenth-century Protestant Reformation when much thought was given to the subject matter. This article attempts to appraise the aim of post-Reformation Reformed sources on the topic "children."
Author Estelle H. DannhauserSource: HTS : Theological Studies 64, pp 665 –666 (2008)More Less
John Paul Heil is a professor of New Testament Studies at the Catholic University of America. His previous publications show that the study of rhetoric and an audience-oriented approach to texts hold his interest and these he applied to Luke-Acts, Mark, 1 Corinthians and Matthew 26-28.
Source: HTS : Theological Studies 64, pp 666 –667 (2008)More Less
This is a lucid introduction to the stem cell debate, offering ethical guidelines for assessing it. The author, Ted Peters, is a well-known systematic theologian at the Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley, California. He is also prominent in the die science-religion debate. From 1990 to 1994 he was involved in monitoring the human genome project. Since 1996 he has been involved in the stem cell controversy and was appointed consultant to MD West, chief executive of Geron Corporation at that time. In 2004 the state of California approved a grant of $3 billion in bonds for stem cell research. The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) was established and Peters is a member of the workgroup that advises CIRM on ethical standards (p xiii). Thus, Peters is theoretically not involved in the issue, but directly influences the way in which the research is conducted.
Source: HTS : Theological Studies 64, pp 668 –669 (2008)More Less
Author G.A. DuncanSource: HTS : Theological Studies 64 (2008)More Less
By compiling this work, Drobner has done Church History a great service. In it he introduces readers to the life and work of the most significant writers of the early church and the early medieval church. In so doing, he offers a fairly comprehensive history of the growth and development of Christianity in the first seven centuries CE. As an overview, it presents the work of the most prominent authors and covers important works and themes. This allows him to locate the early fathers in their political, social, ecclesiastical and cultural contexts, using the latest available scholarship. It also focuses on movements, creeds and councils of the period. This, however, results in rather an incomplete survey of the contexts themselves which are necessary for a full understanding of the history of Christianity.
Author Naas FerreiraSource: HTS : Theological Studies 64, pp 670 –671 (2008)More Less
The reader of Spiritual emotions quickly realizes that Roberts is steeped in classical theism that confines his arguments to a prerational mythological stage of the evolution of human consciousness. Besides questionable Biblical references, Roberts uses personal anecdotes and often refers to Leo Tolstoy and Feodor Dostoyevsky as support for his arguments about Christian emotions. The book is divided into three sections : I. A Christian psychology of emotions, II. The Christian passion, III. Christian emotion-virtues. He dedicates chapters to contrition, joy, gratitude, hope, peace and compassion to guide his readers through the emotional maze. Roberts refers to the three recent revolutions in psychology and ethics to showcase his understanding of Christian emotions : 1. Ethics has turned psychological. In 1958 the Christian philosopher Elizabeth Anscombe "pointed out that the only legitimate basis for the ought-rules was God." (p 6) She proposed that ethicists should think about virtues as human traits like justice, generosity, truthfulness and compassion. 2. Psychology has turned ethical. 3. Both psychology and ethics have turned emotional.
The Bonhoeffer legacy post-holocaust perspective, S.R. Haynes
Wondrously Sheltered, D. Bonhoeffer
Dietrich Bonhoeffer : A life in pictures, R. Bethge & C. Gremmels : book reviewAuthor Andre GroenewaldSource: HTS : Theological Studies 64, pp 671 –672 (2008)More Less
The Bonhoeffer legacy is divided into 8 chapters, with a preface, acknowledgments, notes, a detailed bibliography and an index.
Wondrously Sheltered is a selection of quotations from Bonhoeffer's major works and letters reflecting on themes of shelter, joy, light, hope, faith, prayer, happiness, love, nearness, darkness, anxiety and fear, evil, resistance, freedom, friendship, peace, strength, consolation and trust.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer : A life in pictures is an English translation from the German edition Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Bilder eines Lebens.
Author Kobus LabuschagneSource: HTS : Theological Studies 64, pp 672 –673 (2008)More Less
The list of highly esteemed scholars who contributed to this book is impressive : Susan R Boettcher, David Cressy, Keith P Luria, Peter Marshall, Elsie McKee, Raymond A Mentzer, Karen E Spierling, James M Stayer, Margo Todd, Merry E Wiesner-Hanks, and then also Peter Matheson, the editor.