HTS : Theological Studies - Volume 64, Issue 4, 2008
Volume 64, Issue 4, 2008
Author J.W. Van HentenSource: HTS : Theological Studies 64, pp 1583 –1600 (2008)More Less
Religion, Bible and violence
This contribution is the slightly adapted introductory lecture given at the conference on the New Testament and Violence held in Stellenbosch from 21-23 January 2008. The lecture offers a personal survey of some of the recent contributions with regard to the nexus of religion and violence and their relevance for New Testament studies. The work of René Girard, Regina Schwartz, Mark Juergensmeyer and J Howard Ellens is discussed in particular.
Author Pieter J.J. BothaSource: HTS : Theological Studies 64, pp 1601 –1631 (2008)More Less
Blood sacrifice and moral formation : violence as a facet of Christian traditions
Is it possible that the discourse (and the corresponding assumptions) of blood sacrifice contribute to violent behavior? After a brief review of the pervasive presence of blood sacrifice language in formative Christianity, some theoretical perspectives on the concept of sacrifice are discussed. Attention is given to traditional views emphasizing sacrifice as transaction and communication, as well as to the theories of René Girard and Walter Burkert. These theoretical reflections remind us of how interwoven sacrifice and our cultural histories; sacrifice is rooted in coping strategies for powerful and dangerous emotions and events. Some connections between blood sacrifice imagery and sacrificial talk and the possible substantiation and naturalization of violent actions and values are indicated. Sacrifice language is not the only cause of violent behavior, but it does contribute to the cultural scripts of communities, promotes egocentric values, maintains magical components in worldview and facilitates the perception of violence as a commodity.
Author Jeremy PuntSource: HTS : Theological Studies 64, pp 1633 –1651 (2008)More Less
Violence in the New Testament and the Roman Empire : ambivalence, othering, agency
The various ways in and degrees to which the New Testament is associated with peace, or the end or absence of violence, have often been argued or at least assumed. In contrast more recently, some studies have also argued that the New Testament documents endured and tolerated, but at times also incited and sanctioned violence - positions accompanied by various theories that have been offered to explain the prevalence of Biblical violence. The ambivalence of the New Testament texts regarding violence, particularly their virtually concurrent rejection and condoning of violence, mirrors the ambivalence of the New Testament's imperial setting. And, the agency regarding violence is situated variously by and through the documents addressing various socio-historical contexts in the agonistic first century CE, with the one common factor being the ubiquitous presence of the Roman Empire. It is argued that greater consideration for the impact of the imperial setting on the New Testament positions regarding violence provides an important starting point for and valuable insight in understanding the mixed messages (and accompanying tensions) of the New Testament concerning violence.
Author Annemare KotzeSource: HTS : Theological Studies 64, pp 1653 –1665 (2008)More Less
Corporal punishment and martyrdom in Augustine's Confessiones 1.9.14-15
The article examines a passage from the Confessions in which two instances of violence are introduced. In the course of his autobiographical narration Augustine describes how, as a school boy, he feared corporal punishment and compares it to martyrs' fear of martyrdom. The first part of the article examines some issues concerning martyrdom and the rivalry that characterized religious life in the 4th century CE and how this may have influenced the world of Augustine and his audience. The second section analyzes the references to corporal punishment in order to illuminate the function of this passage within the context of the autobiographical narration and the overall communicative purpose of the work.
Author Andries Van AardeSource: HTS : Theological Studies 64, pp 1667 –1697 (2008)More Less
Paul's version of "turning the other cheek" - rethinking violence and tolerance
The aim of this article is to argue that Paul's denunciation of vengeance should be seen as the outcome of a personal transformation from an apocalyptic destructive thinking with regard to those who irate him to a state of mind of tolerance and eventually to the "internalization of eschatological hope". Instead of rebuking Paul prayed for those who heap burning coals upon his head. This disposition is seen as another version of the Jesus-tradition regarding the turning of the left cheek when an evildoer strikes one on the right one. The article explains Paul' version and his change in attitude with regard to violence in terms of René Girard's scapegoat theory and Paul's rhetoric of mimesis which he consistently conveyed from his first letter to the Thessalonians through his last letter, written to the Romans. For Paul, Jesus Christ forms the model. It is Paul's gospel about the participation of Jesus' exemplary conduct, vis à vis violence that was executed against him, which constitutes the transformative framework of overcoming evil with good.
Author D.F. TolmieSource: HTS : Theological Studies 64, pp 1699 –1714 (2008)More Less
Violence in Galatians?
Although the Letter to the Galatians attracts much scholarly attention, the role that violence plays in it, is seldom investigated. This article attempts to address this issue. The question is posed: "To what extent does violence play a role in this letter, and, if so, why?" In order to provide an answer to this question, three aspects are considered: The occurrence of explicit references to violence in the letter; the violent rhetoric used by Paul; whether the theology of Galatians can be described as a violent theology.
Author Rob Van HouwelingenSource: HTS : Theological Studies 64, pp 1715 –1733 (2008)More Less
A godfighter becomes a fighter for God
The Pastoral Letters refer twice, in biographical notes, to the religious past of the apostle Paul. In 1 Timothy 1 he is qualified as "a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man" (NIV). These qualifications are the stereotypes of a "godfighter" ( θεομάχος), as they are known in secular and early Jewish literature of antiquity. Nevertheless, Paul did not become a recipient of divine vengeance, but of the grace of the Lord. He thus became a fighter for God: the advocate of Christianity. Against this background, how can 2 Timothy 1 state of the same Paul that he, like his Jewish ancestors, has continued to serve God with a clear conscience? This could be seen as a strange discrepancy. Exegesis of both statements in context makes clear, however, that the Pastoral Letters draw a consistent picture of Paul. He had to redefine his faith, but in doing this he did not engage in the worship of any other God than the God of his forefathers.
Author Ernest Van EckSource: HTS : Theological Studies 64, pp 1735 –1765 (2008)More Less
Jesus and violence : Mark 12:1-12 (and par) and Thomas 65
As an advanced agrarian (aristocratic) society, first-century Palestine's social fabric was built on systemic tensions and conflicts between the elite (rulers) and the peasantry (the ruled). At the root of these conflicts were incompatible values (ideologies) and interests. Mediterraneans in general were agonistic (fight-prone) in nature - hence willing to engage in physical conflict at the slightest provocation. Violence in the first-century, however, was more than just physical conflict - it was establishment violence. What was Jesus' stance on violence? An ideological-critical reading of Mark 12:1-12 (and par) indicates that the canonical versions of the Tenants - in which Jesus condones violence - cannot be seen as reflecting the historical Jesus' attitude towards violence. Jesus' stance on violence is rather reflected in GThom 65, in which Jesus is pictured as criticizing all kinds of violence. This study also reiterates the necessity of reading the Biblical text from an ideological-critical perspective to avoid the peril of "gospelizing" Jesus.
Het gebruik van geweld bij het bestraffen van overspel in Bijbelse teksten (Deuteronomium 22:13-29 en Johannes 7:53-8:11)Author Wim J.C. WerenSource: HTS : Theological Studies 64, pp 1767 –1785 (2008)More Less
The use of violence in punishing adultery in Biblical texts (Deuteronomy 22:13-29 and John 7:53-8:11)
In this article, the focus is on the extent to which in biblical texts violence is deemed acceptable in punishing adultery. Jesus' attitude to this severe punishment is discussed. Jesus concurs with the sanction imposed by Moses but the effect of his requirement that each individual in the group of executioners be without sin, is in fact that the punishment cannot be carried out. The way in which Jesus intervenes is in line of discussions in the Old Testament and in early Judaism that are aimed at imposing restraints of the use of violence in punishing sexual offences. The article concludes with an evaluation of the topical relevance or irrelevance of the two biblical pasages discussed here.
Author Joseph VerheydenSource: HTS : Theological Studies 64, pp 1787 –1791 (2008)More Less
An irenic dialogue with Wim Weren about violence in John 7:53-8:11
This essay engages in a dialogue with Wim Weren's contribution in this volume. It first discusses some hermeneutical perspectives on violence in the pericope on the adulteress woman in John 7:53-8:11. It then discusses the use of Deuteronomy in this passage against the background of Jesus' radical new perspective on violence.
Geweld in 'n evangelie van liefde : die Evangelie van Johannes se perspektief op geweld teen Jesus en sy dissipelsSource: HTS : Theological Studies 64, pp 1793 –1812 (2008)More Less
Violence in a gospel of love : the perspective of the Gospel of John on violence against Jesus and his disciples
This article is the first of two articles in which violence in the Gospel of John is discussed. In these articles strong techniques of vilification in the Gospel are pointed out, according to which the status of the opposing group is radically discredited by the Jews on the one hand, and the followers of Jesus on the other hand. In the first article violence and vilification by the Jews, or disciples of Moses against the followers and disciples of Jesus are investigated. It is argued that the central issue of the conflict revolves around the question: Where is God's presence to be found? Among the Jews or among the followers of Jesus? The conflict and violence in John could be understood against the backdrop of this important question.
Source: HTS : Theological Studies 64, pp 1813 –1835 (2008)More Less
The reaction of Jesus and his disciples to violence in the Gospel of John
This article is the second of two articles in which violence in the Gospel of John is discussed. It is argued that Jesus' disciples used techniques of vilification in the Gospel, inter alia as way of dealing with the violence they experience at the hands of their opponents. Closer investigation reveals that they use vilification against their opponents as a pragmatic device for missionary purposes.
Author Paul B. DecockSource: HTS : Theological Studies 64, pp 1837 –1853 (2008)More Less
Images of war and creation, violence and nonviolence in the Revelation of John
Much of the violent imagery of Revelation can be seen as inspired by the image of God as the Divine Warrior who will overcome the chaotic forces threatening creation and who will bring creation to its fulfillment. This violence is reserved for God and the exalted Jesus although the prophetic ministry of churches shares to some extent in this divine power and even in its violence (11:5-6). However, human victory is won through worship of God instead of worship of Satan and the Beast, and through prophetic witness unto death in order to bring the inhabitants of the world to repentance and so to overcome sin that destroys creation. This human victory is made possible by the "blood of Jesus" and requires that his followers persevere in the works of Jesus to the end (2:26) in order to share in the new creation of which Jesus is God's agent from the beginning (3:14).
Author Pieter G R De VilliersSource: HTS : Theological Studies 64, pp 1855 –1893 (2008)More Less
Exposure of evil : exegetical perspectives on violence in Revelation 18
This article investigates violence in Revelation 18 from an exegetical perspective because of its prominent role in contemporary debate on violence in the New Testament. It first discusses the complex meaning of violence in the light of the intricate composition of the book as a whole and this chapter in particular. It argues that, in contrast to what is often said in contemporary research about the incoherence of this passage, Revelation 18 is in fact a carefully composed ring composition in which the constitutive elements determine its meaning decisively and in which violence is a seminal motif. It also discusses how the rest of the text confirms the author's literary skills and the neat composition of Revelation 18 as a text about a violent city. The article then shows how the different elements in the text ironically delineate the downfall of the violent city of Babylon and the reasons for it. It sketches how the consequences of Babylon's fall are developed from an earthly and divine perspective. In all these different parts the prevalence of violence is spelled out.
'n Proloog tot hierdie bundel : 'n unieke groep en perspektief op die Bybel en die Nuwe-Testamentiese WetenskapSource: HTS : Theological Studies 64, pp 1855 –1893 (2008)More Less
A prologue to this volume : a unique group and perspective on the Bible and New Testament Studies
This introduction explains the motivation for and background of a unique meeting between Dutch, Flemish and Afrikaans New Testament scholars that took place in January 2008 in Stellenbosch, South Africa. The conference focused on the theme of ''Violence and the New Testament''. The introductory essay explains the nature, proceedings and outcomes of the meeting. It points out the historic nature of the meeting and that the members of the conference decided to promote a regular forum where Dutch-speaking scholars from different continents (where forms of Dutch are spoken by 60 million people) can meet.
Author Tobias NicklasSource: HTS : Theological Studies 64, pp 1895 –1921 (2008)More Less
The Bible in anti-Semitic contexts
The article focuses on the (ab-)use of New Testament texts in the time of National Socialism. After a definition of central terms, it describes how anti-Semitic authors interpreted biblical texts. It then presents an overview of authors who attempted to prove Jesus' Aryan origins and anti-Jewish position (e g, the so-called "Pantherathesis"). After explaining how (and why) Paul is seen as "too Jewish" by Third Reich scholars, the article investigates the continuing influence of Nazi exegesis and concludes with an overview of recent developments regarding this issue.
Source: HTS : Theological Studies 64, pp 1923 –1951 (2008)More Less
Hermeneutical perspectives on violence in the New Testament
This article discusses hermeneutical perspectives on violence in the New Testament as they appear in articles in this publication and in New Testament Studies in general. It contrasts the traditional perspective on the New Testament as book of peace with the growing insight in its violent nature. It is followed by a discussion of the multi-faceted nature of both notions of peace and violence and the various forms in which they are expressed. After an analysis of the relationship between violence and its alternatives, the various forms of violence are outlined in terms of their relationship to their experiential realities. This is followed by remarks about an adequate methodology for the study of violence, the way in which violence is countered in the New Testament texts and, finally, three possible explanations for the nature of violence.
Seeking the favor of God, Vol 2 : The development of penitential prayer in second temple Judaism, M.J. Boda, D.K. Falk & R. Werline (eds) : book reviewAuthor P.M. VenterSource: HTS : Theological Studies 64, pp 1953 –1954 (2008)More Less
Author D.P. VeldsmanSource: HTS : Theological Studies 64, pp 1954 –1955 (2008)More Less
Brandos convincingly concludes that any understanding of God, salvation or the work of Christ will in many respects be inevitably problematic. What is, however, important to him, is that in its own way, each of the stories of redemption he considered, is capable of contributing to the transformation of human beings and the world.
Author Anastasia ApostolidesSource: HTS : Theological Studies 64, pp 1955 –1956 (2008)More Less
In chapters five and six Cooper looks at social explanations of evil. Stanley Milgram, Philip Zimbardo and Roy Baumeister outlined and analyzed, that evil can be explained from a ''dispositional'' or ''situationist'' viewpoint. Next Cooper tackles the question of the relative importance of whether social and or individual sin should have the advantage in a discussion of evil. Cooper explores this question by bringing into contact feminist and liberation viewpoints with the work of theologians Langdon Gilkey and Reinhold Niebuhr.