HTS : Theological Studies - Volume 67, Issue 1, 2011
Volume 67, Issue 1, 2011
Show, tell and re-enact : the reason why the earliest followers of Jesus found the Eucharist meaningful : original researchAuthor Jonanda GroenewaldSource: HTS : Theological Studies 67, pp 1 –10 (2011)More Less
The purpose of this article has been to examine how the earliest followers of Jesus experienced the Eucharist. What was their reason for participating in the Eucharist? What kind of value did this rite add to their lives? What was the meaning attached to it? In the end, this approach might assist us to gain a deeper understanding of this 'early Christian' rite, which, in turn, could help us to comprehend what kind of value the Eucharist could add to our lives today.
When neighbours are not neighbours : a social-scientific reading of the parable of the friend at midnight (Lk 11:5-8) : original researchAuthor Ernest Van EckSource: HTS : Theological Studies 67, pp 1 –14 (2011)More Less
This article presents a social-scientific interpretation of the parable of the friend at midnight. As starting point, attention is given to the history of the interpretation of the parable, as well as to its integrity and authenticity. A social-scientific reading of the parable is then presented. The parable is read against the socio-economic and political backdrop of first-century Palestine village life in which friendship, hospitality, limited good and reciprocity played an important role. The interpretation of the parable hinges on the understanding of άναίδειαν [shamelessness] Luke 11:8. Therefore, special attention is given to honour as a pivotal value in first-century Palestine. The parable tells the story of an alternative world, a world wherein neighbours are kin and practice general reciprocity. The gist of the parable is that when neighbours do not act as neighbours, then nothing of God's kingdom becomes visible.
Author Wim J.C. WerenSource: HTS : Theological Studies 67, pp 1 –6 (2011)More Less
This article maps out recent developments in the exegetical investigation of Jesus. It starts with a discussion of the Jesus book by Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI, in which 'canonical exegesis' is used to argue that Johannine Christology is also present in the other gospels and that this Christology actually goes back to Jesus. In this way, the book narrows the gap between the historical Jesus and the Christ of faith. The next section argues for maintaining the multiplicity of images of Jesus as a literary figure that is the fruit of relatively recent approaches: redaction criticism, narrative-semantic analysis and intertextuality. The final section contains a sketch of the current state of research on the historical Jesus and its relevance for Christology. The multiplicity in the literary and historical approaches poses challenges to the further development of Christology.
Author William R.G. LoaderSource: HTS : Theological Studies 67, pp 1 –6 (2011)More Less
This article revisited the issue of Jesus' attitude towards the Torah on the basis of a critical discussion of the most recent extensive treatment of the theme by Meier in his A marginal Jew: Rethinking the historical Jesus: Volume four: Law and love (2009). It engaged Meier's contribution in the light of contemporary research, concluding that, whilst Meier provided an erudite analysis, his thesis that Jesus' teaching on divorce and oaths revoked Mosaic law did not convince, for it did not adequately consider the extent to which the contemporary interpretation of the Torah could encompass such radicalisation.
Author Lina SpiesSource: HTS : Theological Studies 67, pp 1 –10 (2011)More Less
In this article, the Book of Esther was interpreted in a way that was clearly not intended by the author. The article aimed to specifically concentrate on the motives and character traits of the personas, as revealed by their actions. The splendour and pomp of Ahasuerus's banquet reveals his ostentatious nature that Vasthi distances herself from. In spite of the apparent humiliation of losing her position as queen, she retains her dignity as a woman. Esther, on the other hand, deals with the king's appetite for pleasure by pleasing him with her sexual wiles and sumptuous meals. The royal power that she subsequently gains enables her to save her people from extinction. The male personas are shown up by their female counterparts as being obsessed by power and status. In a fierce political struggle, Haman is brought to a fall and Mordechai, a Diaspora Jew who risks his Jewishness for his ambition, replaces him as vice-roy of Persia. God's absence in the Book of Esther is explained in that God might perhaps speak through the weak, the insignificant and the humiliated or that God withdraws in silence from the political schemes of those in power.
Author Elaine M. WainwrightSource: HTS : Theological Studies 67, pp 1 –7 (2011)More Less
Recent sociological and anthropological studies have provided models for examining pilgrimage both in its ancient and contemporary manifestations. Such models can facilitate an examination of the phenomenon of study tours to biblical lands and the multivalence of the discourses associated with such tours. The first part of the article engaged critically with the literature in order to open up some frameworks for examining the study tour to biblical lands. Feminist critical biblical scholarship with its potential for a feminist hermeneutic of creative imagination contributes to the multivalence around the study tour. Therefore, the second part of the article engaged this scholarship in relation to an imagined tour with women of the biblical lands. The article highlighted significant issues for consideration for those planning a study tour of biblical lands, especially in terms of the consideration that ought to be paid to gender.
Author Riet Bons-StormSource: HTS : Theological Studies 67, pp 1 –5 (2011)More Less
The article focused on the questions of how male dominance came about in theology and the church, what makes it so persistent and what can be done. It argued that patriarchy is based on androcentric ways of thinking, feeling and acting that colour all of culture and society. Patriarchy and androcentrism perpetuate the status quo through language. They provide a template for attributing meaning to reality. They still have a profound effect on theology and ecclesial institutions. This can be seen clearly in the concept of God, the 'Almighty Father'. The article made a case for a theology that has the courage to analyse how and where it idolises the patriarchal template and that imagines a God other than the patriarchal 'Almighty Father': a God who walks with Her or His friends in gracious, empowering love, not 'almighty' but honouring the responsibility She or He gave them. The article concludes that the life of Jesus as the human being who mirrors God's love, friendship and passion for justice inspires a different way of how God could be imagined.
Gender critique on the narrator's androcentric point of view of women in Matthew's gospel : original researchAuthor Yolanda DreyerSource: HTS : Theological Studies 67, pp 1 –5 (2011)More Less
The article, from a gender-sensitive perspective, is critical of patriarchal values that are harmful to women and other non-dominant groups. When the focus on women and women's roles is usurped by male control, the androcentric self-interest of interpreters and authors becomes apparent. This is still the case in present-day theological studies, but is especially prevalent in premodern biblical writings, of which the Gospel of Matthew is an example. Recent mainstream Jesus studies demonstrate that women were welcomed in an 'egalitarian' way in the community of the first followers of Jesus. Women's contribution to the first Christian faith community is highlighted. This stands in stark contrast to the silencing and invisibility of women in the surrounding patriarchal world of the ancient Middle East. Although Matthew does view women and other formerly excluded people as part of the faith community and equal recipients of God's love, they are never treated as equal participants. The article focuses on three issues concerning the narrator's point of view, namely that (1) women fulfilled a supporting, rather than an initiating role (Mt 1-2; 9:18-26; 15:21-28), (2) double standards were applied to male and female sexuality and women's sexuality was regarded with prejudice (Mt 5:29-32; 19:2-12) and (3) women were seemingly given the opportunity to live 'authentically' as human beings, but in actual fact they could do so only if this 'authenticity' was sanctioned by men (Mt 20:20-23; 27:38; 27:56).
Author John S. KloppenborgSource: HTS : Theological Studies 67, pp 1 –16 (2011)More Less
This article tries to understand what might have been at stake for the synagogue from which the Johannine Jesus partisans had been expelled and what was at stake in the coinage of the term άποσυναγωγός. It we refuse to accept naively John's overlexicalised and retrospective account of the grounds for expulsions and pay attention to the practices of other groups in articulating a disciplinary code, I suggest that what was at stake was deviant behaviour on the part of the Johannine Jesus-partisans: either failure to comply with the larger group's practices concerning Sabbath observance, or more likely, clique formation.
Author John J. PilchSource: HTS : Theological Studies 67, pp 1 –5 (2011)More Less
The symbolic interpretation of the salt sayings in the New Testament (Mt 5:13; Mk 9:42-50; Lk 12:49-53; 14:34-35) is best based on the long-standing cultural practice of using salt as a catalytic agent to burn dung, the common fuel for the typical earthen oven used by peasants even to this day. Seasoning and preservation are culturally inappropriate.
Medical anthropology as an antidote for ethnocentrism in Jesus research? Putting the illness-disease distinction into perspectiveAuthor Pieter F. CraffertSource: HTS : Theological Studies 67, pp 1 –14 (2011)More Less
Medicine often has side-effects or unintended consequences that are more harmful than the original disease. Medical anthropology in general and the illness-disease distinction in particular has been introduced into historical Jesus research with the intent to protect it from medicocentrism and thus to offer ways of comprehending sickness and healing in the world of Jesus and his first followers without distorting these phenomena by imposing the biomedical framework onto the texts. In particular the illness-disease distinction is used for making sense of healing accounts whilst claiming to cross the cultural gap. Based on an analysis of the illness-disease distinction in medical anthropology and its use in historical Jesus research this article suggests that instead of protecting from ethnocentrism this distinction actually increases the risk of ethnocentrism and consequently distorts in many instances the healing accounts of the New Testament.
Author Dietmar NeufeldSource: HTS : Theological Studies 67, pp 1 –10 (2011)More Less
This article canvassed Greek and Roman sources for discussions concerning truth talk and lies. It has investigated what social historians and/or anthropologists are saying about truth talking and lying and has developed a model that will examine the issue of truth and lying in socio-religious terms as defined by the Graeco-Roman sources. The article tracked down the socio-rhetorical force of truth talk and lies, in terms of how they are strategically deployed to negotiate authority, to exert epistemic control, to define a personal and communal identity and to defend innovation in the midst of competing truth claims. It focused on the New Testament writing (1 John) and demonstrated that the author, in his desire to establish and defend his vision of truth, resorts to a style of truth talk endemic to the literary habits of Graeco-Roman antiquity. In so doing, the author established himself as a credible witness, set himself apart from those propounding falsehoods and, to some extent, distanced himself from the vision of truth propounded in the Gospel of John.
Author Santiago GuijarroSource: HTS : Theological Studies 67, pp 1 –6 (2011)More Less
The letters of Paul speak more frequently of the resurrected and exalted Jesus than they do of the earthly Jesus. Nonetheless, this does not mean that the apostle and his addressees did not know the teachings and main events of Jesus' life. Their insistence as to the heavenly identity of Jesus is as likely to have been motivated by contextual factors which guided the development of the primitive Christological confessions which Paul received in the years after his conversion. This article will focus on two of these factors: the configuration of the Christian communities of the Diaspora as foreign cults in a context of religious plurality and the new revelatory experiences which triggered the formation of a binitarian faith.
Determining the relationship between Jesus and Paul is one of the fundamental tasks of those who, like Prof. Andries van Aarde, study the origins of Christianity and the beginnings of Christian theology. The basic question in this regard, at least as it has been formulated recently by David Wenham (1995), is whether Paul was a follower of Jesus or the founder of Christianity (see also Wedderburn  and Barbaglio ). In this brief article, I would like to consider one aspect of this general topic and to offer a few suggestions that might contribute to a better understanding of the peculiar vision of Jesus that we find in the letters of Paul. In them, in fact, the apostle moves from the incarnation to the death and resurrection, leaving in the shadows the activity and teaching of Jesus to which the gospels subsequently give so much importance.
This contrast raises some questions concerning the knowledge which Paul had of the Jesus tradition and the value he accorded to it: What did he know about Jesus? Did he know the traditions which the evangelists later collected? Why does he not refer to them in his letters more frequently? By contrast, why does he give so much importance to the death and resurrection of Jesus and to Jesus' divine condition?
Social-scientific criticism : perspective, process and payoff. Evil eye accusation at Galatia as illustration of the method : original researchAuthor John H. ElliottSource: HTS : Theological Studies 67, pp 1 –10 (2011)More Less
This article explores a presentation of the method, emergence and contribution of social-scientific criticism (SSC) as an inter-disciplinary operation of New Testament exegesis. A description of ancient evil eye belief and practice and its appearance in Paul's letter to the Galatians illustrates how the method contributes to a more accurate translation of the biblical text, a clarification of its logic and a fuller understanding of the social dynamics involving Paul and his opponents.
Author Dennis C. DulingSource: HTS : Theological Studies 67, pp 1 –11 (2011)More Less
This article first explores individual memory as understood from the time of the ancient Greeks and Romans to modern-day neurology and psychology. The perspective is correlated with collective memory theory in the works of Halbwachs, Connerton, Gillis, Fentress and Wickham, Olick, Schwartz, Jan and Alida Assmann and Kirk and Thatcher. The relevance of 'orality' is highlighted in Kelber's works, as well as in oral poetry performance by illiterate Yugoslavian bards, as discussed in studies by Parry, Lord and Havelock. Kelber's challenge of Bultmann's theory of oral tradition in the gospels is also covered. The article concludes with observations and reflections, opting for a position of moderate-to-strong constructionism.
'Suffering Violence' and the kingdom of heaven (Mt 11:12) : a Matthean manual for life in a time of war : original researchAuthor Dorothy Jean WeaverSource: HTS : Theological Studies 67, pp 1 –12 (2011)More Less
Matthew's Gospel has much to say about 'suffering violence'. As Jesus comments (11:12, NRSV), 'From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force'. Through his narrative rhetoric Matthew offers multi-layered perspectives on life lived vis-à-vis ongoing violence. These perspectives reflect (1) the experiences of the righteous as they encounter violence, (2) the words of Jesus depicting or predicting the sufferings of himself and others, (3) the words of Jesus calling people to faithful responses to violence, and (4) Matthew's own narrative rhetoric offering theological reflection on the suffering of the righteous. This study examines the Matthean theme of 'suffering violence'; the first section focuses on the nature and cause of the violence faced by the righteous; the second section focuses both on Jesus' call to faithful responses to violence and on actual lived responses to violence; the final section focuses on the rhetorical strategy of Matthew's narrative in relation to the question of violence and assesses Matthew's theological reflections on the suffering of the righteous. The study concludes with brief reflections on the present-day implications of Matthew's text for life 'in a time of war'.
Author Evert-Jan VledderSource: HTS : Theological Studies 67, pp 1 –6 (2011)More Less
Along with Norman Metzler, I will argue that the first petition of the Lord's prayer: 'Hallowed be thy Name' (Mt 6:9b) is not the first petition in proper sense. It rather can be seen as a 'parenthetical doxological phrase' that describes closer the address 'Our Father in Heaven' (Mt 6:9b), following examples in both Jewish and Muslim traditions. The question will be raised whether the devotional address to God is not a stronger base for respectful co-existence and dialogue with each other than a rather general moral demand of 'having respect for each other'?
Author David C. SimSource: HTS : Theological Studies 67, pp 1 –6 (2011)More Less
The Gospel of Matthew presents two starkly different depictions of Jesus. The earthly Jesus of the past is a pacifist who teaches non-violence, compassion, non-retaliation, forgiveness and love of enemies, and he lives his life according to these ideals. The other Jesus is the eschatological figure of judgement who is the antithesis of the earthly Jesus. This Jesus is violent, merciless and vengeful in his treatment of the wicked. The evangelist constructed and promoted this terrible figure of judgement to assist his readers to cope with certain situations of crisis, but in doing so he paid a steep christological price by presenting Jesus in contradictory terms.
Author Sakari HakkinenSource: HTS : Theological Studies 67, pp 1 –7 (2011)More Less
One of the presumptions of this article is that most of the people in the nascent 'Christian' communities were ordinary people struggling with questions of living under harsh conditions in a country that was occupied by an enemy force. Another presumption is that the history of these ordinary people from antiquity needs to be heard. The article aimed, with the help of archaeology, cultural anthropology, social history of antiquity, literature of the time as well as other disciplines, to create a social context of Jesus and his disciples. The article approached the Gospels in the New Testament from the poor, the majority of people living in the 1st century Roman Empire. It gives a brief analysis of one of the poverty texts, namely Matthew 6:25-34. By means of interviews, stories of villagers in Tanzania, as well as their interpretations of the Gospel texts, have been documented. The people of Kinywang'anga serve as a test case for reading the 'do not worry' exhortation in the Matthean passage.
'Wat jy ook op die aarde mag bind, sal in die hemel gebonde wees, en wat jy ook op die aarde mag ontbind, sal in die hemel ontbonde wees' (Matt 16:19) : original researchAuthor Theuns F.J. DreyerSource: HTS : Theological Studies 67, pp 1 –4 (2011)More Less
'What you prohibit on earth will be prohibited in heaven, and what you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven' (Mt 16:19)
This article has been a homiletic reflection on the well-known words in Matthew 16:19. The explication and application of these words have been theologically contextualised with respect to current debates amongst theologians in the Nederduitsch Hervormde Kerk. The original meaning of this verse relates to the rabbinical tradition of interpretation of the Torah. Matthew pictures Jesus as the new teacher (like Moses), who gave a new interpretation of the law. In rabbinical language, his teachings are 'binding' and 'loosening', or, as translated in the Good News Bible (1933), they permit and prohibit. In the history of the reformed tradition, this verse was mostly interpreted from a judicial perspective as the authority to excommunicate or to include. To a great extent and especially in certain circles, the tradition of interpretation became static because of the authority of a 'final' interpretation attached to the creeds of the church. However, the original meaning of this verse is the authority, and commands us continuously to interpret the meaning of the gospel in the context of the present-day situation.