HTS : Theological Studies - Volume 71, Issue 1, 2015
Volume 71, Issue 1, 2015
Source: HTS : Theological Studies 71, pp 1 –7 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v71i1.2938More Less
In his influential 1987 monograph, Kloppenborg identified three layers in the Sayings Gospel Q: the 'formative stratum' (or Q1), the 'main redaction' (or Q2), and the 'final recension' (or Q3). He ascribed the cluster of sayings in Q 12:39-59 to the main redaction. Within this cluster appears the parable of the loyal and wise slave (Q 12:42-46). In my view, some portions of this parable actually originate with the formative stratum. The aim of the current article is to reconsider the redactional make-up of this parable by appealing to Kloppenborg's own criteria for distinguishing between Q1 and Q2, including those of 'characteristic forms', 'characteristic motifs' and 'implied audience'.
Source: HTS : Theological Studies 71, pp 1 –5 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v71i1.2910More Less
This publication argues for the existence of a seam between verses 44 and 45 of the parable in Q 12:42-46. In the process, a case is also made for identifying the second half of the parable (Q 12:45-46) as a redactional addition to a more original first half (Q 12:42-44). The arguments that make up this article form the basis for a follow-up article on the redaction of Q 12:42-46 within the context of the Sayings Gospel as a whole.
Reframing Paul's sibling language in light of Jewish epistolary forms of address : original researchAuthor Kyu Seop KimSource: HTS : Theological Studies 71, pp 1 –8 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v71i1.2860More Less
Recent scholars focus mainly on Paul's use of 'brothers (and sisters)' or 'brother (and sister)' in Greco-Roman epistolary conventions and cultural backdrops. However, Jewish dimensions (particularly ethnic dimensions) of Paul's sibling language still remain unexplored in current scholarship. Furthermore, scholars have not drawn much attention to how Jewish letter writers use sibling terms in their letters. This article offers a new interpretation on Paul's sibling language in light of its Jewish usage. We should note that Jewish letter writers did not address their Gentile letter recipients as 'brother(s)'. However, Paul did call his recipients 'brothers'. It is unlikely that Paul employed sibling language without being aware of its common Jewish usage. The author proposes that Paul's sibling language is used in the context of an ethnic insider designation (shared ethnicity), and that ascribing the title of brother to believers including Gentiles signals the re-definition of the family of Abraham.
Honour and debt release in the parable of the unmerciful servant (Mt 18 : 23-33) : a social-scientific and realistic reading : original researchAuthor Ernest van EckSource: HTS : Theological Studies 71, pp 1 –11 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v71i1.2838More Less
This article presents a social-scientific and realistic reading of the parable of the Unmerciful Servant. The parables of Jesus are realistic stories about everyday events in 1st-century Palestine that evoke specific social realia and practices known to its first hearers. As recent studies on the parables have shown, papyri from early Roman Egypt provide detailed information on the implied social realities and practices assumed in the parables. In reading the parable through the lens of patronage and clientism and against the background of the relationship between royal ideology and debt release attested in documented papyri, it is argued that the parable suggests that in the basileia of God debt should be released in terms of general reciprocity, emulating the way in which patrons release debt for the sake of honour.
What does it mean to be possessed by a spirit or demon? Some phenomenological insights from neuro-anthropological research : original researchAuthor Pieter F. CraffertSource: HTS : Theological Studies 71, pp 1 –9 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v71i1.2891More Less
The visible growth in possession and exorcism in Southern Africa can, amongst others, be attributed to the general impression in Christianity that, since Jesus was a successful exorcist, his followers should follow his example. Historical Jesus research generally endorses a view of Jesus as exorcist, which probably also contributes to this idea, yet there is no or very little reflection about either exorcism or possession as cultural practices. This article offers a critical reflection on possession based on insights from cross-cultural and neuro-scientific research.The first insight is that possession is not a single thing, but a collective term for what is a wide range of phenomena. At least two distinct meanings are identified : possession as a label for illness or misfortune, and possession as an indication of forms of human dissociative phenomena. In the latter instance, an impression of possession as a mode of being a Self, together with insights about the inherent potential for dissociative phenomena, provides the background to the view of possession as a cultural technique with a variety of functions. A second insight is that the term possession refers to complex neuro-cultural processes that can be described by means of both cultural and neurological mechanisms. A third insight is that in most ethnographic examples possession is the response or solution to other underlying problems. Against this background the role of exorcism should be reconsidered as clear-cut and worthy of emulation.
Die uitbouing van die Bybelse kanon in antieke Judaïsme en die vroeë Christendom : original researchAuthor Jorg FreySource: HTS : Theological Studies 71, pp 1 –9 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v71i1.2853More Less
The development of the biblical canon in ancient Judaism and early Christianity. A brief account of the process of the development of both the Jewish and the bipartite Christian canon is given. It is argued that due to insights gained from recent textual discoveries, especially the Dead Sea Scrolls (Qumran texts), earlier theories about the history of canonisation had to be reviewed. With the New Testament canon the authors focus on the influence of Marcion as well as the various other factors that played a role in the process of canonisation. It is shown that canonisation was the result of a complicated and variegated canonical process. But in spite of the problems of the criteria used and other factors involved, the biblical canon is theologically valuable and 'well-chosen'.
Author William DomerisSource: HTS : Theological Studies 71, pp 1 –8 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v71i1.2954More Less
The emerging consensus, on the intervention of Jesus into the commercial operations of the Jerusalem Temple, speaks in terms of an enacted parable aimed at the temple hierarchy, against the backdrop of the ongoing economic and social oppression of the time. In this article, I consider four essential scholarly insights (keys) : The possibility that Caiaphas introduced trade in sacrifices in the Jerusalem Temple; the link between the money changers and Greek stylebankers; the Jewish witness to the extent of high-priestly corruption in the 1st century CE; and finally the presence of the image of Baal-Melkart on the Tyrian Shekel. In the light of the fourth key, in particular, we discover Jesus, like the prophets of old (Jeremiah and Elijah), standing against the greed of the High priests and their abuse of the poor and marginalised, by defending the honour of God, and pronouncing judgement on the temple hierarchy as 'bandits' (Jr 7 : 11) and, like their ancestors, encouragers of 'Baal worship' (Jr 7 : 9).
Author H.C. (Hermie) Van ZylSource: HTS : Theological Studies 71, pp 1 –12 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v71i1.2995More Less
The contextual function of Hebrews 13 : 8. In this article the contextual function of Hebrews 13 : 8 is investigated. This verse is rather enigmatic as regards its meaning and contextual function. Scholars usually find that verse 8 combines with the immediately preceding and following verses, that is, verses 7 and 9, but the rest of the chapter is seldom brought into play. This article attempts to address this deficiency. It is proposed that verse 8 plays the following role in Chapter 13: It supports the teaching and life of the spiritual leaders, counteractsfalse teachings, provides stability for the readers' pilgrimage in this life, and serves as the Christological basis of the community's worship.
Author Johann CookSource: HTS : Theological Studies 71, pp 1 –11 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v71i1.2971More Less
This contribution demonstrates that it is possible to formulate a theology of LXX Proverbs. It limits itself to a pilot study of three passages, Chapters 1, 2 and 8. A contextual approach is followed and the following conclusions, that have implications for a theology, are reached:
1. 1:1-7 indicates what Proverbs is not, i.e. speculative philosophical ideas
2. Chapter 2 demonstrates that the wisdom is foreign wisdom - the Hellenism of the day
3. Sophia in chapter 8 has a subordinate role in relation to God.
Author Abiola MbamaluSource: HTS : Theological Studies 71, pp 1 –6 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v71i1.2765More Less
According to the book of Hebrews, the locus of Jesus' intercession is found in his role as a high priest. Yet neither the Levitical high priest nor Melchizedek, the prototype after which Jesus' priestly function is modelled, interceded in a strict sense of the word. In a context where prayer is seen as an activity that pertains to the purview of the weak or needy, how then does one conceive of Jesus' intercession as portrayed in Hebrews 7 : 25? In addition, does it not seem rather incongruous that Jesus at the height (right hand) of power should still be found to be interceding? It raises some theological questions as to the subordinate role of the exalted Christ. This stands in sharp relief to other passages in the New Testament that have used the same background text, Psalm 110, to advance the motif of a triumphant Jesus. The contention of this article is that in addition to Psalm 110 that is explicitly cited and alluded to in the letter to the Hebrews, the servant's song in Isaiah 52 : 13-53 :1 2 stands behind the high priest motif in Hebrews. The explication of the twin role of Jesus as an intercessor and as an 'atoner' for the sins of the people coheres in the servant's song. The article submits that Jesus' intercession is indeed a continuation of his vicarious interposition whereby he takes the weakness of the people upon himself and stands in their stead.
Author Jeremy PuntSource: HTS : Theological Studies 71, pp 1 –9 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v71i1.2970More Less
This contribution explores the potential value of a post colonial approach for teaching Mark's gospel. Investigating a number of texts from the gospel, it asks to what extent a post colonial optic implies a different approach to the gospel, what it adds and where challenges exist. Teaching with a post colonial optic entails framing the gospel in its 1st-century imperial context and focusing on the ambivalence and ambiguity of imperial rule, investigating texts with attention to hybridity and mimicry in particular. Teaching the Gospel of Mark through a post colonial optic opens up new possibilities for interpretation and contextualisation, but at the same time poses certain challenges, pedagogically and otherwise.
Author Marius J. NelSource: HTS : Theological Studies 71, pp 1 –8 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v71i1.2928More Less
This article focuses on the renouncement of possessions in Matthew 19 : 16-30 in terms of three related questions. Firstly, it asks if the renouncement of possessions was, according to Matthew, a general requirement for following Jesus or for membership of the Matthean community. Secondly, it investigates if this requirement did not lead to a distinction within the Matthean community between those who adhered to a stricter ethic of Jesus and those who did not (i.e. between religious virtuosi and non-virtuosi)? Finally it enquiries as to what would have compelled followers of Jesus or members of the latter Matthean community to comply with it? The article concludes that at least some of the followers of Jesus are depicted by Matthew as having renounced their possessions as a sign of their unconditional commitment to him. The Matthean community could thus have been a two-tiered community comprised of virtuosi who had renounced all their possessions, as was demanded of the rich young man, and those who had not. The renouncement of their possessions could have been part of their initiation into the Matthean community and have been motivated by the promise of an incomparable eschatological reward. It further appears that while not all who were considered to be followers of Jesus had surrendered their possessions, all would share in God's eschatological reward if they provided hospitality to those who did.
Impact of destruction - Introduction to the Josephus Seminar, Theological University Kampen : original researchAuthor Koert Van BekkumSource: HTS : Theological Studies 71, pp 1 –3 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v71i1.2943More Less
This is an introduction to the contributions of Jan Willem van Henten and William den Hollander to the Josephus Seminar 'Impact of destruction. Methodological questions in the study of Jewish and Christian reactions to the demolition of the Temple' held at the Theological University in Kampen, the Netherlands. The introduction sketches the status quaestionis and the methodological issues in comparing the works of Josephus and the Gospels in reconstructing the impact of the destruction of the Temple in AD 70 on Judaism and Early Christianity.
Author Rob Van HouwelingenSource: HTS : Theological Studies 71, pp 1 –7 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v71i1.2904More Less
'The God of peace' in the New Testament. Why does the New Testament use the expression 'the God of peace' and what is the meaning of this phrase? In the Old Testament, the God of Israel is often connected with peace, but he is never called 'the God of peace'. Not until the Hellenistic period is this expression sporadically found in Judaism (once in the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs and once in Philo). As for the biblical Umwelt, the gods of the ancient Near East were not very peace-loving, and in the perception of Greco-Roman culture the god of war, Arès/Mars, as one of the twelve Olympians was much more prominent than Eirènè/Pax. However, the expression 'the God of peace' is found several times in the Corpus Paulinum and once in the letter to the Hebrews. This article investigates all New Testament texts that have this formula, suggesting that the apostle Paul could be responsible for the wording. In conclusion, Paul states that the God of Israel desires to establish a definitive peace in his creation through the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ and by finally defeating all powers of evil. This apostolic message further indicates that Christians are supposed to be bearers of peace, promoting a peaceful atmosphere in their environment and in the world.
Author Andries G. Van AardeSource: HTS : Theological Studies 71, pp 1 –9 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v71i1.2935More Less
Peacemakers as children of God (Mt 5 : 9) : a pragmatic-linguistic reading. The article investigates different options of the pragmatic meaning (implicature) of the beatitude in the Gospel of Matthew, 'blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God' (Mt 5 : 9). It also explores this Jesus logion's seeming contradiction with Jesus' remark in die Matthean mission discourse, 'Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword' (Mt 10 : 34). The pragmatic use of the concept 'peace' in Matthew is probed against the background of scribal activity in the context of the restoration of villages in North Galilee and South Syria after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem by the Romans. The Pax Romana and Josephus's appeal to the inhabitants of these villages to collaborate with the Romans is described as the context of these Matthean Jesus logia. It argues that Matthew interprets Jesus as a 'Mosaic Joshua' in continuum with the Judaic tradition of Solomon as the 'king of peace', especially 1 Chronicles 22 : 5-11. The macarism about the 'peacemakers as children of God' is interpreted in correlation with the macarism 'blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted' (Mt 5 : 4). The article concludes with the finding that the sword motif in Matthew 10 : 4 does not contradict the beatitude on peace in Matthew 5 : 9.
Source: HTS : Theological Studies 71, pp 1 –8 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v71i1.2836More Less
Prayer and the formation of Christian identity in Revelation. The use of prayer in the book of Revelation is analysed. It is illustrated that heavenly prayer is directed to God, but that Jesus is also the subject of praise in contexts of prayer. Specific attention is given to the relation between prayer and Christian identity, illustrating how prayer serves the formation and sustenance of the Christian community within this world. Prayer also aims at witnessing to this world, thus strengthening Christian identity. Prayer further has a strong eschatological dimension, calling for the return of the Lord Jesus.
Author Rian VenterSource: HTS : Theological Studies 71, pp 1 –7 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v71i1.2952More Less
Spirituality and ultimacy are inextricably linked. Underlying the plurality of spiritualities are myriad ways to construe the identity of the transcendent. In a Christian sense, the notion of the divine with a Trinitarian identification is central. The article examines the implications of such a naming of God for spirituality. Attention is paid to the relationship between doctrinal theology and spirituality as well as to scholarly reflection already undertaken on a so-called Trinitarian spirituality. The article suggests guidelines for future work and emphasizes that anadequate account should be given of how Trinitarian theology is undertaken as symbolising and hermeneutical endeavour. Some unique features of this spirituality are profiled, and it is argued that a Trinitarian imagining of the divine may generate perspectives not possible in an unqualified monotheistic approach.
Source: HTS : Theological Studies 71, pp 1 –7 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v71i1.2892More Less
A shepherd-boy: A poem by Saint John of the Cross - critical meaning.A shepherd-boy, written by Saint John of the Cross around 1584, is a pastoral poem, a common and widespread genre at the time. Although the poet could have drawn from various sources, direct borrowing does not appear to have been the case. The poem has five stanzas, each consisting of four lines, with eleven syllables per line (a cuartet, with enclosing rhyme: abba). In the superscription the poem is described as a song a lo divino, a poetic transposition that transforms a profane text 'towards the divine', within a Christian-religious framework. A shepherd-boy places itself within this poetic tradition, but in a unique way, because his transposition is not prompted by catechetical interests, but opts for a mystical perspective.
Jesus and Afro-Pentecostal prophets : dynamics within the liminal space in Galilee and in Zimbabwe : original researchAuthor Zorodzai DubeSource: HTS : Theological Studies 71, pp 1 –6 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v71i1.2748More Less
What happens when religious and spiritual interventions are used to explain concrete social economic reality? This study suggests that Afro-Pentecostal prophets in Zimbabwe exist within the liminal context; the prophets therefore function to redefine and contest identities in view of present social realities. This realisation allows for a comparison between the Zimbabwean prophets and Jesus of Nazareth, with a view to draw general conclusions regarding the function of prophets. As contribution, the study fills the void within the studies concerning the religious explanations of socioeconomic issues in view of structures of power. Borrowing from Herbert Marcuse, this study advances the thesis that the prophets attract people by miracles and promises of bliss and, in the process, divert people's attention from directly confronting structures of power and hegemony.
In search of an appropriate contemporary approach in Christian ethics : Max Weber's ethic of responsibility as resource : original researchAuthor D. Etienne De VilliersSource: HTS : Theological Studies 71, pp 1 –8 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v71i1.2948More Less
The article addresses the question: 'To what extent can Max Weber's ethic of responsibility be a helpful resource in the search of Christian Social Ethics for an appropriate contemporary approach'? This question is addressed by, first of all, providing a summary of Weber's famous speech Politics as a Vocation in which he developed his view on the ethic of responsibility; secondly, providing an interpretation of his view; and, thirdly, critically discussing the extent to which this ethic can serve as a resource for Christian Social Ethics in its search for an appropriate contemporary approach. The conclusion is that although some aspects of Weber's view on the ethic of responsibility are unacceptable to Christian Social Ethics, the core of it is commendable. Some of the implications of incorporating an ethic of responsibility approach in Christian Social Ethics are also briefly discussed.