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Volume 50, Issue 3, Special Edition 2016
Author Petra DijkhuizenSource: Neotestamentica 50, pp i –vii (Special Edition 2016)More Less
The New Testament Society of Southern Africa (NTSSA) commemorates with this Special Edition the golden anniversary of its journal Neotestamentica. To reach volume 50 is a milestone, a proud moment, and reason for celebration. Volume 1 of Neotestamentica was published in 1967. Until 1986 (vol. 20) each volume consisted of a single issue—occasionally complemented by an addendum on the discourse analysis of the Greek text of a NT book or chapters of a book (see vols. 13 and 16). As from 1987 (vol. 21) two issues per volume were published. A proper third or special issue was included once: with volume 28. This was in 1994 after the sudden passing of Prof. Willem S. Vorster who occupied such a prominent place in the Society (“one of the most esteemed and influential members”1) and NT scholarship in general, and also served as General Secretary of the NTSSA and editor of Neotestamentica for a number of years. The Special Edition, volume 28(3), honoured Vorster’s scholarship by means of a constructive and critical debate on topics that he had introduced in South African NT studies.
Author Bernard C. LateganSource: Neotestamentica 50, pp 1 –14 (Special Edition 2016)More Less
The first fifty years of Neotestamentica reflect the changes in the way the text of the New Testament was interpreted as well as changes in the social context in which this interpretation took place. The article provides a brief survey of the contributions to the journal under three rubrics: studies with their main focus on the world “behind the text” (historical aspects), “in the text” (textual and exegetical aspects) and “in front of the text” (reader, contextual and contemporary aspects). For several reasons, the historical aspects were not the main focus during the first fifty years and when they did receive more attention, it was from a post “linguistic turn” perspective. The bulk of the articles concentrated on the text, its structure and text-immanent meaning, reflecting a preoccupation with method, leading to the criticism of “methodolomania.” A subsequent shift in focus on the reader and reception paved the way to concentrate on issues “in front of the text.” A high level of hermeneutical consciousness resulted in a considerable widening of the scope of the journal and an increase in interdisciplinarity. The question remains whether the journal in future will be able to make a meaningful contribution from its own discipline and enrich on-going conversations within theology, the humanities and society.
Author H.J. Bernard CombrinkSource: Neotestamentica 50, pp 15 –27 (Special Edition 2016)More Less
This article reflects on the role that Neotestamentica and colleagues of the New Testament Society of South Africa (NTSSA) have played in the academic life of the author. It began with the “Club of Ten” established with the aim of enabling attendance of international conferences. His research and broadening of interests were stimulated, more especially, through the cooperation in subgroups of the Society, resulting in the hosting of conference themes. Different phases in the changing scene of biblical interpretation are linked to publications, very often in Neotestamentica. As international contacts were actively cultivated by NTSSA members, increasing especially after 1994, collaboration between local and international colleagues (some of whom were in fact South Africans and members of the NTSSA teaching abroad) resulted in special conferences and dedicated publications.
Author Andries G. van AardeSource: Neotestamentica 50, pp 29 –58 (Special Edition 2016)More Less
In order to be born fully human (Latin: vere homo) X and Y chromosomes are needed. Without the involvement of chromosomes, Jesus of Nazareth would have had no ties to humanity. Aristotelian (“On the generation of animals” / “Peri zōōn geneseōs”) and ancient Hellenistic (Galen on the Hippocratic Corpus) views on how the vere homo came into being differ much from today’s knowledge of biology. In the Hebrew Scriptures, rabbinic traditions and Graeco-Roman literature, vere homo was the result not only of a male and female contribution; the third component was divine involvement. This article revisits the textual evidence of the conception of Jesus in the New Testament. The results are compared to propositions in the Athanasian Creed (Quicunque Vult) and the exegetical and/or dogmatic/socio-cultural views of Friedrich Schleiermacher, Karl Barth and Rudolf Bultmann. The article explores the ethical and cultural relevance of the Christian belief that Jesus was both vere homo and vere Deus, and enters into critical discussion with British New Testament scholar Andrew Lincoln and his idea of “DNA in antiquity.”
Author Andrie B. du ToitSource: Neotestamentica 50, pp 59 –91 (Special Edition 2016)More Less
Without disregarding the value of a diachronic approach, priority is given to a synchronic understanding of the Sermon on the Mount in its present form. Emphasis on diachronics, or even a shuttling between the diachronic and the synchronic, tends to cloud the holistic message that the Sermon was intended to convey to its real-world Syriac audience. The situation of that audience and its bearing on the content of the Sermon on the Mount are discussed. Compositional and thematic aspects of the Sermon are highlighted, such as its position within the macro-structure of Matthew, the author’s predilection for triads, the inner structure and theme of the Sermon. It is proposed that the basic theme of the Sermon on the Mount is the very special identity of Jesus’s end-time community and that its main purpose is the shaping and affirming of that identity. Contrary to the normal view that there are presently nine beatitudes, stylistic as well as contentual considerations indicate that the so-called ninth beatitude is in reality an actualising and personalising amplification of the eighth. Aspects of the antitheses such as their significance, the Jesus of the antitheses, and, finally, the Lord’s Prayer also receive attention.
Author Elna MoutonSource: Neotestamentica 50, pp 93 –112 (Special Edition 2016)More Less
This article explores the rich yet complex narrative space between the incarnation and glorification of ὁ λόγος in the Fourth Gospel (1:14; 17:1–5). This space is characterised by the transferral of “temple” imagery to both Jesus and the Johannine community as the dwelling place where God’s “tabernacling” presence is experienced (1:14; 2:16; 14:2). The distinctive “household” dynamic of the Gospel (1:12–13) is reflected in John 13–17 as intimate, mutual indwelling of God, Jesus, Spirit and believers. The implied rhetorical effect of the Gospel’s emphasis on “remaining” (15:4) is to offer comfort to the disciples in view of Jesus’s departure (13:1), and hope to the community as they retell the story after the destruction of the temple. The article focuses on two themes characteristic of the community’s identity awareness and implied ethos: holiness and love. These themes appear to draw on core notions from the Torah, particularly Leviticus 19.
Author Eben SchefflerSource: Neotestamentica 50, pp 131 –165 (Special Edition 2016)More Less
In his portrayal of Jesus in his Gospel, Luke (more than any other evangelist) emphasises the care for people in various situations of suffering and need (physical and psychological needs, poverty, political enmity, ostracism, guilt [regarding sin]). The purpose of this article is to probe to what extent these various needs are cared for in the book of Acts. It is concluded that the apostles are portrayed in Acts (similarly as in the Gospel) as indeed continuing to care for the needy (confirming the single authorship of Luke-Acts), though the focus on spreading the word and making converts appears to be more central. Furthermore, the book of Acts appeals to Christianity (ancient and modern) to similarly care for the needy in afflicted societies as the latter forms an integral part of Luke’s missionary vision to spread the gospel.
Author John N. SuggitSource: Neotestamentica 50, pp 133 –129 (Special Edition 2016)More Less
This article demonstrates that Luke, alone of the evangelists, deliberately did not mention the στέϕανος placed on Jesus’s head before his crucifixion, since the importance of his royal triumph could be acknowledged only after his resurrection and exaltation. It is therefore argued that Jesus’s real crown is to be seen in the witness of Jesus’s disciples as specially exemplified in Στέϕανος, the first Christian martyr.
Author Jan A. du RandSource: Neotestamentica 50, pp 167 –186 (Special Edition 2016)More Less
From theological and philosophical viewpoints living life can be described as a mystery, which intensifies when suffering or adversity unexpectedly strikes. The martyrs’ cry for justice in their suffering (Rev 6) sketches the typical situation of the mystery of theodicy. The penetrating question is not to dare giving a so-called “final” answer to this problem, but also not to shrink back as researcher to investigate the issue. The reality of human suffering has to be accepted. The sensitivity of the issue, narrated in the books of Job and Revelation, compels the researcher to be meticulously cautious and not to be too ambitious, particularly in drawing biblical and theological conclusions about God. After plotting different explanations to account for human suffering, the “why” question is theologically analysed. Coming to grips with the impact and hermeneutical functionality of divine mystery helps the researcher to get behind the mystery of divine theodicy. This is followed by the outcome of the research in the convergence of the function of divine mystery and theodicy in human suffering.
Author Paul B. DecockSource: Neotestamentica 50, pp 187 –211 (Special Edition 2016)More Less
This article explores the issue of the normativity of the Bible, particularly in view of the passages that are problematic from an ethical point of view: portraying the image of a violent God, the acceptance of slavery, the subordination of women. This question has become particularly pressing as a result of the historical-critical approach that aims at determining the original meaning of texts and limits this investigation to this historical meaning. While an examination of original and later historical meanings is crucial, the hermeneutical approach of Gadamer points to the need to recognise the specific horizon within which historians reconstruct the past. In this understanding the normative meaning of a text is not to be identified with a determinate and fixed original meaning of the past, but is the fruit of the ongoing interaction between understanding the meanings of the past and applying these to the present. The normative meanings emerge as present-day readers discern through all this an actualization that is “worthy of God” (Origen). Recalling the contributions by K. Stendahl, S. Schneiders, R. Bieringer, and J. Draper, together with a reflection on the Early Jewish and Christian approaches, opens fresh perspectives on an understanding of the normativity of the Bible in which the responsibility of the reader and of the reading communities is again more fully recognised.
Jesus and the Remains of His Day : Studies in Jesus and the Evidence of Material Culture, Craig A. EvansSource: Neotestamentica 50, pp 213 –216 (Special Edition 2016)More Less
This collection of revised and expanded essays by renowned Canadian NT scholar Craig A. Evans avoids the Scylla and Charybdis of undue scepticism and the odd mixture between naivety and sensationalism which often characterise the popular discussion of archaeology and early Christianity. Evans combines in a masterful way research on the historical Jesus with recent advances and discoveries in archaeology in the land of Israel. He aims at showing how “the remains of material culture clarify aspects of the world of Jesus and his first followers” (xiii) and how archaeological discoveries, used responsibly and carefully, make biblical writings come alive. The essays were written between 2005 and 2012. Three studies are published for the first time in this volume.
Author Llewellyn HowesSource: Neotestamentica 50, pp 216 –220 (Special Edition 2016)More Less
Most commentaries on the Gospel of Thomas are consumed with diachronic questions, like its redactional, compositional and tradition histories, the relationship of its individual logia to the Synoptic Gospels, and its value for historical Jesus studies. The current commentary by Gathercole is different, focusing rather on synchronic matters. The aim of the commentary is straightforwardly to determine the meaning of the various logia by interpreting the unified text in its final form. As such, the commentary is comparable to Harry T. Fleddermann’s masterful commentary on Q.
Author William R. DomerisSource: Neotestamentica 50, pp 220 –223 (Special Edition 2016)More Less
Henrichs-Tarasenkova is an adjunct instructor at the University of Portland (USA) and at Asbury Theological Seminary (USA). She completed her PhD at Brunel University (UK) under the guidance of Dr Joel Green and this book is an edited revision of that thesis. The entire study is a wonderful example of a consistent application of literary theory and exegesis to the narrative of Luke. In her opening chapter, Henrichs-Tarasenkova highlights what she considers to be one of the remaining challenges in the realm of Lukan Christology, namely the question of the divinity of Jesus. She points out that, since the writings of Conzelmann on the theology of Luke (in the 1950s), there has been marked reluctance, among scholars, to seek out signs of the divinity of Jesus in Luke-Acts. However, some scholars have chosen to swim against the stream, like Laurentin, Turner, Buckwalter, Fletcher-Louis, Rowe and Bauckham. In particular, she draws attention to Turner’s understanding of the Holy Spirit, in Luke and Acts, as a symbolic agent in the fusion of the identities of Jesus and Yahweh. Building on the work of these scholars, Henrichs-Tarasenkova sets out to do a close-reading of Luke (1–2) and Acts (2 and 14) comparing Luke’s characterisation of Yahweh, with his characterisation of Jesus. Throughout the work, one cannot fail to be impressed by the author’s attention to detail and her meticulous scholarship.
Author Dirk G. van der MerweSource: Neotestamentica 50, pp 223 –228 (Special Edition 2016)More Less
The Open Mind, with Jonathan Knight and Kevin Sullivan as editors, is a Festschrift in honour of Christopher Rowland, published in the series of the Library of New Testament Studies. It is a compendium of essays from former doctoral students and friends of Rowland. The one thing that they have in common is angels in the thought world of developing Christianity. The significance of Jewish contributions to the developing Christian ideology is critically assessed. The impact of original Jewish sources on the earliest Christian belief is evident.
Author Ernst R. WendlandSource: Neotestamentica 50, pp 228 –235 (Special Edition 2016)More Less
This book is the reformatted version of the author’s dissertation (PhD, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago), written under the direction of Prof. David Rhoads. Dr Britt currently serves as Adjunct Professor at United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio, and as Adjunct Professor at South University’s online Doctor of Ministry Program. The book consists of an “Introduction” to the study, its “Conclusions” from the viewpoint of the original text’s likely “performance,” and four methodological chapters, each of which explores the story of Jesus’s healing of the man born blind (John 9) from distinct, but interrelated perspectives: linguistic patterns (2), narrative structure (3), social-science criticism (4), and the text’s ironic, occasionally humorous implications (5). These narrative strategies are shown to have a clearly defined rhetorical purpose—one that coincides with the larger aim of the Gospel of John, as stated in 20:31: “So that you may trust that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and through trusting you may have life in his name.”
Author Pieter J.J. BothaSource: Neotestamentica 50, pp 236 –240 (Special Edition 2016)More Less
Jesus of Nazareth: Jew from Galilee, Savior of the World is divided into two parts: Part 1 (“Introduction”) consists of three chapters discussing historical, theoretical and methodological matters. Aspects of researching the historical Jesus, some key scholars, and methodology are analysed. Part 2 (“A Portrayal of Jesus”) is a presentation of Schröter’s historical Jesus in ten chapters, with a final chapter (ch. 14) discussing elements of the Wirkungsgeschichte of Jesus.
Source: Neotestamentica 50, pp 240 –243 (Special Edition 2016)More Less
In the present volume one of the senior figures of European NT studies addresses crucial issues in the study of the historical Jesus. He examines the methods and presuppositions applied in this quest, which are often more assumed than explicit. Wedderburn’s point of departure is the observation and claim by some that a decisive change in the understanding of historical knowledge and historical method has occurred or is occurring which abandons the assumptions of modernity and embraces postmodern notions of history. Against this backdrop, Wedderburn surveys major and/or representative contributions to the recent study of the historical Jesus in the hope that confronting historical theories and epistemologies with the concrete requirements and problems of this particular historical study of the life of Jesus may help to shed light on their strengths and weaknesses, particularly if one bears in mind the repeated lament that the theorists and philosophers are out of touch with the practice of historians. The theorists and philosophers, of course, reply by accusing the historians of a lack of reflection on what they are doing.