HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies

Published by AOSIS OpenJournals
Online ISSN: 2072-8050
Print ISSN: 0259-9422
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.
The article presents a literary and social-scientific analysis of the text of Psalm 101. The ideological purpose of the text seems to have been more than a mere declaration of intent made by someone about to ascend the throne. It also seems to have provided a code of conduct for an in-group of Yahweh worshippers, perhaps particularly so at a later stage of its usage. It uses royal and divine authority to demarcate the boundaries of that group and to establish a religious and social ethos for its members. Moral wholeness and social and religious integrity seem to have been the ideal characteristics of a member of this group of people whose existence is vindicated through this psalm.
Psalm 103: Praise is born in the crucible of lifePsalm 103 testifies to the believer’s experience of the love and mercy of God. The psalm teaches that believers should worship God for who He is and for what He has done. It is, however, important to note that the praise offered to God in Psalm 103 is not “cheap” praise, but praise born in the crucible of life. Christians also experience times of hardship and times of trouble. However, new birth and new life go hand in hand with the experience of pain. Difficult times thus become a birthplace for praise.
As is the case with Psalm 8a, Psalm 69:10a, also commences with the emphatic particle kî. 10a and 10b are syndetically bound together by means of the conjunction “and”. What has already been stated in cola 8ab, is repeated and even expressed in clearer terms in these cola (10ab). The supplicant does not believe that he deserves his present distress. Actually, the distress and insult he is enduring come as a direct result of his devotion to God and God’s service. Even his fasting and mourning contribute to his suffering (11a-12b). What becomes increasingly evident is the fact this inner-group conflict is caused by the temple, or rather the debate about the significance of the temple. The question that does indeed arise, is whether it is possible to situate these statements historically. This article will pursue a possible dating for this conflict that can form a possible background against which the reader of this text could interpret the statements contained in these cola (Ps 69:10ab).
In this article historical criticism, rhetorical criticism and ethnicity theory are combined to interpret Paul’s boasting about his ethnicity in 2 Corinthians 11:22. Partition theory helps to establish the historical/social context that 2 Corinthians 10-13 is a fragment of the “tearful letter,” which represented the low point (high conflict) of Paul’s relations with the Corinthians. Rhetoric – the theatrical “Fool’s Speech,” which contains irony, self-praise, and comparison – helps to understand Paul’s boastful argumentation in his selfdefence; and ethnicity theory helps to interpret Paul’s construction of his ethnic identity. Paul boasted of his ethnicity by taking up rhetorical comparison and self-praise. But he did so in the so-called “Fool’s Speech”, which is full of irony: his ethnic heritage was part of his argument that he was equal to that of his opponents, but – here is the chief irony – his ethnicity “in the flesh” ultimately meant nothing to him.
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.
On the basis of the demarcation of the book of Isaiah into three distinct literary units, scholarly opinion has ruled out the possibility that Isaiah 61:1-4 (5-9) 10-11 (as part of Trito-Isaiah) might be given the status of a so-called Servant Song along with the other group of “genuine” Servant Songs (Isa 42:1-4; 49:1-6; 50:4-1; 52:13-53:12, as part of Deutero-Isaiah). The paper argues that Isaiah 61 should be integrated with the other four Songs, bringing the number of the Songs of the Servant to five. Arguments to support the case include a profile of the figure in chapter 61 in relation to the one described in the first four Songs; the application of what may be called a “democratization” concept; the mediating function of the figure referred to in Isaiah 61, and the role of the literary structure of the eleven chapters of Isaiah 56-66.
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.
Forgiveness for the sake of YHWH’s Name (Ps 25:11) This article investigates the concept of divine forgiveness as illustrated in Psalm 25, especially verse 11. Psalm 25:11 is one of only four references in the Psalms where the Hebrew stem (forgive is found). Scholars agree that the petition for forgiveness in verse 11 forms the core or centre of the entire Psalm. This article will offer a possible answer to the following question: what motivates the supplicant to ask for forgiveness? In contrast to other forgiveness passages the Psalmist does not regard repentance or obedience as motivation for the petition. He rather emphasizes the fact that his sin is great (v 11b). The true motivation for this prayer for forgiveness lies in the Name and honor of YHWH (v 11a). He experienced YHWH as ’n faithful God in the past; therefore he has the courage and honesty to plea for forgiveness.
Psalm 129 is analysed as a poetic composition, as well as an ideological document. It was found that the social codes of honour and shame play an important role in what and how the psalm was supposed to communicate. It is described as an attempt to strengthen the cohesion and loyalty of an in-group of people living near or in Jerusalem. This group considers itself to be part of the people of Israel. Its members expect Yahweh to intervene on their behalf and to restore their (and his own) honour by shaming their enemies.
Ezekiel 13 forms part of a whole complex in the book of Ezekiel dealing with those prophetic voices challenged by the prophet Ezekiel. His audience paid no attention to his message and had expectations of a quick return from exile. These false expectations were bolstered by false prophets. The prophet unmasks their false-hood as part of an attempt to get the people to listen to his message aimed at repentance. This article explores the meaning of this crucial passage for contemporary South Africa.
Psalm 89:13a can be translated: “You created north and south.” However, it can also be translated as “Zaphon and Yemin you created,” In the former case the phrase is seen as an indication of the extensiveness of the earth. In the latter the translation points to the mythological form of the hymn section (Ps 89:2-19) in which it appears. This article chooses for the mythological alternative and substantiates this position from the northern toponyms used in the hymn and the hymn’s obvious mythological structure.
Various arguments are made about Paul’s 'Jewishness/ Judeanness' as a follower of Jesus Messiah, for example, that Paul essentially remained to be 'Jewish/Judean' and that he still fully operated in the world of 'Judaism'. These claims are investigated by answering three sets of questions derived from a proposed general model of ethnicity, which is developed with the help of cultural anthropology (ethnicity theory).How to cite this article: Cromhout, M., 2009, 'Paul's "former conduct in the Judean way of life" (Gal 1:13)…or not?' HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies 65(1), Art. #127, 12 pages. DOI: 10.4102/hts.v65i1.127
Psalm 136: A liturgy as remembrance and reenactment of God’s power in creation and historyPsalm 136 is a litany in which elements of the Israelite thanksgiving hymn give expression to the celebration of the character and deeds of Yahweh. In the cult of ancient Israel this poem has probably functioned as liturgy to express God’s power over and against all other powers in creation and in history. In a polemic manner it serves as a remembrance and re-enactment of the incomparable God’s power as the “God of gods” and the “Lord of lords”. The psalm has a unique composition and structure in the Psalter. It also reflects a variety of poetic features that serve as literary vehicles to enhance the psalm’s theological content. For the cultic Sitz im Leben a variety of possibilities exists where Psalm 136 could have functioned. Although it is difficult to exactly date the text, there are indications in the psalm that it could be dated back to the end of the fifth or to the beginning of the fourth century BCE.
The literal understanding of metaphoric language in Joshua 10:12-14In this article the well-known passage in Joshua 10:12-14 is critically investigated within the context of the pericope of Joshua 10. A literary critical investigation shows, inter alia, that the oldest version of the pericope probably was a heroic saga of Joshua’s campaign, with the miraculous intervention of YHWH having been “written into” the narrative at a later stage. During the latter process a poetic fragment, the original of which is lost to us, was interpreted literally, thus creating a miracle account. This miracle account serves the main focus of the pericope: YHWH alone makes possible the impossible for his people.
The goal of this article is to consider the literary-theological function of the hardening of the disciples’ hearts in Mark 8:14–21. The disciples are remarkably characterised by faithlessness, which is associated with hardness of their hearts. Although Mark uses the same language, ‘hardness of heart’, at different points in his Gospel to describe both Jesus’ opponents and the disciples, he nevertheless retains a distinction between the two groups. With regard to the opponents’ unbelief, the language means a divine judgement for their unbelieving rejection (cf. Mark 3:5–6). By contrast, when the language is used in relation to the disciples, it warns them (or the Markan readers) to beware of falling into the opponents’ unbelieving attitudes (6:52; 8:17–18).How to cite this article: Lee, S–H. & Van der Watt, J.G., 2009, ‘The portrayal of the hardening of the disciples’ hearts in Mark 8:14–21’, HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies 65(1), Art. #148, 5 pages. DOI: 10.4102/hts.v65i1.148
A structural analysis of Deuteronomy 14:1-21 indicates a well planned composition. A comparison with the same set of dietary regulations in Leviticus 11:2-20 indicates a process of literary growth in the Deuteronomy composition. An original list of land animals was extended into a literary unit on dietary regulations. A technique of inclusio was used in different literary layers to form thisunit and to include it in the Deuteronomic Code and eventually in the Pentateuch. Different theories on Pentateuchal growth are considered so as to understand the ethical meaning of these dietary regulations within this larger literary framework.
In modern Greek the word [foreign font omitted] means exclusively “to have sexual contact”, and not “to marry”. In his work Opera Minora Selecta: Epigraphie et antiquité grecques (Amsterdam, 1989, V, 417-421) the epigraphist Louis Robert shows that this special meaning of the word has to be assumed in a number of classical texts. On the basis of Robert’s study, this article discusses whether this meaning is also possible in the case of a number of New Testament texts (Lk 14:20; 17:27; Mk 12:25) and texts from Enoch, Philo, Athenagoras and especially Clement.
An eco-just evaluation of Psalm 148Eco-justness determines whether the earth and her inhabitants are treated in their own right as subjects, and not only as objects to be acted upon. At first glance it seems as if Psalm 148 is eco-just. The poet encompasses all of creation in this hymn of praise to Yahweh. However, it does not pass the test of eco-justness. Many (older) commentators go along with the male ideological thrust of the psalm, without questioning the maleness of Yahweh. The construct of Yahweh as the “super” male, symbolising Israel’s success as a nation, is not good news for eco-sensitivity and eco-responsibility. Female earth becomes very vulnerable within this shaping of society always aimed at serving male hegemony, values and interests. To uncritically reinscribe Psalm 148’s androcentric, ideological stance will simultaneously lead to an impoverishment and a one dimensional view of life in general.
Song of Songs, body and the mystic, St Teresa of Avila (1515 – 1582)In this article the interaction between an allegorical (tropological) understanding of the Song of Songs, the body and the internalized societal values of the sixteenth century Spanish mystic, St Teresa of Avila will be highlighted. Our bodies are central in our symbolizing activities and this confirms that we are (animated) bodies. St Teresa cannot escape her body, not even in the elevated spiritual state of the unio mystica, utilizing the words of love in the Song to voice the soul’s glowing love for Christ. The body’s “voice” is always present, in spite of her societal dualistic values of prioritising the spirit at the expense of the body and it even subtly enhances self-realisation. The repressed body always returns. The “text” of the body onto which is “written” societal values becomes an important source of exposing a society’s hidden ideologies.
The article explores Calvin's attitude to the Eucharistic controversy between Wittenberg and Zurich in the years up till Luther's death in 1546. The main source is Calvin’s letters from that period, which cast a differentiated light on his aims, hopes and disappointments on the question as well as on his relations to other leading Reformers. Account is also taken of several recent publications, which suggest revision of some long-standing views in Calvin scholarship.
This article presents a social-scientific interpretation of the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. Attention is first given to the history of the interpretation of the parable and to the integrity and authenticity of this interpretation. A social-scientific reading of the parable is then presented in terms of the strategy and the situation of the parable. In terms of the latter, the parable is read against the backdrop of an advanced agrarian (aristocratic) society in which patronage and clientism played an important role. Regarding the parable’s strategy, it is argued that the different oppositions in the parable serve to highlight their only similarity: those who have the ability to help do not help. The gist of the parable is that patrons who do not act like patrons create a society wherein a chasm so great between rich and poor is brought into existence that it cannot be crossed.How to cite this article: Van Eck, E., 2009, ‘When patrons are not patrons: A social-scientific reading of the rich man and Lazarus (Lk 16:19–26)’, HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies 65(1), Art. #309, 11 pages. DOI: 10.4102/hts.v65i1.309
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.
Matthew 28:16-20 is readily read as providing a key teaching about “mission.” Its teaching about mission – going, making disciples of all the nations, baptizing them, teaching them to obey Jesus’ commands – seems simple and clear enough. Yet, this article aims to deconstruct a Western reading of Mt 28:16-20. This is not in order to denounce the legitimacy of such an interpretation. Deconstructing the Western reading is important in order to help us to recognize that there are other equally legitimate and plausible interpretations, and therefore alternate understandings of its teaching about “mission.” In response to the cries of those who suffered from imperialist practices of mission, the article argues that we might want to choose one of the other practices of the mission, one characterized by a respect of the “others” and by a commitment to bringing them a news which will be really good for them.
Getting in and staying in – the “great commission” to the present-day church according to Matthew 28:16-20 In this article the phrases “getting in” and “staying in” relate to the technical term “covenantal nomism”. The article’s aim is to argue that this concept is radically redefined in the so-called “great commission” in Matthew 28:16-20. Inclusivity replaces ethnic exclusivism. This redefinition is applied to the well-being of the church and its spirituality in the present-day postmodern context. The article is specifically addressed to the members of the Nederduitsch Hervormde Church in South Africa. It challenges the traditional dichotomy between “insiders” and “outsiders” in missionary work. It advocates a way of thinking in terms of which “non-conformists” in so-called “churchless Christianity” are considered as being part of the “church on the other side”.
John 3:16 is probably the most popular and widely proclaimed proof-text for God’s love for all of humankind – the “world”. This interpretation of the verse is based on a meaning for which the Greek word cosmos can be used, but the word is used to denote many other meanings as well. The one interpretation of cosmos as “world” is then read into all instances where cosmos appears, including John 3:16. This position is held and defended by some in an almost fanatical manner by some. However, if this verse is exegetically considered in its primary context, the Fourth Gospel, it becomes clear that John 3:16 does not speak of God’s universal love of all of human kind. Far from it. The verse indeed has a completely different meaning.
“Do not hold me”: The meaning of [foreign font omitted] in John 20:17 The article demonstrates that the diverse iconographic interpretations of the resurrected Jesus’ demeanour to Mary Magdalene could be the result of ambiguity in Jesus’ words “Do not hold me” (in Latin: noli me tangere) in John 20:17. The article aims to investigate the original Greek of this expression by focusing on its philological and contextual meaning. It gives attention to the role that Mary Magdalene plays in the New Testament, the appearances of the resurrected Jesus in the New Testament, chapter 20 in John’s gospel as the context in which the words appear, and the meaning of these words.
This essay is an exegesis of Jn 17:6-8 aimed at gaining an understanding of what the Fourth Evangelist tries to emphasize and to communicate concerning the character and success of Jesus This essay is an exegesis of Jn 17:6-8 aimed at gaining an understanding of what the Fourth Evangelist tries to emphasize and to communicate concerning the character and success of Jesus’ earthly ministry. Firstly, a discourse analysis is conducted to point out the linguistic symmetric parallelism through which the Evangelist (1) emphasizes the success of Jesus’ ministry, (2) structures the principal components of Jesus’ ministry and the response of his disciples and (3) tries to explain the meaning of these components. Secondly, a theological exposition of these principal components is conducted, in respect of (1) Revelation: … (2) Obedience /Acceptance: … and (3) Faith: … () earthly ministry. Firstly, a discourse analysis is conducted to point out the linguistic symmetric parallelism through which the Evangelist (1) emphasizes the success of Jesus’ ministry, (2) structures the principal components of Jesus’ ministry and the response of his disciples and (3) tries to explain the meaning of these components. Secondly, a theological exposition of these principal components is conducted, in respect of (1) Revelation: … (2) Obedience / Acceptance: … and (3) Faith: … ()
The (Rain)bow after the deluge (Gen 9:12-17)The Hebrew word which is used for “rainbow” in Genesis 9:13,16 can also be translated as an archer’s “bow”. It is interesting to note that all the ancient writers used the latter meaning (“war bow”) in their interpretation of the Noah account, and not the meaning of “rainbow”. The ancients often depicted God as a warrior God who had a bow and shot arrows at those whom He wanted to punish. After God had punished the people for their sins, he hung up his bow. The bow in the clouds is without a bow string, and this is to remind the people that God is now at peace with them. In this article the prevalence of this interpretation in the ancient world, is shown. The writings of the Church Fathers are also scrutinized for their remarks on the (rain)bow. To conclude, the translation of this symbol in various Bible translations is also discussed.
Solitary in the Voortrekker community: Ascesis and religious experience in the theology of the Voortrekker woman Susanna Smit (1799-1863)An evaluation of Susanna Smit’s commitment to introspection, meditation and solitary contemplation necessarily has to be undertaken in the light of the major impact of the theological pietism of the Dutch Second Reformation on the Voortrekker community. Although the theological literature of the Dutch Second Reformation fundamentally influenced her views on these matters, the economic, political and ecclesiastical position in which she found herself also substantially contributed to her tendency towards solitary contemplation. The tendency to experiential ascesis is, however, not limited to the Dutch Second Reformation, and the impact of current economic and political factors on the church makes it essential, from an ecclesiastical point of view, to take note of the factors which contributed to the emphasis on mystical experiential theology. For this reason the diaries of the Voortrekker woman Susanna Smit are most illuminating and relevant.
The Irrglaube in Colossae: Worshipping of or with angels in Colossians 2:18?In this article, the Colossian heresy will be discussed. This is, however, a very troublesome epistle to use in any assessment of a Pauline theme, due to the uncertainty of who the author of Colossians could have been, as well as the unclear nature of the heresy in question. The majority of scholars are of the opinion that the false teachers in the congregation encouraged the worshipping of angels (cf. Col 2:18). As it will transpire from the discussion, this is indeed the case when this verse is read in an objective genitive sense. This investigative discussion will help us to discern what part angels played in certain religious circles in the early church (for example as mediators of revelation). The link between the ἀγγέλων in Colossians 2:18, and the στοιχείων τοῦ κόσμου in Colossians 2:20, will also be investigated. In Colossians, the author presents Jesus as the crucified, cosmic Christ (see Col 1:15–20), which will help us to understand the early Christian reaction to heresies such as this one in Colossae, and investigate the relationship between angelology and Christology.How to cite this article: Kok, J., 2010, ‘Die Irrglaube in Kolosse: Aanbidding van of met engele in Kolossense 2:18?’, HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies 66(1), Art. #765, 7 pages. DOI: 10.4102/hts.v66i1.765
The woman Wisdom, God, and ecojustice: Ideology of the body in Proverbs 8:1–9:18This article examines the ideology of the body, specifically in terms of the gender of Wisdom and God, from an ecojustice perspective. Femininity within a God construct could contribute to a value system that incorporates compassion, interrelatedness and mutual care. In Proverbs 8:1–9:18, however, the woman Wisdom does not represent an ecofriendly construct, but simply enhances and supports the patriarchal, masculine values incorporated in the God Yahweh.How to cite this article: Venter, Philip P., ‘Die vrou Wysheid, God, en ekobillikheid: Liggaamsideologie in Spreuke 8:1–9:18’, HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies 65(1), Art. #306, 7 pages. DOI: 10.4102/hts.v65i1.306
Monolatric-monotheistic perspectives in the Psalms: Concept for a theological construct from Exodus 15:1b-18This article proposes a theological concept from Exodus 15:1b-18 for the monolatric-monotheistic discussion in the Psalms. After some introductory per-spectives on the monotheism debate in general a few themes are identified from Exodus 15. These include themes such as of the incomparability of Yahweh, His kingship as well as the exclusivity of Yahweh’s existence and the theme of worshipping him. Finally, the praise of Yahweh as God of the gods forms the climax for this theological construct. The concept is then proposed as basis for the monolatric-monotheistic discussion in the psalms.
The prominence of Romans 1:18-32 in the gay-debate is the subject of various and wide-ranging opinions as far as the most adequate interpretation of this passage. This contribution puts the debate about the text into perspective by surveying some recent alternative opinions on its meaning. It is established that two particular matters are most important in Romans 1:18-32 and the past and current debate on its interpretation: the argument according to “nature” and the nature of the infringement or error (Rm 1:27).
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.
Jac van Belkum (1851-1933): An “intermediary” theologian of the Dutch Reformed ChurchIn this article the theological accents of Reverend Jac van Belkum (1851-1933), minister of the Nederduitsch Hervormde Kerk van Afrika from 1891 until his retirement, are evaluated. By means of an comparison between central themes of the theological mainstreams in the 19th century Netherlands and Van Belkum’s theological accents, the article argues that Van Belkum cannot be regarded as an adherent of the mainstream theological traditions, that is the “ethical” or the “confessional”, but must be regarded as an intermediary figure.
This study focuses on the hermeneutical theory of the Russian Orthodox theologian Fr. Sergius Bulgakov (1871-1944). It singles out the basic principles of that theory for discussion. The following principles are considered: the nature of the Bible; the role of the Holy Spirit in biblical interpretation; tradition as a hermeneutical principle; ecclesiastical reading; the actualisation of Scripture in personal and corporate life, and the scope and limitations of scientific-critical inquiry. An understanding of these fundamental tenets of Bulgakov’s hermeneutics is vital to a proper appreciation of Eastern Orthodoxy’s hermeneutical approach to the Bible.
The inclusion of ‘all nations’ as the mission target in the Ultimate Commission of Matthew 28:19 somehow comes as a surprise. The Gentiles seem to have been excluded from Jesus’ and his disciples’ mission in two passages (10:5–6; 15:24). In an attempt to establish the target group of the great commandment, this article investigates the meaning of the phrase *[foreign font omitted] used in 28:19 and subsequently the literary contexts of the commandment.How to cite this article: Lee, K. & Viljoen, F.P., 2010, ‘The target group of the Ultimate Commission (Matthew 28:19)’, HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies 66(1), Art. #184, 5 pages. DOI: 10.4102/hts.v66i1.184 *We apologise for the omission of the foreign font in this abstract. Please consult the online PDF to view the foreign font as it should be displayed in the text.
This article analyses Karl Barth’s 1919 Tambach lecture on “The Christian in society” in the context of post World War I Europe. After describing Barth’s early life and his move away from liberal theology, the five sections of the Tambach lecture are analysed. Barth’s early dialectical theology focussed on: Neither secularising Christ nor clericalising society; Entering God’s movement in society; Saying Yes to the world as creation (regnum naturae); Saying No to evil in society (regnum gratiae); respecting God’s reign as beyond our attempts (regnum gloriae).
Karl Barth saw in natural theology a threat to the church of Christ. He was convinced that the so-called “German Christians” under the influence of the National Socialist Party practised natural theology. He advocated the need for the church of Christ to be church according to the Word of God. The church can be true church of Christ when it listens to and obeys the true calling of God. Barth’s critique of an exclusive “Volkskirche” can serve as a corrective for the definition of the Nederduitsch Hervormde Kerk as a “volkskerk”.
The Second World War was in many ways a watershed in African social and political development. Drafted by their colonial rulers into fighting for world democracy and freedom, Africans were inspired with determination to achieve this same goal for them. The ensuing struggle against colonialism eventually led to the independence of most sub-Saharan African countries in the 1960’s. Following on the heels of the Second World War came the collapse of the whole colonial system. The only remaining factor in the liberation process was South Africa, which withdrew from the British Commonwealth in 1961 because of criticism of its apartheid policy and only became a full democracy in 1994. Because of the fact that the former colonial world was located in the southern hemisphere, the confrontation took on a north-south character. Mainline churches in post independent Africa responded in different ways to this changing configuration of the world, and in spite of secularizing trends and the resurgence of rival religions they remained as major players in the world stage.
In 1978 Michel Foucault went to Iran as a distinguished intellectual but novice political journalist, controversially reporting on the unfolding revolution, undeniably compromising and wounding his reputation in the European intellectual community. Given the revolution’s bloody aftermath and its violent theocratic development, is Foucault’s Iranian expedition simply to be understood as hamartia, a critical error in judgement, with disastrous consequences for his legacy? What exactly did Foucault hope to achieve in Iran in 1978 to 1979, explicitly supporting the cause of the revolting masses and effectively isolating himself from the European intellectual community and the Western liberal tradition? This series of two articles attempts to shed light on these questions by, in the first article, 1) introducing and contextualising the philosophical issues and 2) discussing the relevant texts; then, in the second article, 3) elaborating on three explicit contributions (Janet Afary and Kevin Anderson; Ian Almond; and Danny Postel) that recently have been made on this neglected issue in Foucault scholarship and 4) eventually indicating the possible philosophical signifi cance of Foucault’s peculiar mixture of naïveté and perceptivity – indeed his peculiar hamartia – regarding the events in Iran. Presenting Foucault as a ‘self-conscious Greek in Persia’, the argument in both articles is that Foucault’s ‘present-historical’ writings on the Iran revolution were closely related to his general theoretical writings on the discourses of power and his cynical perspectives on the inherent risks of modernity. Foucault’s journalistic writings on Iran in 1978 to 1979 are therefore to be appreciated as essentially philosophical contributions to his extensive modern-critical oeuvre. Foucault’s perspectives on power, revolt, Otherness, ‘political spirituality’ and his ‘ethics of Self-discomfort’ may prove to be as significant for an understanding of our world today as the author considers them to have been during the events of September 1978 to April 1979, with Tehran’s self-esteem still radiating in the desert skies 30 years later.How to cite this article: Beukes, J., 2009, ‘Hamartia: Foucault and Iran 1978–1979 (1: Introduction and texts)’, HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies 65(1), Art. #124, 15 pages. DOI: 10.4102/hts.v65i1.124
Against the backdrop of the introduction and analysis of Foucault’s Iran writings in the first of two articles, this second article attempts to contribute to an understanding of Foucault’s involvement in the revolution in Iran (1978–1979) by 1) employing the concluding suggestions in the first article as premises for 2) an analysis of three explicit contributions (Janet Afary and Kevin Anderson, Ian Almond, and Danny Postel) that have been made recently on this traditionally neglected issue in Foucault scholarship, 3) and, via the notion of an ‘ethics of Self-discomfort’, arguing for an acknowledgement of the philosophical significance of Foucault’s involvement in Iran and his writings from that period.How to cite this article: Beukes, J., 2009, ‘Hamartia: Foucault and Iran 1978-1979 (2: Scholarship and significance)’, HTS Teologiese Studies/ Theological Studies 65(1), Art. #125, 10 pages. DOI: 10.4102/hts.v65i1.125
The dimensions “unity” and “catholicity” in the ecclesiology of the Netherdutch Reformed Church since Ottawa 1982 This article examines the current ecclesiology of the Netherdutch Reformed Church of Africa (NHKA) with reference to the extent to which the church understands unity and catholicity as biblical indicatives and imperatives. The article argues that the church’s understanding of unity and catholicity is prejudiced and influenced by the prominence the church awards to the tenet of an ethnic “peoples church” (“volkskerk”). This has lead to the NHKA’s ecumenical isolation. It is hence argued that the abolition of the church’s “ethnic church theology” will result in the abolition of its ecumenical isolation and will enable the NHKA to confess anew with the “church of all ages”, the “one, holy, apostolic and catholic Church”.
This paper examines the attempt by Richard Burridge in his recent book, Imitating Jesus: An inclusive approach to New Testament ethics (2007), to build an engaged Christian ethics starting with the historical Jesus but taking full account of the insights into the perspectives of the four gospels in their own right, based on their genre as Greek bioi. While Burridge’s approach is applauded and regarded as a major step forward, it is critiqued here on his selectivity in his presentation of the results of two decades of research into the Jesus of history. Burridge’s selection of the South African experience in the struggle against apartheid as his ‘test case’ is also questioned, since the issues in such struggles for justice appear more straightforward to outsiders than they do to insiders and his analysis raises more questions than it answers.How to cite this article: Draper, J.A., 2009, ‘Imitating Jesus, yes – but which Jesus? A critical engagement with the ethics of Richard Burridge in Imitating Jesus: An inclusive approach to New Testament ethics (2007)’, HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies 65(1) Art. #164, 5 pages. DOI: 10.4102/hts.v65i1.164
The Church Reformation of the sixteenth century provided an important stimulus to the academic training of ministers at universities. The origin of some of Europe’s oldest universities is closely associated with faculties of theology. In some instances universities grew from the early beginnings of a theological faculty. The past hundred years of history of the University of Pretoria (UP) also reflects something of this close partnership between theological training and a university. The Netherdutch Reformed Church of Africa (NHKA) has been part of UP ever since the establishment of a faculty of theology at this university in 1917. Opsomming: Die Kerkhervorming van die sestiende eeu was ‘n belangrike stimulus vir akademies- universitêre opleiding van predikante. Die ontstaan van die oudste universiteite in Europa is ten nouste verweef met teologiese fakulteite. In sommige gevalle het universiteite gegroei vanuit ’n aanvanklike teologiese fakulteit. Die honderd jaar se geskiedenis van die Universiteit van Pretoria (UP) reflekteer ook iets van die verbondenheid van teologiese opleiding met UP. Van die honderd jaar was die Nederduitch Hervormde Kerk van Afrika (NHKA), vanaf die vestiging van ‘n teologiese fakulteit in 1917, verbonde aan die Universiteitvan Pretoria.
Statistics tell a story: A vision for the Hervormde Kerk on its way to 2010The aim of this article is to draw the outline of the “story” of the Hervormde Kerk by means of empirical research. Results drawn from statistics, both worldwide and local, combined with responses to a questionnaire survey within the Hervormde Kerk, point to certain characteristics and trends within the church. The article concludes with a vision for the church, on account of empirical and theological considerations.
Reading the Gospel of Matthew from the perspective of postcolonial theory means taking the context of the Gospel seriously. The political and religious circumstances of Palestine under Roman colonization influenced Matthean redaction. From a this perspective, it can be argued that Matthew presents Jesus as a revolutionary leader whose divine mission was to challenge and overthrow the Roman empire and its local collaborators on behalf of the poor, the powerless, the afflicted, the hungry and the outcasts. His mission was to replace existing power structures with the universal, just and powerful kingdom of heaven on earth. The article argues that the story of the Canaanite woman (Mt 15:21-28) falls into this reality. She negotiates justice and righteousness on behalf of her demon-possessed daughter. Seen from the perspective of Jesus’ Beatitudes in Matthew (5:3-6), her encounter with Jesus helps him discover the wider scope of his healing mission, beyond geopolitical and cultural boundaries.
'New wine in new skins and the conservation of both': Rethinking the identity of the Hervormde Church at the beginning of the 21st centuryThis contribution consists of three sections. The first represents a homiletic speech that served as the inauguration address of the “National Colloquium” of the Nederduitsch Hervormde Church in April 2006. The second is a memorandum aimed at describing the church’s identity, ethos and relevance in the present-day South African context. This memorandum was initially compiled by the author, sanctioned by the church’s executive council and endorsed at the “National Colloquium”. The third section represents the Colloquium’s final declaration of intent based upon the memorandum.
For the modern reader the logion ‘The eye is the lamp of the body’ is puzzling. While most scholars concur that it has something to do with greed and envy, they often fail to explain this correlation between inner attitudes and the physical eye. In this article I argue that the meaning of this passage can only be understood when read according to the ancient understanding of vision. It is important to interpret the genitive in the phrase Ὁ λύχνος τοῦ σώματός ἐστιν ὁ ὀφθαλμός as the ancient hearer or reader would have done.How to cite this article: Viljoen, F.P., 2009, ‘A contextualised reading of Matthew 6:22–23: “Your eye is the lamp of your body”’, HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies 65(1), Art. #152, 5 pages. DOI: 10.4102/hts.v65i1.152
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