Scielo RSS <![CDATA[HTS Theological Studies]]> vol. 73 num. 3 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Challenges facing the ministerial formation in Uniting Presbyterian Church in Southern Africa: A critical reflection</b>]]> Following the union of the Presbyterian Church of Southern Africa (PCSA) and Reformed Presbyterian Church in Southern Africa (RPCSA) to form the Uniting Presbyterian Church in Southern Africa (UPCSA) in 1999, it was necessary to consolidate theological education of a united church. This was a wise and bold decision by UPCSA, as a first attempt to integrate the training of both black and white students, but more importantly to give institutional expression to the advancement of unity. University of Pretoria (UP) became a major training centre of the UPCSA. Collaboration in ministerial formation between UPCSA and UP, its partner institution, has been plagued by manifold challenges. The challenges which will come under the spotlight are ecumenism, relationship between the university and the UPCSA, curriculum and spirituality. <![CDATA[<b>Mystifying moments in Bible interpretation: An exploration of some implied backgrounds to three kinds of unusual Bible readings</b>]]> This contribution is part of a series on Methodology and Biblical Spirituality. In this, the fourth contribution, the scope is widened; more practical-analytically oriented, three thoroughly different but nevertheless all unusual kinds of interpretations of the Bible are described, characterised and contextualised. Namely: • In order to explain what are perceived as textual anomalies, some Old Testament authors have been described by US-based medical practitioners as having suffered psychiatric dysfunctions. • The Garden of Eden from Genesis 2 and further has been located by a recently diseased Nigerian scholar as having been in her home country, with a Nigerian race having been the predecessors of biblical Adam and Eve. • Rastafarians, primarily Jamaica-based, regard marijuana as a holy herb and find direct support for their religious use of this plant in the Bible. However strange such 'mystifying' interpretations may seem within the theological mainstreams of Judeo-Christianity, there is more to these kinds of interpretations than simple whim. Certain cultural conditions along with personal, particularly spiritual, commitments enable these interpretations, which must be taken seriously in order to come to a fuller understanding of the text-interpreter dynamic. These then can cast at least some form of reflective light on the more usual current biblical-interpretative mainstreams within Judeo-Christianity, posing in a new light the question of what constitutes legitimate interpretations, also within mainstream interpretations, as religiously inclined people try to live their lives in the light of Scripture. <![CDATA[<b><i>Hilasterion</i></b><b> and imperial ideology: A new reading of Romans 3:25</b>]]> Paul uses the hapax legomenon ίλαστήριον in Romans 3:25. Pauline scholars have discussed the background for Paul's use of the word, whether from the LXX, Second Temple practice or pagan inscriptions. Two altars were found in the Asian city of Metropolis in the early 1990s with the dedication Καίσαρος ἱλαστηρίου. This article discusses their discovery, the history of Metropolis and the possible relationship of Paul to the city. It explores the date of the erection of the altars by establishing a viable sitz im leben early in the reign of Augustus. It then traces the semantic history of the ίλαστήριον and attempts to establish its possible meaning within Pauline theology. Finally, the question whether ίλαστήριον should be added to the vocabulary of imperial ideology in Paul's writings is addressed. <![CDATA[<b>Lewensbeskoulike aspekte in die openbare standpunte van twee presidente</b>]]> The last two presidents of the Zuid-Afrikaansche (South African) Republic (1852-1902) and the Republic of the Orange Free State (1852-1902), S.J.P. Kruger and M.T. Steyn, both stood in the tradition of the Christian Afrikaner. Kruger as the symbol of Afrikaner republicanism in the 19th century and Steyn as a younger and more modern Afrikaner, tried to base their policies openly and clearly on Biblical and Christian principles. Kruger as a member and recognised minister of the Reformed Churches in South Africa formulated his views in a typical Dutch neo-Calvinistic way, while Steyn used Reformed concepts combined with his academic background in jurisprudence and the law of nations to foster the same ideas. Kruger and Steyn trusted one another, agreed on core issues and worked together rather well. Each strived to maintain the independence of his republic. <![CDATA[<b>The role of spirituality as a coping mechanism for South African traffic officers</b>]]> Traffic officers are faced with many stressful situations, yet each traffic officer might cope differently with these stressors. Spirituality is regarded as an essential defence in stressful situations. Therefore, this article provides a basic framework guiding traffic officers and practitioners, on how spirituality can be used as a coping mechanism when faced with various work-related stressors. An interpretative, qualitative study was conducted utilising purposive sampling in which 10 traffic officers participated in in-depth interviews. In line with the interpretive paradigm, data were analysed using content analysis. The research findings indicate when utilising spirituality to various degrees in their workplace, traffic officers displayed adaptive coping capabilities. Traffic officers associated less spirituality or a lack thereof with weaker coping capability. Furthermore, spirituality in traffic officers is informed by their spiritual or religious foundation, their purpose in work and life, their connection to a spiritual source, and the fruits of spirituality. The coping ability of traffic officers is influenced by their upbringing and background, by stressors in their work environment and by their coping mechanisms. The role of spirituality in the coping of traffic officers culminated in their ability to interpret the meaning of spirituality, and then implementing spirituality as a coping mechanism. <![CDATA[<b>Conceptualising holiness in the Gospel of John: The mode and objectives of holiness (part 1)</b>]]> This article investigates the code of holiness as well as the objectives of holiness in the Gospel of John. The en route to holiness will be dealt with in a following article, 'Conceptualizing holiness in the Gospel of John: the en route to holiness and the character of holiness (Part 2)'. In the Gospel of John, the holiness of the trinity constitutes the theological environment for the code of holiness and forms the basis for the exhortation to holiness. The code of holiness is described in the light of the interaction of three levels of relationships: the unity between Father and the Son as the example of holiness, the unity between Jesus and the disciples as the basis for holiness and the unity among the disciples as the inducting objective for holiness. For the Fourth Evangelist, the objective of holiness is fourfold: The first objective is to constitute a unity among the followers of Jesus (17:20-23), although it is not explicitly defined in this context. The second objective refers to the preparation of Jesus' disciples to continue Jesus' mission. The third objective for holiness is that the world (ὁ κόσμος) may believe (πιστεύῃ) and may know (γινώσκῃ) that God has sent his Son (ὅτι σύ με ἀπέστειλας) (17:20-23). The fourth and the ultimate objective is the glorification of God (17:4). <![CDATA[<b>'</b><b>... Earth's proud empires pass away</b><b>…': The glorification and critique of power in songs and hymns of Imperial Britain</b>]]> Songs and hymns shape faith and play a part in shaping political landscapes. They can be used to build or maintain power as well as to critique and challenge it. This has been true for South Africa, and some brief examples will be given. But this article focuses on hymns and patriotic songs from the time of the British Empire and explores how they portray power, entrench superiority or build a common, global Christian identity. <![CDATA[<b>Is Psalm 104 an expression (also) of dark green religion?</b>]]> Bron Taylor defines dark green religion as follows: '… a deep sense of belonging to and connectedness in nature, while perceiving the earth and its living systems to be sacred and interconnected'. Can Psalm 104, with its conspicuous focus on nature, also be described as an expression of dark green religion? Utilising especially the dark green values of belonging, interconnectedness and sacredness, it was found that the psalm aptly confirms Earth as home, illustrates a deep-seated kinship with other living creatures and acknowledges nature as intrinsically worthy or sacred through its close association with God. Of the four kinds of dark green religion, Gaian Naturalism and Naturalistic Animism ('Darwinist', naturalist view), Gaian Spirituality and Spiritual Animism (supernaturalist view), the psalm belongs to the last-mentioned, acknowledging Yahweh as upholding and 'permeating' the harmonious whole of creation. The poet is, however, also well informed of 'natural' knowledge of his environment (for his time obviously). The psalm's joy, awe, astonishment, humility and fear (to a limited extent), being almost overwhelmed by awesome nature, are emotions that can also be shared by adherers to the naturalist view, those who doubt if there is some spiritual world running parallel to the natural world. The religious-like experience of naturalists provides common ground with the religious and enhances a much-needed change of view of respect towards nature. <![CDATA[<b>The tripartite structure and its design in a Tannaitic source</b>]]> This article deals with a tripartite structure applied to a Tannaitic source (Eruvin 41b). This structure is designed in the form of a difficulty and a short resolution, bringing one example for each of the three parts of the Tannaitic source. The uniform formative-stylistic phrasing gives the discussion of the Tannaitic source's three parts a tripartite form. The Tannaitic source utilises a chaining of examples from the first to the second part and from the second to the third part. <![CDATA[<b>Healing and coping with life within challenges of spiritual insecurity: Juxtaposed consideration of Christ's sinlessness and African ancestors in pastoral guidance</b>]]> Spiritual insecurity among African Christians is a huge challenge. The insecurity among other things arises from African people's former traditional African ancestral world view of ancestral veneration. The ancestors promote or hinder African Christians' reliance on Christ because they have presupposedly acquired the supernatural power that enables them to provide diagnoses and solutions to life challenges. The inherent problem in the ancestral world view, however, is that the ancestors are both respected and feared by their descendants because they can either bless or harm depending on the state of the relationship between the surviving human beings and the ancestors. The basis of the unpredictable influence of ancestors lies in the fact that they (ancestors) are considered as human beings who carry their human qualities to the spiritual world. In light of this situation, one constructive approach that can be advanced to address the challenges of African Christians' spiritual insecurity is a proper understanding of Christ as a sinless representative of humanity. This approach maintains that healing and coping with life within the challenge of African spirituality in the context of threatening life issues can be addressed by an appropriate understanding of Christ's sinlessness. The article argues for the foundational status of Christ as a sinless representative of humanity as the controlling framework. In doing so, Christ's sinlessness and the sinfulness of natural ancestors are juxtaposed to compare the two ontologies in order to draw some pastoral guidelines for African Christians. This approach pays close attention to the factors and mindset that sustain people who adhere to ancestral worship and assess them through a lens of Christology focusing on Christ's sinlessness as an exemplary doctrine. <![CDATA[<b>Understanding sexuality from the security gospel perspective: Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries as a case study</b>]]> This article examines a new dimension in the Nigerian Pentecostal understanding of sexuality, which is influenced by the security gospel emanating from Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries in Nigeria. This new dimension is noted in how Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries intricately connects sexuality with destiny. This article shows how Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries promotes a conservative understanding of sexuality as the key to securing believers' destinies. Understanding sexuality from the security gospel perspective is an indication that the Pentecostal theology of sex is dynamic and ambivalent, especially when the theology is spiced with African traditional beliefs. This is demonstrated through a content analysis of the teachings and messages of Pastor Daniel Olukoya, the founder of Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries, which are available in print, audio and video clips. It is argued that the persuasive manner in which these teachings are presented tends to create a phobia of sex in the minds of listeners. <![CDATA[<b>Has evolution 'prepared' us to deal with death? Paleoanthropological aspects of the enigma of <em>Homo naledi's</em> disposal of their dead</b>]]> The Homo naledi discovery introduced questions that had not been previously posed regarding fossil finds. This is because, apart from their fascinating physiology, they seemingly deliberately disposed of their dead in a ritualised way. Although this theory may still be disproved in future, the present article provisionally accepts it. This evokes religious questions because it suggests the possibility of causal thinking, wilful and cooperative behaviour, and the possibility that this behaviour entails traces of proto-religious ideas. This poses the challenge to develop a hominin hermeneutics that endeavours to reconstruct the possible motivation behind this action. The relatively larger brain with its enlarged Broca's area suggests the possibility of a sophisticated communication system and an enhanced way of dealing with emotion. We know that almost all life forms have some form of awareness and that more sophisticated degrees of consciousness may be present in the higher primates. Various 'clues' are investigated to try and understand the H. naledi phenomenon: lessons from chimpanzee studies, the implications of tool making for hominin development, the possibility of a proto-language and the role symbol formation may have played. The H. naledi case also indicates on a theological level that religion is natural. Some attention is given to this thesis. Biological and environmental factors come into play to illuminate biological factors like emotion and higher cognition without which religion would not be possible. Sophisticated cognition is coloured by affect (basic emotions are typical of all mammals) and this makes some form of reflection on the fate of loved ones who have died a strong possibility. <![CDATA[<b>Exploring the role of the church as a 'reformation agency' in enhancing a socially transformative agenda in South Africa</b>]]> International political, social, economic and religious developments influence how local communities operate. The South African church society is influenced by such developments taking place globally and which clearly influence how local churches function. This article explores the role of the contemporary church as a 'reformation agency' in enhancing a socially transformative agenda in South Africa. A qualitative research approach - an interpretative phenomenology design - was employed to negotiate a shared understanding through conversation and intersubjective meaning-making with church ministers, with the primary focus being their subjective experience of the changing role of the church in enhancing a transformative agenda in a South African context. A purposive sampling (n = 6) consisted of local church leaders who participated in the face-to-face and telephonic semi-structured interviews to achieve the purpose of the study. The findings clearly show that deliberate and intentional actions by churches allow them to become a voice for the marginalised, to create spaces for searching for excellence and to increase the quality of servant leadership, all as vehicles for transforming church society. Furthermore, servant leadership is a social phenomenon, a philosophy-in-practice aimed at leading by example to achieve a common goal. To accomplish this, church ministers are required to spearhead the challenge as a prerequisite to creating 'lived experienced' opportunities for members as an inward-outward spiritual journey. Finally, church leaders believed that transformation is a secular dimension, but that it can also be aligned towards God's redemption plan and enhancing a socially just transformation agenda. Ultimately, this study proposed several recommendations to allow the local church to be relevant in practicing and promoting stronger unity and reconciliation amongst all churches nationally and globally. <![CDATA[<b>Some recent responses to neoliberalism and its views on education</b>]]> This article is about developments that are on the rise in response to the global hegemony of the neoliberal approach to life in general and education in particular. After an outline of what neoliberalism entails and how it has impacted education, the discussion moves on to an outline of several of these new developments that are seemingly unrelated but at the deepest level seem to be critical of neoliberalism and its views about education. This is followed by a critical appraisal of these new developments. The appraisal, executed along the guidelines of the social space and ethical function theory, shows that these new developments, although they suggest a number of important corrections regarding neoliberalism and its views on education, are in themselves one-sided and narrow. It is nevertheless important for educators and educationists to take account of such new developments that are in the process of changing our view of the world. <![CDATA[<b>Pentecostal talk about God: Attempting to speak from experience</b>]]> Pentecostals have their own ethos to bring to the theological table. Although they represent a diverse spectrum of beliefs, they share a basic preference for experience co-determining their theology, along with their interpretation of Scripture. Their hermeneutical viewpoint since the 1970s that links them with that of early Pentecostals allows them to regard the Bible as the inspired Word of God with authority for their lives although they qualify that statement by adding that encounters with God within the faith community in ways similar to those recorded in the Bible is conditional for understanding and interpreting biblical accounts of God and God's faith community. It is proposed that Pentecostals need to develop a perspective on the all-inclusive difference made by their experience of God in all areas of their lives. Their experience of God through his Spirit shifts their loci communes and theological method. It is argued that Pentecostal theology should rethink every aspect of theological enterprise through the lens of the reality of God's encounter with human beings as experienced in the faith community. In the last section, this is demonstrated in terms of one subject, of God as the object of theology. <![CDATA[<b>Reading Hebrews through Akan ethnicity and social identity</b>]]> The Akan people of Ghana have concepts of ethnicity and social identity which are similar to those found in the Mediterranean world, which find expression in the issues addressed in the letter to the Hebrews. This similarity makes the reading of Hebrews in light of Akan ethnicity and social identity possible, giving one the expected meaning from the perspective of those concepts as within the original context of the audience. This article therefore discusses some theories on ethnicity and social identity as well as the Akan people of Ghana and their concepts of ethnicity and social identity. It further explains the social context of the letter of Hebrews against which Hebrews is then read in light of Akan ethnicity and social identity. The focus of this reading is on how the ethnic identity of the readers presented in Hebrews enhances the social identity of the readers and provides the means by which the author's appeal to his readers for their faithfulness to God becomes meaningful and urgent. <![CDATA[<b>Ethnic reasoning in social identity of Hebrews: A social-scientific study</b>]]> Ethnicity reasoning offers one way of looking at social identity in the letter to the Hebrews. The context of socio-economic abuse and hardships of the audience creates a situation in which ethnicity in social identity becomes an important issue for the author of Hebrews to address. This article is a social-scientific study which explores how the author establishes the ethnic identity of the audience as people of God. While this ethnic identity indicates the more privileged position the readers occupy in relation to the benefits of God accessible to them, it also provides the author with the appropriate social institutions and scripts by which his demand for appropriate response to God and the Christian group becomes appreciable and compelling. The article involves the definition of social-scientific criticism, ethnicity and social identity, and discusses the social context of the letter to the Hebrews. It then explains how some social scripts within specific ethnic institutions give meaning to the demands the author makes from his readers. <![CDATA[<b>Towards a metamodern academic study of religion and a more religiously informed metamodernism</b>]]> The academic study of religion has long enjoyed a variety of philosophies and methodologies. A new entrant to this list has now arisen: metamodernism. This article examines the claims of metamodernism and makes an initial attempt to relate it to the academic study of religion, both in its guise as Religious Studies and, more tentatively, as the Theological sciences. Metamodernism, with its emphasis on oscillation and simultaneity, shows great promise as an explanatory framework to understand certain current religious developments, such as the 'Spiritual but not Religious' phenomenon. It may also assist in creating a growing convergence between the various branches of the academic study of religion. <![CDATA[<b>The causes and nature of the June 2016 protests in the City of Tshwane: A practical theological reflection</b>]]> South Africa has recently experienced a series of public protests. The common element is that violence is becoming evident in these protests. This article uses the June 2016 protests in the city of Tshwane as an example to address the root causes of such protests. On 20 June 2016, the African National Congress (ANC) announced that the city of Tshwane mayoral candidate for the 3 August 2016 municipal elections in South Africa is the former public works minister and ANC National Executive Committee member, Thoko Didiza. Consequently, public protests in the city of Tshwane emerged immediately after this announcement. These public protests were very violent, such as protesters killed one another, burned buses, looted shops and barricaded roads. The root causes of these violent protests are identified as factionalism, tribalism, sexism, economic exclusion and patronage politics. The purpose of this article is a practical theological reflection on the root causes of June 2016 protests in the city of Tshwane. The main aim of this article is a practical theological solution to the general problem of violent protests. <![CDATA[<b>The experiences of African Roman Catholic Church seminarians</b>]]> This qualitative study describes and interprets the lived experiences of African Roman Catholic Church seminarians (priests-in-training). The interpretive lens employed was world view, a conceptual tool extensively used in African-centred psychology. Sixteen African seminarians (age range 21-31 years) were purposely selected and interviewed in depth. Additional sources of data were reflexive notes and observation notes. Data were subjected to various iterative cycles of analysis. Participants described their difficulty in adjusting in the seminaries where teaching and living predominantly reflects a Western world view. They evidenced cognitive dissonance, emotional discomfort and feelings of marginalisation. The findings point to the importance of acknowledging the world views and cultural heritage of seminarians in their training. <![CDATA[<b>The end of Mission Councils: A case study of the Church of Scotland South Africa Joint Council, 1971-1981</b>]]> This article will investigate why Mission Councils continued to exist for so long after the so-called autonomous churches were established in South Africa following the upsurge of Ethiopian and other types of African initiated churches at the close of the 19th century in opposition to the European sending churches. It will also examine how the emerging Partnership in Mission policy affected the process of integration of church and mission. Using the closing years of the Church of Scotland South African Joint Council (1971-1981) as a case study, the author examines primary sources to uncover the exercise of power demonstrated through racism manifested in the disposition of personnel, property and finance to control the development of authentic autonomy. <![CDATA[<b>The ambivalence of ritual in violence: Orthodox Christian perspectives</b>]]> This article demonstrates that ritual plays an ambivalent role in the interaction between religion and violence. Ritual triggers and gives meaning to violence, or it enforces peace and coexistence. The first part of the article defines the ambivalence of ritual in the context of violence. The second part surveys standard rituals of peace and violence from Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The third part focuses on the ambivalent nature of Orthodox Christian rituals. <![CDATA[<b>'By faith alone' (undivided loyalty) in light of change agency theory: Jesus, Paul and the Jesus-group in Colossae</b>]]> This article aims to apply the model of change agent to the interpretation of Colossians. Presuming a continuity between Jesus and Paul, the article introduces the concept of 'by faith alone' from the Pauline letters. By this expression is meant an undivided fidelity to an inclusive approach to understanding God's work, with concrete historical roots in Jesus' crossing of gender, ethnic and cultural boundaries. Living in this manner requires reformation, transformation and change. The study spells out in fuller detail what is understood 'by faith alone' by discussing the meaning of 'faith' within its semantic domain embedded in the codes of 1st-century Mediterranean culture. Living in faith is both a change of one's inner convictions and about a life in faith. <![CDATA[<b>Can Christians really make a difference? A response to the call for change to make the world a better place</b>]]> Christianity changed the world for the better through the development of education, charity organisations, art, music, law and medical care among others. However, not all changes initiated by Christianity were positive. The Christian religion was also responsible for division, death, destruction and war. Focusing on the positive changes, nearly 500 years after the reformation though, it seems as if Christianity has lost its renewing and transformative powers. It seems as if society, politics and the economy are pressurising Christianity to conform to the world and not the other way round. Therefore, the research focuses on the question whether Christians can bring about positive change and transformation to the current problems in society. What can Christians do to provide a religious response to current persistent societal problems? Change agents - people who drive positive change - are capable and competent, make use of networks, are visible and contactable and are often also outsiders in the communities they serve. Examples of the work done by change agents - Christians within their local communities - through small-scale community projects are showcased here to suggest possible ways forward for dealing with persistent problems from a Christian point of view. <![CDATA[<b>The church as a transformation and change agent</b>]]> This article traces the historical impact of the church in transforming, developing and changing society. It looks at how the church in selected periods in history, mainly in the reformation era, worked towards the transformation of society and communities. Extracting from these the author attempts to show how this can be applied to the church in the South African context. Further, the author explores the changing dynamics and characteristics of being church today and establishes that it is not so much about what the church believes, but in what it does that matters most in this day and age. The author, with the latter thought in mind, expresses that community transformation has to be an integral part of the ministry of the church today. <![CDATA[<b>An African Reformation</b>]]> The year 2017 is the year in which the Reformation, started by Martin Luther, is celebrating its 500th birthday. This depicts a milestone in the life of the Church of the Reformation and also in the life of Christians worldwide. This is a good time to ponder on the epistemological question of the validity and necessity of the (European) Reformation (i.e. improvement, renovation or change). If this question is answered in a positive way, then it could bring us to the realisation that the time is ripe for an African Reformation. This article will argue that this is indeed the case. A reformation, transformation and change is needed for the African Christian context. However, the question could well be asked: Who will be the 'second Luther?' <![CDATA[<b>Toward justice and social transformation? Appealing to the tradition against the tradition</b>]]> This article starts with a brief statement on the well-known contradictory nature of the Reformed tradition in South Africa, defending injustice and struggling for justice in the name of the same tradition. By following the work of Reformed systematic theologian D.J. Smit, it argues that the justice-affirming potential of the Reformed tradition is a hermeneutical task built on three specific re-interpretations: (1) the reinterpretation of Scripture from the perspective of the weak, the poor and the oppressed (against a hermeneutic of creation orders and God-willed division of people) (2) a rereading of John Calvin to affirm the dignity and freedom of all humans (against the grain of neo-Calvinist interpretations) (3) a rereading of Karl Barth with a focus on God's inclusive grace, Christian confessions and the nature of the Christian life (against the limitation of his influence because of his perceived actualistic view on Scripture or unscientific, foundational methodology). The article closes with a brief look into the agenda for social transformation faced by us in the second decade of the 21st century, and under what conditions the Reformed faith will be able to make an enduring contribution to public life in (South) Africa. <![CDATA[<b>Fossils and tombs and how they haunt us</b>]]> Fossils and tombs in museums fascinate us and haunt us with their secrets. The discovery of the remains of Homo naledi, found, as argued by some, in an ancient burial chamber, promises to reveal secrets of an unremembered past, thus offering clues concerning our present-day humans and maybe influence our human future. The paper will not engage directly with what Homo naledi might contribute to the various science-religion and/or theology conversations but rather engage with the grammars of these conversations, by asking the question, why do tombs and fossils haunt us? This article will bring into the conversation Derrida's interpretation on tombs and fossils, his hauntology, as well as the fascination with secrets. It will not offer an interpretation of Naledi, but rather ask the question why she inspires (haunts) the belief that she has something to offer the science-religion conversation (which I believe she does), or why she inspires the belief that such discoveries make no difference to the religious views on creation, for example. Whichever way, the dead, and specifically those dead to human memory, when 'recalled', haunt us and disturb us with their secrets. <![CDATA[<b>Metaphysical perspectives on YHWH as a fictional entity in the Hebrew Bible</b>]]> Within a literary ontology, YHWH in the Hebrew Bible is technically also a fictional entity or object. In Hebrew Bible scholarship, a variety of philosophical issues surrounding fiction have received sustained and in-depth attention. However, the mainstream research on these matters tends to focus on the philosophical foundations of or backgrounds to a particular literary theory, rather than on metaphysical puzzles as encountered in the philosophy of fiction proper. To fill this gap, the present article seeks to provide a meta-theoretical overview of the main contemporary philosophical perspectives on the metaphysics of fictional objects. Three views (and their sub-currents) are discussed, namely possibilism, (neo-)Meinongianism and (literary) creationism. Each view's theory is introduced and critically appropriated with reference to what is implied to be an answer to the question of what exactly the biblical character YHWH can meaningfully be said to be in the context of the metaphysics of fictional objects. In this way, the present study also goes beyond the traditional concern with the nature of God in Old Testament theology. <![CDATA[<b>The dynamics of theologies: A transdisciplinary description</b>]]> In this article, the author asks why the South African public, especially Afrikaans communities, is largely unaware of the knowledge generated in the field of science and religion. The author describes theologies as complex systems that interact with their environment. To illuminate the environment, the author turns to the theatre system and illustrates how the theatre system can illuminate the modelling choices of theologians. <![CDATA[<b>The enemies within: Gog of Magog in Ezekiel 38-39</b>]]> The most extensive descriptions of Gog and Magog in the Hebrew Bible appear in Ezekiel 38-39. At various stages of their political career, both Reagan and Bush have linked Gog and Magog to the b├¬tes noires of the USA, identifying them either as the 'communistic and atheistic' Russia or the 'evil' Iraq. Biblical scholars, however, seek to contextualise Gog of Magog in the historical literary setting of the ancient Israelites. Galambush identifies Gog in Ezekiel as a cipher for Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian king, who acted as Judah's oppressor in the 6th century BCE. More recently, Klein concludes that Gog, along with his companions, is 'eine Personifikation aller Feinde, die Israel im Buch Ezechiel gegen├╝berstehen'. Despite their differences in detail, these scholars, such as Reagan and Bush, work with a dualism that considers only the features of Judah's enemies incorporated into Gog's characteristics. Via an analysis of the semantic allusions, literary position and early receptions of Ezekiel 38-39, this article argues that Gog and his entourage primarily display literary attributes previously assigned to Judah's political allies.