Scielo RSS <![CDATA[HTS Theological Studies]]> vol. 76 num. 4 lang. pt <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>The trauma of Nineveh's demise and downfall: Nahum 2:2-11</b>]]> Trauma is left, right and centre in the whole book of Nahum. The book reflects the oppression and hardship that Judah had experienced at the hands of the imperial power Assyria. For many a reader, the violent and derogative content of this book is in itself a traumatic experience. In this article, the focus is on Nahum 2:2-11 (Masoretic Text [MT]), which depicts the downfall of Nineveh and its traumatic effects on its citizens. Besides the analysis of the text, a reading from trauma theory is made to enhance insights into the text. It is argued that the text served the purpose of offering hope to the people of Judah who relied on Yahweh for relief from their own traumatic experiences. <![CDATA[<b>Faith envy</b>]]> With this article, I wish to introduce the concept of 'faith envy'. From time to time, both believers and non-believers envy those who have faith or more faith. People envy, for example, Muslims or Charismatics for the significance and certainty of their convictions in their lives. I propose using 'faith envy' as an angle to investigate faith and religious language. This perspective opens up important new questions about faith. If we look at faith from this angle, we see aspects of faith that remain obscure in many debates on religion, aspects beyond historical or factual matters. Firstly, I explore what it is exactly that is envied in faith envy. Secondly, I argue for the use of the concept 'envy' rather than 'jealousy' or 'admiration' in this context. Thirdly, I indicate how using the concept of faith envy may open up new theoretical perspectives on faith and in particular the nature of religious language. I show how the lives and works of Sören Kierkegaard, Ludwig Wittgenstein and Simone Weil are illuminated by looking at them as people who envy faith. I conclude this article by providing some impressions of what novel perspectives using the concept of faith envy may bring to light. <![CDATA[<b>The additional phrases on a Genizah fragment of Bavli Eruvin 4b-5a</b>]]> This article deals with the additional phrases found in the Cairo Genizah fragment related to Bavli, Tractate Eruvin 4b-5a, identified as Cambridge UL T-S F1 (1) 44. FGP No. C 96446. Some of these additional phrases have not been found in any version of the various manuscripts and printed versions, and some were found in only one version. The purpose of the article was to examine whether these additional phrases preserve an ancient version that was only preserved in this Genizah fragment or whether they are a type of errors in the fragment. The conclusions of the article with regard to these additional phrases are varied; some of the phrases preserve an ancient version and some do not. <![CDATA[<b>The Matthean characterisation of Jesus by angels</b>]]> Angels play a significant role in the characterisation of the Matthean Jesus. The Gospel of Matthew displays particular interest in angels. This article focuses on passages in Matthew that relate the role of angels directly to Jesus. Matthew distinguishes between the angel of the Lord and angels in general. This article examines the latter group keeping in view their support of Jesus. It shows that Matthew assumes knowledge of Jewish angelic traditions among his readers. He adds new perspectives to their knowledge about the relation of angels with Jesus. He is depicted as meek and humble, refraining from using his authority to call on the assistance of angels for his own benefit. Yet angels come with reverence to serve him. In humility, he fully submits to the will of the Father by entering his passion. On the other hand, he is also depicted with eschatological glory as being accompanied by all the angels. Heavens are emptied to attend to the Son of Man on his glorious throne. With an entourage of all heavenly angels he will return as the eschatological judge not only to judge all the nations, but also the devil and his angels. <![CDATA[<b>Church history is dead, long live historical theology!</b>]]> Church history is dead, long live historical theology! This restatement of the monarchical law of le mort saisit le vif is at once a statement of irreparable discontinuity and assumed continuity. The old monarch is no more, yet a new and different monarch ascends to fill the same vacant throne. This is the paradox of church history becoming historical theology. Reviewing the work of W.A Dreyer and J. Pillay on the re-imagining of church history as historical theology, this article explores the tension between the demise of church history as a subject in South Africa and the emerging understanding and application of historical theology, arguing that more can be made of trans-disciplinary dialogues. <![CDATA[<b>Searching for <i>shalom</i>: Transformation in the mission of God and the Bible translation movement</b>]]> The background of this study was to explore the Old Testament vision of shalom and determine how it was relevant to its holistic mission, Bible translation, transformational development and the world's challenges and trends. The aim of this research was to create a framework to serve practitioners and theorists associated with the Bible translation movement and its intersection with transformational development. The setting for the study was the consideration of factors affecting Bible translation and transformational development in the context of global challenges and trends. The methodology of the study included literature surveys integrated with analysis of data from global sources. Results from the study included an understanding of the relevance of shalom, and integration with holistic mission, including integral mission, and intersection with transformational development. Analysis of global challenges and trends was combined with an existing framework for transformational development that included Bible translation as a mission. The conclusion was that the church was called to be faithful stewards of knowledge and resources. This included an understanding of the relevance of the vision for shalom, integrated with holistic mission, transformational development and Bible translation that addressed in full or in part global challenges and trends that resulted in the framework produced by this study. <![CDATA[<b>Interactional leadership: Jesus' model of leadership - A case of Mark 7:25-29</b>]]> Inspired by Goffman and Mead Social Interactionism theory and Ghanaian traditional leadership model, this article interprets Mark 7:24-30 as text that re-imagines alternative leadership practice. The study suggest that social interactionism theory tenants of ritual making, people processing, characterisation, frame making and dramaturgy provide a alternative heuristic tools to understand Jesus' view of leadership. Seemingly and for Jesus, leadership is a product of social interaction derived from the manner one interacts with various people. This study proposes that the Ghanaian Akan traditional notion of leadership based on social interaction provides analogical model that complements social interactionism theory in interpreting Jesus' leadership practices. Therefore, the study explains social interactionism theory and then illustrated it through Akan leadership model analogue. The story of the Syrophoenician woman in Mark 7:24-30 gives the social interaction, people processing, characterisation, frame making and dramaturgy that informs Jesus' leadership model to be modelled by the Church. <![CDATA[<b>Africanisation of theological education: An exploration of a hybrid epistemology</b>]]> This article explores the concept of hybrid epistemology in relation with the author's theological teaching of his neighbours from the northern townships of Pretoria and the students of the University of Pretoria. It is written from the perspective of a black African mission practitioner who values with equal footing the diverse ways human beings can acquire knowledge. He longs to see a symbiotic relationship between different epistemologies and be prioritised in the theological training of Africans. He stresses that the value in authenticity would allow the diversity of epistemologies to weave together in a symbiotic way. This article is a case study that reflects on the symbiotic relationship between different epistemologies using the five human senses as a multi-sensory approach to knowing. It discusses the experiences with students from InnerCHANGE and the University of Pretoria. <![CDATA[<b>Discourse analysis of religion and inter-communal conflicts and its causes in Nigeria</b>]]> The religious crisis in Nigeria dates back to the colonial era. The amalgamation of two distinct nationalities (Northern and Southern Nigeria) for the purpose of administrative convenience by the colonial government, irrespective of their cultural and educational differences, not only created a hitch in assimilation but also mistrust and bitter rivalry that has accentuated to conflict. In the same vein, most of the communal crises taking place today could be traced to colonial making as they created artificial boundaries that did not take cognisance of kith and kin, consanguinity and linguistic identity. It rather brazenly demarcated people to suit their exploitative governance. The above built-up grievances and tensions spark off a crisis at the slightest provocation or misunderstanding. The objectives of the study are as follows: (1) to identify the factors responsible for the crises, (2) to trace and analyse the antecedents of the crises, and finally (3) to proffer solutions to this seemingly intractable national problem. The methodology adopted for the study is the qualitative phenomenological approach, whereby data were collected from secondary sources and treated analytically. The work found that religion and inter-communal conflict have hindered sustainable development, taking a large toll of lives and property amongst others. <![CDATA[<b>A biblical approach to the reduction of child poverty in Anambra state, Nigeria</b>]]> Child poverty reduction is one of the most important and urgent tasks that requires attention in most regions of the world, nations and Anambra state specifically. The population of impoverished children is progressively increasing in Nigeria because of economic recession and poor security situations that lead to displacement and death of their parents. Although children constitute half of the entire population, commensurate attention is not given to them to match the dimensions of poverty they face. This study argued that child poverty is multidimensional, evidenced in lack of safe drinking water, adequate nutrition, shelter, decent sanitation, medical advice or health services (immunisations) and education, to mention a few. The article highlighted the laudable efforts of the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and Anambra government and maintained that multiple strategies can help in solving this problem. To complement these efforts, the enforcement of biblical policies or principles about children's rights would in no small measure reduce child poverty. It was concluded that a proper repositioning of children would be matched with implementation of biblical strategies. Biblical intervention could help children socially, mentally and psychologically and in their general well-being. Biblical principles would erase wrong socio-cultural notions about children. <![CDATA[<b><i>Sensus communis</i>: The relevance of Medieval philosophy in the 21st century</b>]]> This article addresses the underestimation of Medieval philosophy in the contemporary curriculum by engaging its very origins in the 'postmodern' dislocation of philosophy. The leading question is what would be the prospects in the 21st century of reorienting Western philosophy from its idea-historical sources, which would include its ancient traditions and the Medieval exposition, as well as the Renaissance elucidation thereof. Critically engaging the works of numerous 'postmodern' philosophers (Lyotard, Derrida, Foucault, Baudrillard, Virilio and Zizek) as well as critics of the 'postmodern' departure from traditional philosophy (Gadamer, Habermas, Jameson, Norris), this article argues for the re-establishment of the late Medieval notion of sensus communis, both as common sense and community sense. Against this backdrop, the article reappraises Medieval thought within the context of sensus communis to combat the contemporary dislocation of philosophy, by raising the possibility of the presentation of first-order judgments via sensus communis in a new pursuit for wijsbegeerte. <![CDATA[<b>African Pentecostal spirituality as a mystical tradition: How regaining its roots could benefit Pentecostals</b>]]> Western academic theology do not succeed in accounting for the identity and faith culture of African Pentecostals for at least two reasons. In the first place, because as part of the Pentecostal movement it grew from the holiness, divine healing and revivalist movement that went back to Pietism and emphasised a holistic effective spirituality, and secondly, because it links with the holistic tradition of African traditional religions and worldview that share some aspects of the Old Testament realist way of thinking. African Pentecostalism needs another language to describe its unique way of doing theology in direct conjunction with spirituality. It is argued that the language of the time-honoured practice of mysticism is suitable for explaining its spirituality. Theology and spirituality should mutually inform and constitute each other, as emphasised in mystical theology, for Pentecostal theology to be a valid reflection and meditation on the experience of consciousness of the involvement of God. African Pentecostals will benefit by learning from this ancient tradition by using concepts of mystical theology to find words to state the unsayable. The article closes by asking what the language of mysticism would entail for Pentecostals. Several aspects that define Pentecostal spirituality demonstrate their relation with mystical theology, such as a separate experience of sanctification, an acknowledgement of affections in expressing religious sentiments, a different way of interpreting and participating in reality, ecstatic speech and a continual emphasis on a personal, experiential encounter with the Spirit of God. <![CDATA[<b>'He passed away because of cutting down a fig tree': The similarity between people and trees in Jewish symbolism, mysticism and halakhic practice</b>]]> Comparing people to trees is a customary and common practice in Jewish tradition. The current article examines the roots and the development of the image of people as trees in Jewish sources, from biblical times to recent generations (Bible, classical rabbinical literature, medieval to modern rabbinic literature and popular culture), as related to the prohibition against destroying fruit trees. The similarity between humans and trees in the Jewish religion and culture was firstly suggested in biblical literature as a conceptual-symbolic element. However, since the Amoraic period (3rd-5th centuries CE), this similarity was transformed to a resemblance bearing mystical and Halakhic (Jewish Law) implications. Various sources in rabbinical literature describe trees as humans that may be spoken to or yelled at to produce fruit. Cutting down a tree was perceived by the rabbis of the Talmud (3rd-5th centuries CE) not only as an unethical act or vandalism, but also as a hazard: the death of the tree corresponds to the death of the person who resembles it. All societies, cultures and religions have a system of values and practices that are aimed at shaping people, society and the environment according to a certain worldview.CONTRIBUTION: The discussion in this article on the relationship between religion-culture and nature (plants) indicates how the Jewish religion shaped believers' attitude to the world of flora over the generations by transforming the man-tree comparison into one with binding and even threatening practical religious meaning <![CDATA[<b>'How shall we kill him? By sword, fire or lions?': The Aramaic Targum and the Midrashic narrative on Haman's gallows</b>]]> The Midrashic literature and biblical translations focus majorly on the verses that describe the gathering in Haman's house and the preparing of the gallows for Mordechai the Jew (Es 5:14). The goal of this study is to discuss the narrative shaped by the Targum and Midrashic sources and to examine both the realistic domain concerning methods of punishment that were suggested and the theological-educational meaning of the punishment and the type of tree chosen. Targum Rishon develops the contents of the conversation in Haman's house as to how Mordechai should be executed. While according to the text, the suggestion to hang Mordechai appears to have been the only method agreed upon by all those present at the meeting, Targum Rishon includes several forms of killing and torture that were proposed and considered. While Targum Rishon presents the theological meaning of the choice to kill Mordechai specifically by hanging him from a gallows, a Midrash aggadah attempts to clarify the species of the tree used to prepare Mordechai's gallows and comes to the surprising conclusion that it was a type of thorn tree. Regarding Haman's search for a suitable beam on which to hang Mordechai, Midrash Abba Gorion relates that the beam was found in the king's palace or, according to another opinion, the sawed beam found originated from Noah's ark.CONTRIBUTION: The Midrashic sources portray an entire scene that includes discourse, deliberations and choice in Haman's house and in heaven. It seems that the authors of the Midrash and the Targum not only clarify the text and complement the story by adding missing realistic details, they also enrich the text with new meanings that serve their theological concepts <![CDATA[<b>God's patronage constitutes a community of compassionate equals</b>]]> The central themes of Jesus' preaching, the kingdom and household of God, are root metaphors expressing the symbolic universe of God's patronage subverting patronage and patriarchy structuring contemporary Mediterranean society, thus legitimising an anti-hierarchical community of faith. This dominant focus of Jesus' message was discarded, as society's prevalent patronage and patriarchy became the societal structure of the later faith communities. Today, patronage and patriarchy still forms the social structure for a large sector of Christian communities and many cultures, resulting in inequality, injustice, exploitation and suffering. This article proposes that the only remedy for the faithful is a return to Jesus' essential message, by investigating the social dynamics suggested by these root metaphors using metaphor theory and social scientific methods. Patronage is studied within contemporary Roman and Mediterranean aristocratic patriarchal society, forming an a-typical broad-based needle-like power pyramid with multiple similarly structured power pyramids within, based on a morality of indebtedness, honour and power. Jesus accepted God as his father and declared the advent of God's patronage as king (kingdom of God) and father of the faithful (children of God). Within the kingdom and household of God, there was no hierarchy, except for the primate of the first born son, whom Jesus symbolises as broker for God's patronage to all his followers. Within the faith communities there should be no hierarchy or any form of clientage other than God's patronage. Rather, the faithful are equal and should serve each other and their communities with compassion, responsibility and justice.CONTRIBUTION: The contribution of this research is its focus on similarity and dissimilarity of these patronage metaphors and their application to subvert the power dynamics of patronage and patriarchy within the community of the faithful, in order to proffer God's patronage of a society of caring, selfless equals today. This research falls within the scope of HTS Theological studies, as it is a multi-disciplinary study of key biblical metaphors investigated with accepted methodology resulting in valid conclusions which are ethically sound <![CDATA[<b>Tale of a plaster - Different versions of a story and possible meaning of the phrase <i>Lo shmi</i></b><b><i>ʿ</i><i>a li</i> (Bavli Eruvin 102b)</b>]]> This article deals with different versions of a story in Tractate Eruvin of the Babylonian Talmud (102b). This story has different versions in various sources, including in one page from the Genizah fragment Cambridge U-L T-S F2 (2) 23, numbered C98948 in the Friedberg Jewish Manuscript Society. Each version changes our understanding of the story's content, and in this article we will display these variations and examine the feasibility that they reflect about the original version. The story ends with the phrase Lo shamiʿa li, for which we shall offer a new alternative meaning.CONTRIBUTION: The main contribution of this article is in revealing the importance of comparing the different versions to the same story which implies a change in the content of the story. This has future implications when considering a story that has different versions. In addition, exploring and examining a particular phrase can offer a different interpretation or meaning than it was commonly thought. These insights are based on story and phrase found in the theological text, so that the article fits to the focus and scope of this journal <![CDATA[<b>Paul and identity construction in early Christianity and the Roman Empire</b>]]> The question of what subjects Paul addresses in his letters has been a matter of debate in New Testament scholarship. This debate shows the evolution of Pauline studies, whereby early scholars argued that Paul addressed topics ranging from questions of human existence, to relations between Jews and Gentiles, and even topics connecting Paul with the Roman Empire. Most of these scholars view Paul mainly from a religious perspective, particularly in terms of the relationship between Judaism and Christianity. However, viewing Paul from a Jewish versus a Christian religious perspective only fails to present the multivalent function of the Pauline corpus. This article employs social identity theory to read Galatians 3:1-10 in order to defend the argument that Paul employs his letters to construct a superordinate identity for his community which embraces not only political perspectives but also has religious and economic trajectories.CONTRIBUTION: The application of identification, contest and comparison, concepts derived from sociology, to analyze Galatians 3:1-10 in reference to 1st century economic, religious and political contexts to explain the multivalent nature of early Christian identity, contributes to multidisciplinary research aspects of Biblical studies which is in tandem with the scope of HTS Theological Journal <![CDATA[<b>Parthian-India and Aksum: A geographical case for pre-Ezana early Christianity in Ethiopia</b>]]> The narrative of Indian Christianity that is compositely based on Thomine tradition derives significantly from the reality of Parthian-India geo-economics and geopolitics. Although Aksumite trade and diplomatic visibility are a prevalent feature of the Greco-Roman imperial history in the BCE - CE era, the narrative regarding Ethiopian Christianity is a 4th-century CE reality. Ground is made to deduce the possibility of early Christianity akin to apostolic Christianity in Ethiopia as a consequence of similar circumstances in Parthian-India. So as to solidify the arguments and engage relevant data, document analysis complemented by cultural historiography and the archaeology of religion was implemented in this study. A deductive parallel review of Indian and Ethiopian geopolitical and geo-economics history within the context of Christianity as an emergent religion of the 1st century CE is implicative. The narrative of Ethiopia is completed when it is placed within its extensive geographic context, thereby consequently acknowledging its role within the Mediterranean world. Reference to India substantiates the logic of the argument and entails the possibility of the 1st to 3rd century Christian presence in Ethiopia.CONTRIBUTION: The research highlights a revisionist history of Ethiopian Christianity thereby creating a new narrative for Jewish Christianity and Christian origins, a subject key to the field of theology <![CDATA[<b>Dealing with the cultural and financial challenges during death of a loved one and repatriation of the remains: A mission to the wounded</b>]]> The death of a loved one and the repatriation of the remains have become the double pain experienced by many Zimbabweans in South Africa. The double pain is caused by the cultural demand for burial to be conducted at the home country and the financial demands to do so. While previous studies on mission and theology have addressed the pain of death, only few have looked at the second pain of repatriation. The research gap calls for missiologists to seek ways of addressing the double pain as caused by cultural and financial challenges. By conducting interviews with the Zimbabweans in South Africa, missiological ways of dealing with the double pain are sought through the participant observation method. The proposal is that 'a mission to the wounded' as a theoretical framework within missiology is able to deal with these challenges. In addition, there is a need to embrace alternative burial protocol and rethink cremation as an additional solution to financial challenges.CONTRIBUTION: This article revisits a theology of mission by suggesting 'a mission to the wounded' in light of death and repatriation <![CDATA[<b>Samuel Johnson's view about Oduduwa in connection with the origins of the Yoruba</b>]]> The most favourable explanation pertaining to the Yoruba origin is that of the Oduduwa tradition according to which he is the original ancestor of the Yoruba people. Although the Yorubas have reached a settlement on Oduduwa as their ancestor, they disagree on the origin of Oduduwa. Whilst some associated his origin with Mecca or Arabia, others say Egypt or Israel. Samuel Johnson, the most prominent writer of the Yoruba history, discussed various theories that pertained to the origin of Oduduwa. He argued that Oduduwa or the original ancestors of the Yoruba people were Coptic Christians. Writers of Yoruba history from the 20th and 21st centuries had continued to build upon Johnson's view of the Yoruba origin in connection with Oduduwa. This research is a study of the Yoruba and Johnson's perspectives of Oduduwa in connection with the Yoruba origins. The research elucidates the circumstances of Johnson's Christianisation of the Egyptian origin of the Yoruba.CONTRIBUTION: This article shall contribute to a distinct understanding of the origin of the Yoruba in connection with the identity and the personality of Oduduwa. Students of history and cultural studies will find this research of utmost benefit because it explains the origin of the Yoruba from the perspective of Samuel Johnson, the first Yoruba man to document extensively on the Yoruba history, language, its culture and its people in a single document or collection <![CDATA[<b>Doing theology with children: A childist reading of the childhood metaphor in 1 Corinthians and the Synoptic Gospels</b>]]> This article is written from the perspective of Child Theology and a childist reading of scripture. Firstly, the article deals with the links between children, childhood and Childhood Studies, as well as with Theology. Secondly, in terms of a childist reading of scripture, it explains the difference between a low and a high view of childhood. The fact that both views of childhood are present in the Bible is highlighted. Thirdly, the article discusses three texts in 1 Corinthians, where Paul used the childhood metaphor in a way that reflects a low view of childhood. Then, it investigates passages from the Synoptic Gospels as examples of Jesus' implied high view of childhood. Finally, the article concludes with a challenge addressed to all adult theologians.CONTRIBUTION: This article contributes to the enhancement of emancipatory methodologies for doing theology and research with children by exploring the different ways in which the childhood metaphor is used in 1 Corinthians and the Synoptic Gospels through a childist reading of the relevant texts. Through this hermeneutical approach, which places the article clearly in the scope of this Theological Journal, it is established that doing theology with children in an emancipatory way adult theologians have to operate with a high view of childhood, as expressed in the way the childhood metaphor is used in the Synoptic Gospels <![CDATA[<b>Understanding persecution in Matthew 10:16-23 and its implication in the Nigerian church</b>]]> The modern use of the word 'persecution' in both speeches and books shows a phenomenon that is almost wholly associated with religion. However, persecution is a threat to the peace of religious institutions as well as various societies all over the world; thus, this makes it a phenomenon beyond the scope of religion. However, this research focuses on religious persecution. It studies an aspect of persecution which is called intra muros persecution. This means 'internal' persecution. 'Internal' in this context describes the kind that existed in the Jewish religious settings, amongst professing Jews, strictly between Rabbinic Jews and Messianic Jews as predicted in Matthew 10:16-23 and is reflected in today's Christianity in the form of various intra-denominational attacks in Nigeria. The study delves into the history of events which took place between Rabbinic Jews and Messianic Jews and how it relates to the Christian faith, coming out with the discovery that division which it called sectarianism was the brain behind this brand of persecution. The application of the study to the Nigerian situation necessitates the call for tolerance amongst various denominational sects in Nigeria. <![CDATA[<b>The challenges of full participation of laity in the mission of the church</b>]]> The church shares in Christ's mission of bringing all to the knowledge of God and to salvation. All its members are called to this intrinsic mission bequeathed to the entire church. The lay faithful form the greatest number of the members and their functions are important in this mission. However, they are beset by numerous setbacks that constitute untold challenges for the church. This article, written from a sub-Saharan African and Catholic background, examines the nature of this mission as a requisite prelude to discussion on various challenges experienced by the laity in participating fully in the mission. It also recommends ways of enhancing their contributions.CONTRIBUTION: The primary contribution of this article is its specific focus on the challenges the laity encounter in carrying out their mission in the world. It is a theological study based on scriptural foundations of the laity in the church. As members, laypersons share fully in the church's received mission mandate