Scielo RSS <![CDATA[HTS Theological Studies]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/rss.php?pid=0259-942220090001&lang=en vol. 65 num. 1 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/img/en/fbpelogp.gif http://www.scielo.org.za <![CDATA[<b>The journey of HTS Theological Studies</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100001&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en <![CDATA[<b>The Psalms as hymns in a liturgical context</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100002&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en In many ways, the psalms fulfil a bridging function between divergent denominations that previously avoided each other. In the Hebrew text of the Psalter, most of the psalms have specific titles. However, none of these originated with the original psalms. Instead, they offer instruction for the reader concerning the process that led to the compilation of the Psalms in a collection. The psalms are more than liturgy, and liturgy is more than psalms. Therefore, the psalms cannot be clothed in liturgical vestments. Hymns that occur in the Book of Psalms are the focus of this article. It is clear that the praise in the hymns follows different patterns. The article aims to explore the liturgical influence of the psalms as hymns in a liturgical context. <![CDATA[<b>Preaching on the kingdom of God</b>: <b>a challenge in a new context of poverty</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100003&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The question addressed by this article has to do with the content of preaching in the context of laws about affirmative action affecting white South Africans. This question results from the findings of previous research by the author regarding the experience of God by people negatively affected by these laws. The article argues that preaching of the parables on the kingdom of God can help people to find hope and a meaningful existence as followers of Jesus. The contemporary understanding by New Testament scholars of how the parables should be interpreted is discussed. Most of the authentic versions of the parables of Jesus are diaphoric metaphors. The kingdom message of Jesus to the subculture of the disreputable poor creates an alternative life world in contrast to the violence, injustice and discrimination of worldly states. The eschatology of the parables in Matthew should be interpreted as ethical eschatology real in nature. Interpreting these parables ethically helps pastors to preach Jesus' kingdom message anew. <![CDATA[<b>Why worship?</b><b> Revisiting a fundamental liturgical question</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100004&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en In this article the fundamental liturgical question as to the motive and intention of worship is addressed within the framework of four related liturgical tensions, namely between being and becoming, between time and space, between awe and expression, and between laughter and lament. In order to do this, some classical voices from the past are listened to, for instance, Schleiermacher, Kierkegaard, Moltmann, Tillich, Otto, Bakhtin and Buber, but more contemporary views are also considered. These four tensions are described in the light of the key terms: 'already' and 'not yet', and some implications for present-day liturgical practices are drawn. <![CDATA[<b>Responsibility, God and society</b>: <b>the cry of the other in the sacred texts as a challenge towards responsible global citizenship</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100005&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The article seeks to respond to the question: What role can the sacred texts play in the construction of a Christian identity that is responsible to the other in a pluralistic global world? The sacred texts of the Judaic-Christian tradition offer not only an understanding of the wholly otherness of God, but also form the basis of our understanding and perception of humanity (anthropology), the world and ourselves (personhood/identity). This understanding is constructed in the context of responding to the call of the wholly Other and the others. Identities are traditionally constructed through the identification and exclusion of differences (otherness), thus leading to an ethic of exclusion and responsibility only to oneself/ourselves. Yet these identity-forming texts harbour a persistent otherness, which challenges these traditional identities by interrupting them with a call to responsibility toward the other. The otherness harboured in these texts takes various forms, namely: the otherness of the ancient world to our world, the otherness of the transcendental Other, and the otherness of the text itself, as there is always a différance that has not yet been heard. These various forms of otherness, of our identity-forming texts, deconstruct our identity constructions, thus calling us to a continuous responsibility towards the other. This call could form the basis of a Christian identity and ethic of global cosmopolitan citizenship that is always responding to the eschatological interruption by the other, who is not yet present or who has not been offered presence. <![CDATA[<b>Interdisciplinary re-imagining of the concept of revelation</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100006&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en For the postfoundationalist Wentzel van Huyssteen, the James I McCord Professor of Theology and Science at Princeton Theological Seminary, USA, the problem of rationality has been the dominant and persuasive theme of his scholarship for more than three decades. 'To understand understanding' can be the shorthand description of his scholarly quest. In his published Gifford Lectures, Alone in the World? (2006), he explores from an interdisciplinary perspective the concept of human uniqueness and the imago Dei - an exercise in transversal reasoning as he calls it. It is an exercise that according to Van Huyssteen, stems from the conviction that evolutionary epistemology creates a natural space for postfoundationalism, and that transversal reasoning represents the performative praxis of postfoundationalism. The question immediately arises from this exciting and promising interdisciplinary exercise, if and how the concept of revelation which represents (in most religions) a constitutive element of religious experience can be understood from a postfoundational perspective as an exercise in transversal reasoning. Against the background of a limited overview of contemporary influential models of revelation, as well as brief notes on natural theology, I will make use of Ricoeur's a-religious understanding of revelation as theological interlocutor for this critical dialogue with Van Huyssteen. Finally I will formulate a tentative framework within which the concept of 'revelation' can be re-imagined from an interdisciplinary perspective so that it can be part of the post-modern theology-science conversation in such a manner to maintain its identity without retreating to an esoteric world of private, insular knowledge claims. <![CDATA[<b>Jesus Christ as ancestor</b>: <b>an African Christian understanding</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100007&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Son of Man, Son of David, Lord (Kyrios), Rabbi and Messiah. These are some of the names used by Christians today and even by the people from the era of Jesus Christ to address him or to communicate with him. Others use them because they were taught that this is the way you talk about him or to him. People use all these different names to describe Jesus Christ according to their understanding, knowledge, trust and belief in him. This article will describe how the Sotho, who are African Christians, from the township of Mohlakeng in Randfontein, know, understand, trust and believe in Jesus Christ according to the title of Great Ancestor. Views of the inhabitants of Mohlakeng are used to describe the complexity of the issue. This article discusses what the meaning of the concept of ancestor entails and determines whether Jesus can indeed be referred to as Ancestor. There are different answers to this question. <![CDATA[<b>Challenges and opportunities for Korean missionaries in Southern Africa</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100008&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en This article describes the history of missions in Korea as well as the challenges and opportunities for Korean missionaries in Southern Africa. The most significant problems encountered by Korean missionaries include understanding local context, language and culture acquisition, and meeting the expectations of local people and local churches as well as those of sending churches in Korea. On a personal level, missionaries have to cope with family concerns, maintaining their spiritual life, health problems, financial concerns, frustrations and unfulfilled ideals. Korean missionaries in Southern Africa do, however, have a unique opportunity to serve the Church in its mission and, above all, to serve the Lord of the Church in His mission, although there are indeed difficulties to overcome and challenges to face. <![CDATA[<b>Isaiah 36-39</b>: <b>rethinking the issues of priority and historical reliability</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100009&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Isaiah 36-39 is a coherent literary unity that both holds priority over II Kings 18-20 and reflects a historically reliable interpretation of the events surrounding Sennacherib's invasion. On a literary level, Isaiah 36-39 shows itself to be a vital piece of the overall literary structure of Proto-Isaiah in that it highlights the fulfilment of Isaiah's initial Immanuel prophecy in chapters 7-12. The historical occasion for the writing of Isaiah 36-39 is early on during the reign of Manasseh, when opinion in Judah would have been divided over how to interpret the historical events surrounding Sennacherib's invasion. Isaiah 36-39, therefore, sought to vindicate Hezekiah as a faithful and righteous king, Isaiah as a true prophet and YHWH as the one true God, in contrast to Manasseh's policy changes that clearly reflected his opinion that Hezekiah was a foolish king, Isaiah was a false prophet and YHWH was not powerful enough to protect Judah. <![CDATA[<b>Historians and miracles</b>: <b>the principle of analogy and antecedent probability reconsidered</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100010&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Most Biblical scholars and historians hold that the investigation of a miracle report lies outside of the rights of historians acting within their professional capacity. In this article, I challenge this assertion and argue to the contrary: Historians are within their professional rights to investigate miracle claims and to adjudicate on the historicity of the events. I present a positive case for the historian's right to adjudicate on miracle claims and address two major objections to this conclusion: the principle of analogy and antecedent probability. At times I use the resurrection of Jesus as an example. This is the first of two articles. In the second, I will address three additional common objections: the theological objection, the lack of consensus and miracle claims in multiple religions. <![CDATA[<b>The adjudication of miracles</b>: <b>rethinking the criteria of historicity</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100011&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en This is the second article in a series of two that discusses whether historians are within their professional rights to investigate miracle claims. In the first, I made a positive case that they are and then proceeded to examine two major arguments in support of a negative verdict to the issue: the principle of analogy and antecedent probability. I argued that neither should deter historians from issuing a positive verdict on miracle claims when certain criteria are met and the event is the best explanation of the relevant historical bedrock. In this second article, I examine three additional objections commonly appealed to by biblical scholars: the theological objection, lack of consensus and miracle claims in multiple religions. The resurrection of Jesus is occasionally cited as an example. <![CDATA[<b>The metaphor 'being crucified with Christ' in sociohistorical context</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100012&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Crucifixion is a concept that is far removed from the experience and understanding of the 21st-century post-modern man. To understand the power of the message of the cross, one first has to determine what the meaning of crucifixion was to the person in antiquity. The relevant facts about the cross and crucifixion were intertwined with social and political realities of the time. This article endeavours to construct a valid and probable sociohistorical context for the metaphor χριστŵ συνεσταύρωµαι ('I am being crucified with Christ'). The relevant terminology as well as the practice of crucifixion in ancient nations also receive attention. Possible differences in the shape of the cross and crucifixion procedures are being debated. The article also tries to conceive of the shame and rejection the condemned had to endure. The sociohistorical implications of the preposition 'with' will be discussed to indicate its meaning to the person from ancient times. What would such a person have understood and experienced when told that he had to be crucified with Christ? To any individual from that social and historical context such a statement would have immediately conjured up a clear picture of the price that was to be paid. It would have meant the renunciation of everything that was dear and essential in the life of that person; rejection of family and friends; inhuman pain, both physically and emotionally, as well as the knowledge that the decision was irrevocable. <![CDATA[<b>Using stories to assist storytelling in a pastoral setting</b>: <b>four female pastors in dialogue with Mary Magdalene</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100013&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Sometimes we need a source of encouragement for restoring our own lives, to help us re-create ourselves. Using text as narrative texts opens up a multitude of possibilities in the work with clients in therapy. The story of Mary Magdalene told in John 20:11-18 is considered to be a healing story. This article aims to retell the story of her encounter with the resurrected Jesus, using the Gospel of Mary as an enlightening intertext. Because the story of Mary Magdalene's encounter with Jesus is used as a healing story, the basic principles of transformative narrative theory are considered to be useful in the analysis of this text. Mary Magdalene's story is then discussed with three female pastors of the Netherdutch Reformed Church of Africa. The research opened up a discussion about spirituality. This article would be incomplete without reflecting on the spirituality stories of the group of co-researchers. <![CDATA[<b>Historical Jesus research and relevance in South Africa</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100014&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en A brief review of significant developments in South African historical Jesus research during the past three decades is given. Although historical Jesus investigations are not characteristic or even dominant in South African New Testament scholarship, some of the achievements of the scholars working in this field are not only significant contributions to the discipline but are also of considerable relevance to the challenges facing biblical scholarship in general in the South African context. South African historical Jesus publications show a distinct development from the almost unproblematic application of Jesus' words and actions at the earlier stage to a sophisticated and nuanced juxtaposing and interrelating of modern and ancient settings at the present time. It is suggested that these developments can contribute to the exploration of alternative and appropriate theological discourses. <![CDATA[<b>Pastors as wounded healers</b>: <b>autobiographical pastorate as a way for pastors to achieve emotional wholeness</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100015&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en In a previous article it was argued that pastors suffer from cognitive dissonance because of the paradigm shift from modernity to postmodernity, and the emotional woundedness that frequently results from their struggles to come to terms with the new world in which they have to live and minister. This article reflects on the way in which two further issues may exacerbate emotional woundedness in pastors. The one is church tradition, as it is reflected in several formularies used during church services in the Nederduitsch Hervormde Kerk van Afrika (NHKA), as well as the Church Ordinance of the NHKA. The other issue is the way in which pastors view the Bible. The language and rhetoric used to reflect on these issues are discussed and evaluated. In its last paragraph the article reflects on the possibility of autobiographical pastorate as a way for pastors to achieve emotional wholeness. <![CDATA[<b>Hamartia</b>: <b>foucault and Iran 1978-1979 (1: Introduction and texts)</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100016&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en 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 significance 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 œuvre. 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. <![CDATA[<b>Hamartia</b>: <b>foucault and Iran 1978-1979 (2: scholarship and significance)</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100017&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en 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. <![CDATA[<b>Paul's 'former conduct in the Judean way of life' (Gal 1:13) ... or not?</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100018&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en 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). <![CDATA[<b>Contiguity of relationship words as focal point for the restoration of relations in the book of Hosea</b>: <b>a socio-rhetorical study</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100019&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en This article reflects on the various nuances in meaning of the relationship terminology used in Hosea. These words are used in combination with one another, although used differently in different contexts. The different combinations create associations with new socioliterary meanings. This culminates in three central, interrelated notions, namely <img border=0 src="../../../../../img/revistas/hts/v65n1/18img01.gif" align=absmiddle>('love as life orientation'), <img border=0 src="../../../../../img/revistas/hts/v65n1/18img02.gif" align=absmiddle>('acknowledgement of the care of Yahweh') and <img border=0 src="../../../../../img/revistas/hts/v65n1/18img03.gif" align=absmiddle>('to live before Yahweh'). The collective intention of these words is finally described as one of covenant harmony. <![CDATA[<b>The portrayal of the hardening of the disciples' hearts in Mark 8:14-21</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100020&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en 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). <![CDATA[<b>The friendship of Matthew and Paul</b>: <b>a response to a recent trend in the interpretation of Matthew's Gospel</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100021&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en David Sim has argued that Matthew's so-called Great Commission (Mt 28:16-20) represents a direct anti-Pauline polemic. While this thesis may be theoretically possible and perhaps fits within the perspective of an earlier era in New Testament research, namely that of the Tübingen School, the evidence in both Matthew and the Pauline corpus does not support such a reading of early Christianity. In this paper, I argue that an antithetical relationship between Matthew's Great Commission and Paul's Gentile mission as reflected in his epistles is possible only (1) with a certain reading of Matthew and (2) with a caricature of Paul. In light of the most recent research on both Matthew's Great Commission and the historical Paul, these two traditions can be seen as harmonious and not antithetical in spite of the recent arguments to the contrary. My argument provides a further corrective to the view of early Christianity, which posits a deep schism between so-called Jewish Christianity and Paul's ostensibly Law-free mission to the Gentiles. <![CDATA[<b>Canon, intertextuality and history in Nehemiah 7:72b-10:40</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100022&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The forming of the Hebrew Bible can be depicted as an ongoing movement from traditum to traditio. Several parallel and interactive phenomena contributed to this process. One of these was intertextuality, which played a major role in the process. This article indicates that intertextuality was not restricted to mere quotations or the recycling of existing traditum, but also included dialogue with older genres and existing ideological patterns. Aesthetic and polylogic intertextuality are shown to have been part of this process of inner-biblical exegesis. These two aspects of intertextuality are demonstrated in a discussion of the narrative in Nehemiah 7:72b. Aggadic exegesis linked to aesthetic intertextuality is found in several places in this passage. Polylogic intertextuality can be seen in the use of the Gattungen of Historical Review and Penitential Prayer in Nehemiah 9:1-37. These are linked to a Sitz im Leben during the fifth century BCE when an endeavour was made to find a new identity for the Judaeans. <![CDATA[<b>A contextualised reading of Matthew 6:22-23</b>: <b>'Your eye is the lamp of your body'</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100023&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en 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 <img border=0 src="../../../../../img/revistas/hts/v65n1/22img34.gif" align=absmiddle>as the ancient hearer or reader would have done. <![CDATA[<b>Psychological type and the pulpit: an empirical enquiry concerning preachers and the SIFT method of biblical hermeneutics</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100024&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en A sample of 389 experienced preachers completed a measure of psychological type. They then read Mark 1:29-39 and recorded their evaluations of the four reflections on this passage proposed by Francis (1997) and which were derived from the SIFT method of biblical hermeneutics and liturgical preaching. Three main conclusions are drawn from these data. First, compared with the United Kingdom population norms, preachers within this sample were significantly more likely to prefer introversion, intuition, feeling and judging. Second, preachers were four times more likely to prefer a sensing interpretation of the text rather than a thinking interpretation, emphasising the richness of the narrative rather than facing the theological questions posed by it. Third, there was little evidence to suggest that preachers were less likely to appreciate interpretations consonant with their less preferred or inferior function than those consonant with their most preferred or dominant function. In this sense, the richness of the SIFT method should be accessible to preachers of all psychological types. <![CDATA[<b>The pendulum is never static</b>: <b>Jesus Sira to Jesus Christ on women in the light of Judith, Susanna and LXX Esther</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100025&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en When the New Testament is interpreted, directly preceding literature is largely neglected. The dialectical terms, discourse and contra-discourse do not often surface in research on this period. This is especially the case with reference to women. Jesus Ben Sira (ca. 196 BCE) as well as other wisdom writers had quite a negative view of women. Although it has previously been argued that this negative discourse on women was challenged by Judith, this article goes further: the Additions to Esther and Susanna are added as possible challenging discourses. It is argued that these texts convincingly confront Ben Sira's negative views and add substantial value to the worth and status of women. During the CE, both Jesus Christ and the Apostle Paul had a mainly positive view of women. Positive ideas and allusions from texts are pointed out that might have their roots in the Apocrypha. Lastly, this article argues that the disputed Pauline letters contain a swing back towards Jesus Ben Sira's negative view of women. <![CDATA[<b>The influence of psychological type preferences on readers trying to imagine themselves in a New Testament healing story</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100026&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en A sample of 404 Anglicans from a variety of church traditions within the Church of England was asked if they could imagine themselves into a healing story from Mark 9:14-29 by identifying with one of the characters in it. Around 65% could do so ('imaginers') and 35% could not. The likelihood of being an imaginer was higher among (i) women than among men, (ii) those who preferred intuition to sensing or feeling to thinking, and (iii) those who were most charismatically active. Readers with intuition as their dominant function were most likely to be imaginers, while those with thinking as their dominant function were least likely to be so. <![CDATA[<b>Imitating Jesus, yes - but which Jesus?</b> <b>A critical engagement with the ethics of Richard Burridge in Imitating Jesus: an inclusive approach to New Testament ethics (2007)</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100027&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en 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. <![CDATA[<b>On poetry</b>: <b>entering heaven through the ear of a raindrop: an <i>ars poetical</i> reading</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100028&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en This article investigates the uniqueness of poetry. Special attention is given to the ars poetica of the poetry of Cas Vos. Other poems are also discussed. The binding force of metaphors in poetry is considered. The essence and expressiveness of poetry are explained through several different poems. The end of the journey of poetry is concluded with a sonnet by Robert Pinsky. <![CDATA[<b>Postsecular spirituality, engaged hermeneutics, and Charles Taylor's notion of hypergoods</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100029&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en This essay sets out to argue that postsecular spirituality is about the quest for hypergoods within today's mass populist- and consumerist-oriented world. It shows that people who consider themselves to be spiritual not only have many values in their lives, but rank some values higher than others, with some being ranked as being of supreme importance, the so-called hypergoods. Such ethics has an interpersonal character, and in Christian circles this reopens the issue of biblical hermeneutics, especially the phenomenon of conflicting interpretations. Against the background of the various options of being religious in the secular age, the essay focuses on Charles Taylor's view of the discovery of spirituality in a posttheistic world and his emphasis on the love of God and the ethics of justice as hypergoods. <![CDATA[<b>Multiprofessional aspects of ageing seen from a pastoral perspective</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100030&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The article describes existing research on gerontology, and explores the role of pastoral care. When focusing on gerontology from a pastoral care point of view, certain multiprofessional aspects need to be considered. The article aims to highlight insights on the subject from the field of sociology, and to enable pastors to engage meaningfully with elderly persons. Reflection on the changing social environment emphasises the difficulties that retirement and the resulting loss of authenticity pose to the older person. The article considers how pastoral care as part of a multidisciplinary team could fulfil a positive role in gerontology. <![CDATA[<b>Violence and the Daniel tales in a children's Bible</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100031&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Children enjoy the tales of Daniel and his three friends, whether told in Sunday school, day school, by parents or grandparents. These tales are cast essentially in violent terms. In this article a specific version of the tales in a children's Bible is analysed to show in what way violence serves as the thread that holds the tales together and to suggest that this might imply that violence is condoned, be it violence committed by God for the sake of his children or by his children for their own sakes. Through ideology, criticism and deconstruction it is shown how a socially engaged reading of the text necessitates narrators of the Daniel tales to criticise violence embedded within the Biblical text, especially when these tales are narrated to children. <![CDATA[<b>Human participation in a scarred and frenzied world</b>: <b>C.K. Oberholzer, phenomenology and Pretoria</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100032&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en This article focuses on the living presence of phenomenology as an intellectual tradition at the University of Pretoria, and more specifically the role of C.K. Oberholzer (1904-1983) in creating a space for such reflection. The article consists of four (interrelated) parts: the founding years of philosophy at the University of Pretoria against the colonial backdrop of the British Empire, and the rise of Oberholzer under different circumstances in the 1930s; a succinct definition and description of phenomenology in four chronological waves of influence over the last century; the specific way in which Oberholzer interpreted and appropriated phenomenology in the Pretoria context; and finally, the political implications of Oberholzer's phenomenology and philosophical anthropology in the apartheid years, the present as well as the future. <![CDATA[<b>Congregational analysis revisited</b>: <b>empirical approaches</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100033&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The research problem of concern here is: What criteria should be used when congregations are analysed? Congregations as faith communities are defined variously. Discerning the local congregation as a defined and as an empirical subject plays a major role in answering the research question. The theological points of departure are that any measure of a local congregation has to deal with issues like faithfulness to the gospel and the missional identity and integrity of the congregation as a contextual faith community. The hypothesis is that, when theologically informed and motivated, congregations can and should be analysed in the process of continuing reformation. This article describes a number of approaches to and outcomes of empirical research related to congregational analysis. Follow-up research to be submitted for publication will deal with the missional identity, the ministerial role-fulfilment of the congregation, and a proposal to analyse these in a way that is theologically faithful and contextually relevant. <![CDATA[<b>Towards a new natural theology based on horizontal transcendence</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100034&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en This article explores a context for designing a new natural theology. The starting point is that traditional developments in this regard, from Augustine to Aquinas, Paley, Boyle and Barth, do not get us much further. Our thinking reflects our world - a world which has changed dramatically under modern and postmodern influences, especially those of the sciences. A new natural theology is simply an account of nature and creatureliness with due regard to scientific advances. Consequently natural theology today must start 'from below' with a new anthropology that reflects the worldview of our time. As a result the article rejects absolute transcendence, replacing it with a horizontal transcendence that accords with humans' biological makeup and with present-day scientific thinking. In the framework of horizontal transcendence the pivotal problem of the human condition is no longer death, but life. This has radical implications for theological thinking. The example used in the article is the impact this has on Paul's theological method. Examples of theology centring on the problem of life are discussed briefly with reference to Girard, Žižek and Vattimo. <![CDATA[<b>Pastoral care with traumatised youth, the 'scapegoat' model, and Jesus as role model</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100035&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Existing research shows that adolescents are victimised and traumatised more often than adults. Many a time it is left to pastoral counsellors to assist such traumatised youth to overcome such experiences. This article therefore aims to empower pastors in this task with reference to the insights of René Girard. As violence is inherent to traumatic experiences, two aspects of Girard's insights are pertinent. Girard's notions of imitation with regard to violence, as well as the scapegoat ritual can be useful to pastors who want to guide adolescents through their trauma. Girard's contribution has been widely acknowledged and used by theologians in their hermeneutical and theological endeavours. This article now applies these insights to the field of Practical Theology. In theology, Jesus has become both the 'role model' and the 'scapegoat'. This article applies both these aspects of Jesus' life to pastoral care with traumatised youth. <![CDATA[<b>A canonical-literary reading of Lamentations 5</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100036&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en This article presents a canonical and literary reading of Lamentations 5 in the context of the book of Lamentations as a whole. Following the approach by Vanhoozer (1998, 2002) based on speech-act theory, the meaning of Scripture is sought at canonical level, supervening the basic literary level. In Lamentations, as polyphonic poetic text, the speaking voices form a very important key for the interpretation of the text. In the polyphonic text of Lamentations, the shifting of the speaking voices occurs between Lamentations 1 and 4. Lamentations 5 is monologic. The theories of Bakhtin (1984) are also used to understand the book of Lamentations. In this book, chapter 5 forms the climax where Jerusalem cries to God. We cannot, however, find God's answer to this call in Lamentations; we can find it only within the broader text of the Christian canon. <![CDATA[<b>Acute trauma, and Rudolf Otto's psychology of religion theory as means for healing</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100037&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Empirical studies confirm that quantitative research is limited as far as the analysis, description and explanation of traumatic experiences are concerned. It is after all virtually impossible to quantify emotions. This article aims to overcome this obstacle by applying Rudolf Otto's theory of psychology of religion, and more specifically his theory on the transformation of fear (tremens) into awe (fascinans), to pastoral care with traumatised persons. Trauma is the internal experience of an external event, and causes fear and alienation. In psychology of religion, fear pertains to alienation from God and fellow believers, whereas awe refers to the emotionally laden response to transcendence. Moving from fear to awe leads to wholeness within a person, and peace in human interactions. Wholeness overcomes alienation, and facilitates respect for God and fellow human beings. Both fear and awe belong to what Otto calls the 'numinous', which is conceptualised in terms of pastoral care in this article. <![CDATA[<b>Aspects of reformed missiology in Africa</b>: <b>a contribution to a German Lutheran debate</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100038&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The article is based on a paper delivered at a Lutheran Missionary Conference in Bleckmar, Germany. The request was to give an overview of the development and the state of Reformed missiology with special reference to South Africa in order to stimulate the missiological debate in the German-Lutheran church. Within the space of an hour, one could only concentrate on the struggles and concerns of one's own church and its missionary institute. The border lines of the article are laid down by the major themes of Reformed theology and missiology, such as 'the Word alone', 'conversion', 'the formation of congregations', 'the glory of God' and 'ongoing reformation'. Readers are introduced to a few Reformed missiologists who had a decisive influence on the development of Reformed missiology, such as Gisbertus Voetius, Hendrik Kraemer, Arnoldus van Ruler, Johannes Verkuyl and Jürgen Moltmann. The initial Lutheran audience was informed about the self-caused problems in the Reformed tradition. Both the audience and the readership are cautioned not to withdraw from the basic Lutheran theologoumena, such as the 'two-kingdom theory'. The next decade will be a decisive period for the missionary efforts of the churches. Ecumenical solidarity and cooperation will be needed to work out new strategies whereby churches will be enabled to continue with missionary work on a new financial basis. <![CDATA[<b>Metaphorical bridge-building for promoting understanding and peaceful coexistence</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100039&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en After briefly sketching the tumultuous nature of life in modern societies, the author calls on the reader to imagine for him- or herself the construction of a metaphorical traffic intersection that would enable those who make use of it to 'fly over' all the mayhem and disturbances. The proposed 'flyover' consists of three sub-structures or 'bridges', namely social capital, spirituality and education. A discussion of each of these sub-structures is followed by a discussion of the combination of all three in a virtual flyover that could contribute to a world characterised by greater understanding, respect, tolerance and peaceful coexistence. <![CDATA[<b>Intertextuality</b>: <b>encyclopedia and archaeology: Matteus's presentation of Jesus as saviour</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100040&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en This essay aims to explore and to apply what Gérard Genette refers to as kinds of transtextual relationships and what Ulrich Luz, in his application of these insights to the Gospel of Matthew, calls the encyclopaedia of the author or the original readers. The former enterprise entails exploring intertextuality at the synchronic level and the latter examines intertextuality at the diachronic level. The first pertains to Matthew's pretexts. The second enterprise entails an engagement with pragmatical aspects such as the context of the intended readers and the sedimentation of prior texts designated by the notion intertextuality. In this article the pragmatical aspects concern a discussion of the manner in which the first readers could be addressed by the pretexts of the use of the word sōzō ('to save'). It consists of three parts. The first represents a concise reflection on criteria and methods relevant to an investigation of intertextuality. The second exemplifies the 'encyclopedia' of Matthew's intertextuality, that is 'intertext', 'paratext', 'hypertext', 'hypotext', 'architext', and 'metatext'. The third part discusses the pretexts of the various occurrences of the word sōzō in Matthew. <![CDATA[<b>Flanked by cathedrals and castles</b>: <b>theology and its political problem</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100041&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en This article is a reflection on the theological-political problem (i.e. the question about the relationship between religion and politics) in modern society. It presupposes that this problem was created by modernism. Because modernism distinguished in a reductive fashion between religion and politics, modern society was left with the burning question of how to mediate between them. The first part of the article focuses on a critical appraisal of the modern distinction. In different sub-sections it is argued that the modern distinction led to a reduction in meaning of both the religious and the political. However, the modern distinction cannot be maintained. Contrary to the modern distinction it is argued that the political is always already infiltrated by the theological. Modernism cannot deliver on its promises. In the concluding section the argument is raised that the theological-political problem can be addressed if we as are willing to listen to the voice of tradition. According to tradition, desire (eros) reaches out from the lowest to the highest levels of reality. The relationship between the political and the theological is inscribed within the erotic curve of desire. While eros reaches out to and also finds fulfilment in active political participation, this does not represent the end of its journey. Eros even reaches further, to the transcendent realms of philosophical contemplation and theological wisdom. In the concluding sections it is argued that both the political and the religious can again be experienced as glorious phenomena due to their erotic mutuality. Their mutuality is not (pace modernism) an argument against their own integrity, but precisely an argument in favour thereof. <![CDATA[<b>Beyond Divine Command Theory</b>: <b>moral realism in the Hebrew Bible</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100042&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Philosophical approaches to ancient Israelite religion are rare, as is metaethical reflection on the Hebrew Bible. Nevertheless, many biblical scholars and philosophers of religion tend to take it for granted that the biblical metaethical assumptions about the relation between divinity and morality involve a pre-philosophical version of Divine Command Theory by default. In this paper the author challenges the popular consensus with several arguments demonstrating the presence of moral realism in the text. It is furthermore suggested that the popular consensus came about as a result of prima facie assessments informed by anachronistic metatheistic assumptions about what the Hebrew Bible assumed to be essential in the deity-morality relation. The study concludes with the observation that in the texts where Divine Command Theory is absent from the underlying moral epistemology the Euthyphro Dilemma disappears as a false dichotomy. <![CDATA[<B>Interpreting the parables of the Galilean Jesus</B>: <B>a social-scientific approach</B>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100043&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en This article proposes a methodology for interpreting the parables of Jesus. The methodology put forward has as starting point two convictions. Firstly, the difference between the context of Jesus’ parables as told by Jesus the Galilean in 30 CE and the literary context of the parables in the gospels has to be taken seriously. Secondly, an effort has to be made to at least try to avoid the fallacies of ethnocentrism and anachronism when interpreting the parables. In an effort to achieve this goal it is argued that social-scientific criticism presents itself as the obvious line of approach. Operating from these two convictions, the method being proposed is explained by using 12 statements (or theses) which are discussed as concisely and comprehensively as possible. It is inter alia argued that the central theme of Jesus’ parables was the non-apocalyptic kingdom of God, that the parables are atypical stories (comparisons), and that the parables depict Jesus as a social prophet. <![CDATA[<b>Down memory lane to a better future</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100044&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en In the body of research on an ethics of forgiveness, scholars differ about the place of remembrance in the act of forgiveness. One line of thought follows the argument of the philosopher Nietzsche, who maintained that people cannot live in the present when they are prisoners of the past. Without forgetting, the human species would have to relive the past continuously, and would never live in the present moment. Without forgetting, there can be no future. An opposite opinion follows the argument of Wiesel, who said that he discovered that only memory could help him to reclaim his humanity after the inhumanity of the Holocaust. What is therefore the relation between forgiveness and forgetfulness? This article deals with this question from a Christian ethical perspective. With a biblical-theological hermeneutical model as angle of approach, the investigation focuses on the evidence provided, in this regard, by the institution and meaning of the relevant feasts in the biblical history. These are the Passover, the Feast of the Huts, the Feast of Purim and the Lord's Supper. The study reaches the conclusion that remembrance is an essential part of forgiveness, and should be a core ingredient in socio-political transition. <![CDATA[<b>Interpersonal transformation of pastors</b>: <b>the paradox of emosional trauma as source to healing</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100045&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en This article reflects upon the way in which the interplay between reason and emotion influences pastors' lives and ministry. It studies the process of inner transformation as a meaningful way for pastors to become 'healed healers'. Inner transformation is described in terms of Aristotle's phronēsis and Paul Ricoeur's movement from mimēsis¹ to mimēsis³. The article agrues that 'healing' in no way purports that pastors are able to heal others in a literal sense, but merely that by being conscious of their own wounds, pastors can experience the paradox that their own wounds could become a source of healing. This approach to woundedness is interpreted from two distinct perspectives. Firstly, it is seen from the perspective of Jesus as the human face of God. Jesus' emotional disposition towards the nobodies of his time is seen as paradigmatic for pastors' relationships with others. Secondly, woundedness is seen within the context of the metaphor of the wounded healer as narrated in ancient Greek mythology, and used by Carl Jung in a psychiatric setting. It is not only pastors' knowledge of the Bible, theological tradition and different pastoral and other therapeutic theories, models and methods that facilitates meaningful interaction between themselves and others. Central to pastors' role as wounded healers is their conscious acknowledgement of their own humanity and therefore their own woundedness. <![CDATA[<b>A theological reflection on the stories of police officers working under a new constitution</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100046&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Fighting crime in the new South Africa has taken on new challenges under a new constitution. Using a narrative approach to research, the stories of police officers were listened to and reflected upon theologically. This process was carried out within a postfoundationalist and social constructionist paradigm that enabled further dialogue with other disciplines, seeking common ground as well as points of difference. <![CDATA[<b>'Electricity is running through my veins'</b>: <b>the symbiosis between humankind and technology in Marshall McLuhan's media theory</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100047&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en In contrast to a widespread technical-mathematical media model that reduces electronic media to transmission channels, thereby making information into a quantifiable commodity, Canadian media theorist Marshall McLuhan, as early as the 1960s and 1970s, revealed the complex nature of the media irrespective of the contents that it conveyed. According to McLuhan, the media is an extension of the human body that expands human agency, but nevertheless leads to the 'amputation' of extended body parts. In this way, the medium becomes a constituent part of the body, while thereby taking on human qualities. Following McLuhan's media theory, this article reveals the symbiosis between technology and the human body and emphasises the significance of the artist for comprehending contemporary medial-technological reality and for overcoming the challenges that such a reality poses. <![CDATA[<b>When patrons are not patrons</b>: <b>a social-scientific reading of the rich man and Lazarus (Lk 16:19-26)</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100048&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en 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. <![CDATA[<b>The development of the human consciousness</b>: <b>the postmodern quest for God</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100049&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en This article critically reflects upon 'emerging Christians' - those who have departed from a premodern (theistic) and modernist (secular) view of reality, and have rather embraced postmodernity in response to the cognitive dissonance they experience due to a clash of epistemological paradigms. The article discusses psychological theories on the development of human consciousness, and describes seven levels or stages of such development, namely the archaic, magical, mythological, rational, pluralistic, holistic and transpersonal levels. The article focuses on Ken Wilber's integral psychological theory, better known as AQAL (All Quadrants, All Levels and All Lines), which also covers the internal and external dimensions of human consciousness, including an integral view on the so-called 'states of human consciousness'. In doing so, the article aims to contribute to that aspect of pastoral care that focuses on psychological theory. <![CDATA[<b>Augustine, his sermons, and their significance</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100050&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Augustine's sermons provide a unique source in explaining his influence from the 5th century onwards as a theologian and pastor, a minister of the Word preached and celebrated in the sacrament. Of particular value in this regard are his sermons on the Psalms. Issues of authenticity are also considered in this article. The influence of Augustine's sermons was widespread through their tradition and adaptation by others. A substantial and reliable corpus of his sermons is available today. As a pastor, Augustine was anxious to challenge heresy in his preaching, especially to confront the Donatists, Manichaeans and Pelagians. His preaching is considered in the wider context of congregational worship with its origins in the synagogue. Of special importance are his preaching techniques, while his doctrine of 'the inner teacher' (magister interior) is equally significant. Essential elements of Augustine's theory and practice became influential in the early days of the Protestant Reformation (Luther, Calvin and others). The author briefly touches on the question of their relevance for today's congregational worship. <![CDATA[<b>The development of the human consciousness</b>: <b>theories of the development of human consciousness - discovering the 'mystery of the soul'</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100051&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en A number of theories on the development of human consciousness have tried to incorporate all views on the subject into one integral theory. However, Ken Wilber is the first philosopher who managed to combine the external with the internal fields of study. Using Wilber's integral theory, a number of researchers developed their own theories in their field of speciality. Jim Marion used Wilber's development theory to show the evolution of consciousness from a Christian perspective. Steve McIntosh, an integral philosopher, takes Wilber's ideas further, and even criticises him on a few points. Another important researcher following Wilber is Andre Marquis, who developed an integral questionnaire to help pastors gauge clients' problems. James Fowler, Clare Graves and Bill Plotkin also researched the evolution of human consciousness. This article examines each of these researchers, and concludes with a glance at several viewpoints on the soul and the mystical union with God. <![CDATA[<b>Interpreting the parables of the Galilean Jesus</b>: <b>a social-scientific approach</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100052&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en This article proposes a methodology for interpreting the parables of Jesus. The methodology put forward has as starting point two convictions. Firstly, the difference between the context of Jesus' parables as told by Jesus the Galilean in 30 CE and the literary context of the parables in the gospels has to be taken seriously. Secondly, an effort has to be made to at least try to avoid the fallacies of ethnocentrism and anachronism when interpreting the parables. In an effort to achieve this goal it is argued that social-scientific criticism presents itself as the obvious line of approach. Operating from these two convictions, the method being proposed is explained by using 12 statements (or theses) which are discussed as concisely and comprehensively as possible. It is inter alia argued that the central theme of Jesus' parables was the non-apocalyptic kingdom of God, that the parables are atypical stories (comparisons), and that the parables depict Jesus as a social prophet. <![CDATA[<b>The Leuenberg Agreement and church unity</b>: <b>a possible matrix to cross ten seas with?</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100053&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en This article gives a short historical background to the debate between Lutherans and Calvinists on unity. It is important that this debate should also start in southern Africa. The focus is placed on the Leuenberg Agreement of 1973 as a possible model of unity not only between the Lutheran and Reformed churches in South Africa, but also between all Protestant churches which have historically been divided on the basis of tradition, language and race. <![CDATA[<b><i>Descendit ad [in] inferna</i></b>: <b>'a matter of no small moment in bringing about redemption'</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100054&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en This article endorses Calvin's conviction that the 'descendit ad inferna' of the Apostles' Creed is part of the 'summary of doctrine' and a matter of 'no small moment in bringing about redemption' (Calvin 1960:Inst. II, xvi, 8). The reason for this role, however, is not Calvin's metaphorical interpretation of the clause. Instead, the author tries to argue that a scientific theological approach will maintain the clause because of its transcendence of finitude and the proclamation of Christ's victory. The whole of creation is delivered from sin. Proper hermeneutics will take the original socio-historical environment into account and make one suspicious about certain ecclesiastical biases. Spatial terms in the Creed should therefore not be demythologised, but rather be transformed in accordance with the insights of the contemporary physics of time and space. <![CDATA[<b>Is ' divine healing' in the ' Faith Movement' founded on the principles of healing in the Bible or based on the power of the mind?</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100055&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Many people plagued with incurable diseases or diseases that seem to be resistant to medical treatment, in desperation turn to preachers who claim to administer divine healing. These divine healers make certain claims, based on their interpretation of the Scriptures and a so-called revelation of God' s will. They furthermore preach that healing and health are included in atonement and that nobody should be sick. Illness is an indication of a lack of faith on the part of the believer. It could also be attributed to an attack from the devil. In order to obtain healing, a process of ignoring the symptoms, followed by an unyielding and repeated confession of the healing needed, based on selected verses from the Scriptures, is proposed. This article is based on the contention that the healing practised by these divine healers is nothing more than a ' mind-over-matter' approach, leading people into confessing over and over that they have been healed. These practices are reminiscent of the utilisation of affirmations that lead to positive thinking, which will evidently result in a change of behaviour on the part of the confessor. No indication of Godly intervention seems to be evident in this healing ministry, and neither is any submission to the will and purpose of God. <![CDATA[<b>European dimensions in Romanian theological discourse</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100056&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en This article underlines particularly those aspects of Romanian theology that distinguish it from other theological reflections. By making use of liturgical discourse, Romanian theology reflects the ecumenical dimension of the prayers of the Divine Liturgy. It is this specificity that provides Romanian theology' s missionary dimension within the European context. The author introduces the idea that theology is not an academic mission reserved to a group of intellectuals or to the hierarchy of the church; it is rather open to every believer - every believer is asked to be a theologian, to be a person of prayer, to speak about God while being in God. Another point of interest is the God-humanity-world relationship in an era of globalisation, with regard to which the author stresses the need for equilibrium between spiritual and scientific values and that Romanian Orthodox theology is an authentic theology of equilibrium. <![CDATA[<b>Romanian theology</b>: <b>a theology of dialogue</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100057&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en This article offers an overview of the development of Romanian theology through the 20th century, especially after 1989, which constituted a new era for the evolution of Romanian theology. The author believes that the greatest challenge for the Romanian Orthodox Church after 1989 is the one that aims at the reconfiguration of the mission of the Christian martyria within the new forms of religious and social freedom. The author states the necessity for Romanian theology for its own katharsis (purification) as well as the necessity for eliminating the idea that between theology and the other sciences there is a relationship of antinomy. The author firmly states his credo as a theologian, namely the theological theme of deification/theosis, understood either in the way of Saint Paul as ' gods through grace' or in the way of Saint Peter as ' partakers of the divine nature' : homo-Deus. <![CDATA[<b>Consolation as a unique outcome within a pastoral-narrative approach to grief</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100058&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The pastoral counselling of those who grieve, poses new challenges to pastoral care. Because of the shift away from a modernist paradigm, the grief process is now seen as an open-ended process, rather than a closed process that focuses on the mastering of the so-called tasks of mourning, and the avoidance of grief pathology. Recent grief theory suggests that the grief process cannot reach a point of closure. Grief counselling should therefore rather embark on a process of generating new meaning to the problem-saturated discourses surrounding death and loss. Narrative therapy is suggested as a means of grief counselling, as it makes use of the story analogy, which supports the notion of an open end to the grief process. In this study, the narrative is explored within the framework of Practical Theology. Both the master story of God and the grief-saturated stories of people are combined in a pastoral approach that envisages consolation as the unique outcome of the therapeutic process. Consolation is regarded as one of the secondary narratives in the greater narrative of God, as well as in the reformed theological vocabulary. It is suggested that a pastoral-narrative approach to grief will generate the consolation needed by the grief-stricken on their lifelong journey of coming to terms with their loss. <![CDATA[<b>God, the Christ and the Spirit in William P. Young's bestseller <i>The shack</i> seen from a Pauline and Johannine perspective</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100059&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Among its more than a million readers, The shack has empowered traditionalists and seekers among Christian spirituals but has also been condemned for patripassionism and modalism. This article consists mainly of two sections. The first section considers the issue of reviewers of The shack often assessing its religious legitimacy and the value of its message by means of critically questioning its adherence to texts in the Christian Bible. The second section focuses on the accusation that, dogmatically seen, The shack's narrative point of view is heresy, especially because of its non-standard view of Christian dogma with regard to God Triune. The aim of the article is to argue that a great deal of commonality exists between the author of The shack and both Pauline and Johannine mysticism. With regard to their God talk, the author and these biblical writers express more of a present immanent communion with the transcendental God than an expectancy of authenticity that still lies in the future and exists outside humankind's immanent time and space. It is as if they draw the end time into the sphere of the here and now by passionately talking about communion with God as a process of the future, inhaled by the present. By doing so, the God-threesome meet wounded humankind in a 'shack', not in the 'church' as such or 'Scripture' as such as if God could be placed in a box. <![CDATA[<b>A church with character</b>: <b>the perspective of Gerben Heitink</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100060&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Mainstream churches worldwide are experiencing a decline in membership. The well-known Dutch practical theologian Gerben Heitink's (2007) latest book Een kerk met karakte, Tijd voor heroriëntatie is an attempt to address this phenomenon. This article is an overview of his book, with comments from other authors. Although emerging churches is constitute a movement separate from the institutional churches, Heitink still takes the existing church as point of departure. He suggests a process of reorientation and transformation within based on a matrix of eight critical factors. In conclusion, the article evaluates Heitink's model from a personal perspective within the context of the Netherdutch Reformed Church of Africa. <![CDATA[<b>Congregational analysis</b>: <b>a theological and ministerial approach</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100061&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The research problem concerned is: What criteria should be used when congregations are analysed? Congregations as faith communities are defined differently. Identifying the local congregation as a defined and as an empirical subject plays a major role in answering the research question. The theological points of departure taken are that any measure of a local congregation has to deal with issues such as faithfulness to the gospel and the missional identity and integrity of the congregation as a contextual faith community. The hypothesis is that theologically informed and motivated congregations can and should be analysed in the process of continuing reformation. While the first article described the approach and outcome of empirical research, this article focuses mainly on understanding the church as intermediary in its ministerial role-fulfilment. Ministries are modes by which God is coming to his own and through them to his world. Eventually a case is made for congregational analysis as a test of faithfulness to this understanding of ministry. <![CDATA[<b>The woman Wisdom, God, and ecojustice</b>: <b>ideology of the body in Proverbs 8:1-9:18</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100062&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en This 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. <![CDATA[<b>Inclusivism and exclusivism</b>: <b>a study of two trends</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100063&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The identity of the church can be either inclusivist or exclusivist. Van Ruler's theocratic theology views the church as being an inclusive community in service of God's kingdom. It is the vehicle God uses to introduce his kingdom into the world. According to Van Ruler, however, the church also shows a unique character based on its relationship with Jesus Christ. Although the church can take many forms, Van Ruler's opinion is that the Christian Church could be advised by Old Testament Israel in this regard. This study shows that both inclusivist and exclusivist trends are present in the Old as well as the New Testament. The New Testament inherited the debate between these two opposing stances from the time of the Second Temple. Returning from exile, Sadocitic priests propagated an exclusivist identity for the Judaeans. Their viewpoint was based on the programme of Ezekiel 40- 48, as is illustrated in the literature of Ezra- Nehemiah, the Priestly Writing, Chronicles and Jubilees. On the other hand, indeed there was an inclusivist approach as well, as is depicted in the books of Jonah, Ruth, Trito-Isaiah and even Numbers and Joshua. The conclusion drawn from the study is that both exclusivist and inclusivist trends are present in the Bible. Although the church does not have any other option in the present postmodern world but to be primarily an inclusive community, it should also show some form of exclusivism. <![CDATA[<b>Inclusivity as gospel</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100064&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en In antiquity, group identity was based on cultural ethnicity. Groups used their ethnicity to define and delineate themselves as unique. Ethnicity was determined by characteristics like family (kinship), name, language, homeland, myths of common ancestry, customs, shared historical memories, phenotypical features, and religion. The Jewish temple religion and law-abiding Jews in the early church (as depicted in Acts and the congregations of Paul) also used their ethnic identity as argument for justifying the exclusion of other groups/ethnic peoples from the Temple and the early church, respectively. Jesus, Acts and Paul, on the contrary, proclaimed that ethnicity meant nothing when it comes to being in God's presence, being part of the early Christ-followers, or being part of any local (Pauline) congregation. For this reason, it can be concluded that the New Testament bears witness to an inclusive ecclesiology. <![CDATA[<B>‘Covenanting for Justice’? </B><B>On the Accra Document, Reformed Theology and Reformed Ecclesiology</B>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100065&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The essay provides a brief summary of the main argument of the Accra Document drafted by the World Alliance of Reformed Churches and entitled ‘Covenanting for Justice in the Economy and the Earth’. The focus is on discovering and describing the internal structure, the logic and focus, and thereby some of the most important implicit and explicit theological and ecclesiological convictions, suppositions and claims of the document, as far as possible in its own terminology. It then offers a tentative theological assessment, pointing out four very typical Reformed characteristics of the document, including its typical confessional nature and style. It finally suggests some ecclesiological implications arising from the document, again calling to mind four very specific characteristics of Reformed ecclesiology. On the whole, the essay serves as an invitation to further study, discussion and reflection on the challenges and calling implied in the document. <![CDATA[<b>The historical context of the Accra Confession</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100066&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en This article places the Accra Confession, accepted at the 24th General Assembly of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) (2004), within the historical context of the WARC’s struggle for economic justice in the face of globalisation. It moves beyond addressing such issues merely as ethical issues to rather viewing them as confessional issues of faith. It highlights the difficulties of the WARC to reach consensus on issues concerning economic justice. It also shows how the WARC has taken the lead in the ecumenical movement by engaging a broad spectrum of people - professionals and non-professionals, from the North and the South, rich and poor - to ensure that such a confession is a true reflection of the experiences of people at grass-roots level and that it speaks from the heart. The Accra Confession challenges Christians to take a faith stance on economic injustice. <![CDATA[<b>Theological remarks on the Accra Confession</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100067&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en This article provides a critical evaluation of the Accra Confession (WARC 2004). The misery in various regions of the southern hemisphere poses an extreme ethical challenge for the Christian faith; the outcry for justice should not be left unheeded. It is necessary that the causes of this misery should be clearly described before viable strategies for overcoming it can be developed. The Accra Confession seems to be rather one-dimensional in its evaluation of reality. The ethical charge implied by the term 'confession' is of little use when dealing with complex global fields of action that only rarely allow a simple equation of cause and reaction. It is not so much a 'confession' (or Bekenntnis) that is needed but rather a renewed discussion among all concerned on the best ways to achieve more justice. <![CDATA[<B>Economic globalisation and economic justice</B>: <B>covenanting for action between the Reformed churches of South Africa and Germany</B>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100068&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The premise of this article is that ethical moral formation or ‘covenanting for justice’ leads to action. The covenanting church itself, in conjunction with other movements, works for justice in all areas of life. The article uses the six aspects of ethical moral formation of Heinz Tödt to analyse some aspects of economic globalisation in order to form moral judgements that will lead to joint action. These six aspects are: assessing the problem as a moral issue; analysing the problem to determine to what extent it challenges the affected; weighing different behavioural responses to the problem; ascertaining what norms, goods and perspectives could play a role in the different moral choices; communicating ethical decisions to stakeholders; and the moral decision and actions themselves. <![CDATA[<B>Power and insecurity</B>: <B>the politics of globalisation</B>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100069&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Globalisation is presented by some as an inevitable force of history. However, it is very much the result of political and policy decisions made by powerful elites to advance their interests. Globalisation is not a benign, neutral process, but ideologically driven in the service of the rich and powerful. This ideology is neo-liberalism, which, in the name of ‘competition’ and ‘efficiency’, pursues a world in which the ‘market’ reigns over society. The impoverishment of Africa is a consequence of processes begun by political decisions in international organisations in which the odds are stacked against the South. Because of power imbalances, rules are made that disadvantage poor nations. Thus, international agreements have unequal outcomes. This article examines the effects of such decisions through the prism of the decimation of the clothing industry in South Africa. The article concludes with an exposition on insecurity as the leitmotif of the era. <![CDATA[<B>International financial markets and development</B>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100070&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The current financial crisis has not come about by chance. It is the result of a system that has emerged over the last 30 years and which Keynes may well have called the ‘casino economy’. The dominance of finance over real economy characterises the financial crisis, while finance itself is dominated by the all-encompassing target of maximum profit at all times. Other aims of economic activity such as job creation, social welfare and development have fallen by the wayside. In response, new actors are surfacing, e.g. the institutional investor (hedge funds, private equity funds, etc.), while new instruments are leading to highly leveraged and destabilising derivatives. The casino system has been promoted by governments and intergovernmental institutions to liberalise and deregulate financial markets. Although developing countries have not participated in the casino system, they have been suffering most from the spill-over into the real economy. The main lesson learnt is that the casino has to be closed. <![CDATA[<B>Is an ethical <I>status confessionis</I> possible?</B>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100071&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en This article argues that it is possible to declare a status confessionis on account of ethical issues. Discussions of the last 50 years confirm this. The article clarifies under what circumstances a status confessionis may be declared. It is always necessary to indicate clearly that the confession of the church is affected by the ethical situation in question. It is not sufficient to give a general reference to the gospel or to the teaching of Christ as the reason for declaring a status confessionis. <![CDATA[<B>Economic and social ethics in the work of John Calvin</B>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100072&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en John Calvin and Reformed Protestantism interlinked questions of life and death with questions of faith. Not only faith and the church, but life in general call for constant renewal through the word of God. These processes of renewal incorporate society and the economy. In contrast to the popular assertion that Calvin and Calvinism are responsible for capitalism and its aberrations, Calvin in particular shows a deep sensibility for human beings trapped in economic deprivation. In his sermons Calvin exhorts the rich to consider the poor as ‘their’ poor and to thank God by practicing generosity. This appreciation of social questions within an ecumenical context is demonstrated in the Reformed church in a whole array of charitable services. It will be crucial for the current debate on economic ethics to assess economic processes in relation to how they serve life. For it is liberty, justice and fellowship - as gifts of God - that serve as an orientation and an obligation to be aware of human beings suffering from the negative consequences of globalisation. <![CDATA[<B>The concept of <I>empire</I> as a stumbling stone</B>: <B>aspects of an ecumenical discussion on the theme of empire</B>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100073&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The topic of empire is one of the main disputed points in the discussion following the ‘Accra Declaration’. This article evaluates several points of view from the South and North concerning ‘empire’ and shows how the dynamics of the different contexts have influenced the tense discussions in the churches. A distinction has to be made between the real-political high profile of modern empires and the more metaphorical interpretation of empire as it is expressed in the Bible. The discussion on empire can become a stumbling block if it is not approached with great compassion for the victims of globalisation, a careful sense of the vastly different situations in the South and the North, and an understanding of real-political structures. This article warns against the danger of polarisation and seeks to build a bridge toward a common understanding. <![CDATA[<B>Theological reflections on empire</B>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100074&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Since the meeting of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches in Accra, Ghana (2004), and the adoption of the Accra Declaration, a debate has been raging in the churches about globalisation, socio-economic justice, ecological responsibility, political and cultural domination and globalised war. Central to this debate is the concept of empire and the way the United States is increasingly becoming its embodiment. Is the United States a global empire? This article argues that the United States has indeed become the expression of a modern empire and that this reality has considerable consequences, not just for global economics and politics but for theological reflection as well. <![CDATA[<b>Two approaches to life in the Second Temple period</b>: <b>Deuteronomy and Qoholet</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100075&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The prosaic Mosaic death in Deuteronomy 34 leaves the way of life <img border=0 src="../../../../../img/revistas/hts/v65n1/75img01.gif" align=absmiddle>as constituted in <img border=0 src="../../../../../img/revistas/hts/v65n1/75img02.gif" align=absmiddle>. That is, par excellence: Life <img border=0 src="../../../../../img/revistas/hts/v65n1/75img03.gif" align=absmiddle>is found in words. In Qohelet, another kind of existentialism, in the face of death, is found, namely in the sensual life of enjoyment of food, drink and companionship. These two approaches constitute different, competing Second Temple period conceptions of how to live, despite death, coram Deo. These two conceptions indicate the existence of more than one ethos within ancient Judaic society - a dynamic often lacking in the South African context. <![CDATA[<b>Identity formation in the New Testament</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100076&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en This article is a review of the book entitled Identity Formation in the New Testament (edited by Bengt Holmberg and Mikael Winninge, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, 2008). It is a collection of various articles using intertextuality, literary theory (and social identity approaches), gender studies and postcolonial theory when investigating identity formation in the New Testament. <![CDATA[<b>An immanent approach to death</b>: <b>theological implications of a secular view</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100077&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The thesis of this article is that contemporary people are increasingly ousting death from their consciousness and focussing instead on the complexities of life in a context of horizontal transcendence. This replaces the Pauline notion that death is the fruit of sin and will be overcome if its real cause, sin, is vanquished through the death and resurrection of Christ. The article shows how religions, the state and civil society have abused human fear of death in the course of history. It examines the way science has 'biologised' death and the impact this has on concepts such as soul, the hereafter and identity. Reflection on the hereafter tends to make light of death. The article deals with some philosophical models (especially those of Hegel and Heidegger) that incorporate the negative (non-being, death) into life (the subject). I then outline a model incorporating death into life at a horizontal transcendental level in order to make death plausible. The example cited is Sölle's work. The article concludes with a discussion of some theological implications of an immanent approach to death. <![CDATA[<b>Calvin and mission</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100078&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en It has often been stated or implied that John Calvin and the Reformers in general were indifferent to or even against mission. The aim of this study is to point out that this understanding is not a true version of the facts. A thorough examination of the theology and actions of John Calvin, evaluated against the background of his times and world, reveals that he was firmly committed to spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Lord. Also the theological insights of Calvin and the Reformers not only provided the crucial theological basis to support the future massive missionary expansion of Protestant churches, but necessitate for all times Church mission as a sure consequence of their theology. Calvin's theology can indeed be described as an 'essentially missionary theology'. In the heart of Calvin's theological thinking clearly features the doctrine of justification - because medieval man's concern for salvation needed to be answered. <![CDATA[<b>Calvin's election mix in small-scale theology</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100079&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en This paper shows how Calvin's ideas about the Old Testament concept of Israel's election can be dangerous when they are applied uncritically. The main illustration material is drawn from a context the author was himself part of, notably the South African apartheid theology of Calvinist provenance. The paper begins with documenting Calvin's views on Israel and Israel's election in the Old Testament, moving to a consideration of how this motif was connected to the idea of predestination and construed to become an instrument to defend apartheid in what may be called a substandard theology. It is suggested that a glance at the English-speaking world shows surprising similarities that justify further consideration. In this title several dimensions are present that need to be explicated. <![CDATA[<B>(Re)discovering a missional-incarnational ethos</B>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100080&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en In this article, a few of the elements and dynamics of social movements will be explored. It will be argued that the traditional institutional church is in a critical period in the cycle of movements, where the need for the (re)discovery of our missional-incarnational ethos and the theology of restoration might energise the church to (re)activate the dynamics of movements. The narrative of Jesus and the Samaritan woman in John 4 will be investigated as an example of Jesus's missional-incarnational ethos and of the relation to a theology of restoration. Finally, some challenges for the church with regard to ecclesiology, spirituality and leadership will be proposed. <![CDATA[<B>Nature as creation from an eco-hermeneutical perspective</B>: <B>from a 'natural theology' to a 'theology of nature'</B>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100081&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en For researchers who are interested in the relationship between theology and the natural sciences, 2009 is of special importance. It is now 500 years since Calvin was born and 450 years since his Institution of the Christian Religion was finally published. It is also 200 years since Darwin's birth and 150 years since his On the Origin of Species appeared in print for the first time. Calvin and Darwin are representative of two separate lines which converge in a particular 'transversal space'. Such insights are regenerating light on our search for scientific truth today. Neither the absolutisation of transcendent revelation, nor that of immanent knowledge of nature, provides an accountable understanding of reality. Against this background, the challenge for Systematic Theology today is to conceive of a 'theology of nature', which can be offered as a dialectical third option. An 'eco-hermeneutics' offers a possibility of establishing such an option for theology. However, such an option will, on the one hand, have to deconstruct the reformed criticism of a natural theology and will, on the other hand, have to make serious work of an evolutionary epistemology. <![CDATA[<B>Privatisation of water systems</B>: <B>crime against humanity</B>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222009000100082&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en This article emphasises the importance of water resources, which are vital to the sustenance of life. Water is essential for various reasons: for drinking, for personal hygiene, for cooking, for watering crops, for cleaning our homes etc. One can therefore conclude that, without this vital resource, there is no life. It is for this reason that God, giver of life, gave water as a gift - free - both to humanity and to the rest of creation, so that we may all achieve fullness of life. This article challenges the fact that, because of the insistence of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund on the privatisation of water supplies where the poorest of the poor are unable to pay, these people are cut off from water supplies and are deprived of the right to the fullness of life. The author emphasises that there is no life without water, that water resources are a gift from the creator and should therefore be made accessible to all, rich and poor alike.