Scielo RSS <![CDATA[HTS Theological Studies]]> vol. 71 num. 1 lang. es <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>P.G.R. de Villiers Dedication - A tribute</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>Living in the not-yet</b>]]> This article is derivative of a larger study that discusses God as the centre of an often inarticulate, innate human desire and pursuit to enjoy and reflect the divine image in which every human being was created. The purpose of this article is to affirm the human elemental pursuit, as God's intent, to fulfil this created, intrinsic human desire in the now, or what is referred to here as proleptic, spiritual transformation (PrōST). Moreover, the primary aim of this article suggests investigation of whether individuals must wait for the afterlife to have purification and spiritual transformation fully or largely 'worked out'. That is, the eventual would demonstrate that PrōST, an experience of transformation and kingdom life, usually reserved for heaven in eternity, is greatly available today. <![CDATA[<b>A double-voiced reading of Romans 13:1-7 in light of the imperial cult</b>]]> Drawing on Mikhail Bakhtin's theory of double-voicedness and James Scott's theory of public and hidden transcripts, this essay investigates the colonial context of Romans 13:1-7 with particular attention to the Roman imperial cult. It is my contention that Paul attempts to persuade the audience to resist the imperial cult, whilst negotiating colonial power and authority. It is assumed that colonial discourse is, by nature, a double-voiced discourse in that the public transcript of the dominant and the hidden transcript of the suppressed coexist in a continued state of internal tension and conflict. Seen in this light, Paul as a colonised subject parodies the public transcript of the elites in his own hidden transcript. However, Paul's doubled-voiced discourse finally turns out to be subversive against the dominant culture by suggesting that ultimate honour, fear, and authority should not be due to the rulers of the Roman Empire but to God. <![CDATA[<b>A comprehensive philosophical approach to Qohelet's epistemology</b>]]> An increasing number of studies have seen the light over the last few decades concerning the epistemology of the book of Ecclesiastes. The extant research seems to be limited to try to find a suitable philosophical profile for Qohelet's concept of knowledge whilst ignoring a whole array of topics and theories in contemporary analytic epistemology. The available research thus reveals an 'inside-out' approach that is, reading Qohelet and then seeking to link his thought to a particular epistemological stance. In this study, however, an 'outside-in' approach is opted for that involves noting all the various issues in epistemology and then comparing each with what, if anything, Qohelet assumed in relation to the specific matter at hand. <![CDATA[<b>A Christological approach to poverty in Africa: Following Christ amidst the needy</b>]]> The serious challenges posed by poverty in Africa call for a new approach. A Christological approach to these issues inspires hope. A Christology from above, or 'high' Christology, has much to offer regarding God's looking after humanity. Christ as the one for others humbled himself to give a life of fullness to the poorest and most ill, thereby bringing hope both for this life and for eternity. The approach followed should not lead to the exclusion of people, but rather to an endeavour to meet the challenge of brokenness. In societies where there is no hope left, the Christ of the wounded leads the way to new healing. Christ, verily God and verily human brings us before him in our totality, to be involved in all the needs of the community. The church should be the hands, feet and eyes of Christ for the needy. <![CDATA[<b>When an outsider becomes an insider: A social-scientific and realistic reading of the Merchant (Mt 13:45-46)</b>]]> This article presents a social-scientific and realistic reading of the parable of the Merchant, also known as the parable of the Pearl. The parable is interpreted against the backdrop of two cultural scripts that were part of the social world of its first hearers; a negative perception of merchants and mercantilism, and the concept of limited good. As is the case in several other parables of Jesus, the Merchant is about an outsider who becomes an insider, someone who epitomises the values of the kingdom. <![CDATA[<b>An unexpected patron: A social-scientific and realistic reading of the parable of the Vineyard Labourers (Mt 20:1-15)</b>]]> Many readings of the Parable of the Labourers in the vineyard want to treat the owner as representing God. Knowledge of actual agricultural practices relating to the management of vineyards suggest, on the contrary, that the details of the parable obstruct an easy identification of the owner with God, and that he displays unusual behaviour not only by paying all the labourers the same wage, but by his very intervention in the hiring process. The conclusion reached is that the parable constructs the vineyard owner, typically one of the nouveau riche who lived in cities, not only as a 'good employer' but also, contrary to expectation, as a patron who intervened well beyond the strict norms of economic exchange. <![CDATA[<b>Memory and historical Jesus studies: <i>Formgeschichte </i>in a new dress?</b>]]> In the quest for the historical Jesus, memory studies are seen as an important breakthrough in the study of the historical Jesus and the way forward in establishing the historicity of the Gospel traditions. This article evaluates the claim made by memory studies by evaluating memory studies' critique on the methodology of the criteria approach. In this evaluation attention is given to the methodological points of departure of memory studies, including an assessment of the few examples memory studies thus far have produced in their investigation of the historicity of the Gospels and the historical Jesus. The conclusion reached is that memory studies are guilty of what they accuse the criteria approach, and thus far have not yet offered a viable methodological alternative to the current criteria approach used in historical Jesus research. <![CDATA[<b>Sending a boy to do a man's job: Hegemonic masculinity and the 'boy' Jesus in the <i>Infancy Gospel of Thomas</i></b>]]> Studies of masculinity have shown that masculinity is a socially acknowledged gender status. Rather than automatically attaining such a status simply through physical maturation, boys must 'earn' such status by matching the social conventions associated with masculinity. Boys earn such status through 'doing gender', that is, acting in ways that are assessed by others as meeting gendered norms. Failure to meet these norms can result in suggestions that boys are unmanly. For elite Romans, masculinity was attained through the domination of others, including spouse, children and enemies. Though Jesus is presented as a child in the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, his actions lend themselves to interpretation in terms of expectations for elite Roman males. In this text, Jesus is described as behaving in ways normally associated with hegemonic masculinity in the Roman world. He is able to defeat opponents in violent ways through the power of his word, he is able to teach his teachers, and he is able to provide for his family. Throughout the text, Jesus is described more in terms of an adult male than a child. <![CDATA[<b>Paul's community formation in 1 Thessalonians: The creation of symbolic boundaries</b>]]> This article presents how Paul, in 1 Thessalonians, executes the process of the formation of the Thessalonian community. Using the sociological concept of symbolic boundaries, it is argued that the resources - (1) the kerygmatic narrative, (2) the local narratives, and (3) the ethical norms - that Paul incorporates into the letter take an essential role to promote the converts to derive a cooperative identity from the community to which they belong and to strengthen the distinction between them and the larger society. By providing internal consensus and external separation, the resources serve to construct and maintain the Thessalonian community that is internally united and externally distinct. <![CDATA[<b>Revisiting Mary Daly: Towards a quadripartite theological and philosophical paradigm</b>]]> I was a tenderfoot in feminist discourse when I started my research on patriarchy, feminism, and Mary Daly. In my thesis, one aspect I engaged was Daly's battle with gender issues in Christian theology. From the beginning I was troubled by Mary Daly's views on God, men, and women in her discourse on Christianity. Daly undoubtedly contributed to the discussion on gender issues in the Christian faith, but her focus on androcentrism and her interpretations of Scripture led her to abandon the Christian faith. Mary Daly has written extensively on patriarchy as it is found in religion - particularly in the Christian faith - and how it filters through society. In her critique of patriarchy she set her course to dismantle the facade of a patriarchal and misogynistic God as the root of patriarchy. Daly did not see any positive qualities of the Christian faith and completely rejected other interpretations of a God whose person embraces both male and female qualities. Against this background I will evaluate Daly's post-Christian feminist theological and philosophical paradigm. I propose that Daly has a quadripartite theological and philosophical paradigm wherein there are four main players. The 'Who is who' in Daly's quadripartite patriarchal theological and philosophical paradigm are the patriarchal male, the patriarchal female, the patriarchal God and the biophilic woman. <![CDATA[<b>Honour and debt release in the parable of the Unmerciful Servant (Mt 18:23-33): A social-scientific and realistic reading</b>]]> This article presents a social-scientific and realistic reading of the parable of the Unmerciful Servant. The parables of Jesus are realistic stories about everyday events in 1st-century Palestine that evoke specific social realia and practices known to its first hearers. As recent studies on the parables have shown, papyri from early Roman Egypt provide detailed information on the implied social realities and practices assumed in the parables. In reading the parable through the lens of patronage and clientism and against the background of the relationship between royal ideology and debt release attested in documented papyri, it is argued that the parable suggests that in the basileia of God debt should be released in terms of general reciprocity, emulating the way in which patrons release debt for the sake of honour. <![CDATA[<b>Reframing Paul's sibling language in light of Jewish epistolary forms of address</b>]]> Recent scholars focus mainly on Paul's use of 'brothers (and sisters)' or 'brother (and sister)' in Greco-Roman epistolary conventions and cultural backdrops. However, Jewish dimensions (particularly ethnic dimensions) of Paul's sibling language still remain unexplored in current scholarship. Furthermore, scholars have not drawn much attention to how Jewish letter writers use sibling terms in their letters. This article offers a new interpretation on Paul's sibling language in light of its Jewish usage. We should note that Jewish letter writers did not address their Gentile letter recipients as 'brother(s)'. However, Paul did call his recipients 'brothers'. It is unlikely that Paul employed sibling language without being aware of its common Jewish usage. The author proposes that Paul's sibling language is used in the context of an ethnic insider designation (shared ethnicity), and that ascribing the title of brother to believers including Gentiles signals the re-definition of the family of Abraham. <![CDATA[<b>Euripides's Helena and Pentateuch traditions: The Septuagint from the perspective of Ancient Greek Tragedies</b>]]> In some cases discussed below, the present form of the Septuagint is not representative of how Ancient Greek Tragedies were received by the LXX translators, but of how Old Testament traditions in Greek form were received by the tragedians. <![CDATA[<b>'Cut in two', Part 1: Exposing the Seam in Q 12:42-46</b>]]> This publication argues for the existence of a seam between verses 44 and 45 of the parable in Q 12:42-46. In the process, a case is also made for identifying the second half of the parable (Q 12:45-46) as a redactional addition to a more original first half (Q 12:42-44). The arguments that make up this article form the basis for a follow-up article on the redaction of Q 12:42-46 within the context of the Sayings Gospel as a whole. <![CDATA[<b>'Cut in two'. Part 2: Reconsidering the redaction of Q 12:42-46</b>]]> In his influential 1987 monograph, Kloppenborg identified three layers in the Sayings Gospel Q: the 'formative stratum' (or Q¹), the 'main redaction' (or Q), and the 'final recension' (or Q³). He ascribed the cluster of sayings in Q 12:39-59 to the main redaction. Within this cluster appears the parable of the loyal and wise slave (Q 12:42-46). In my view, some portions of this parable actually originate with the formative stratum. The aim of the current article is to reconsider the redactional make-up of this parable by appealing to Kloppenborg's own criteria for distinguishing between Q¹ and Q², including those of 'characteristic forms', 'characteristic motifs' and 'implied audience'. <![CDATA[<b>African therapy for a fractured world(view): The life of founder bishop Johannes Richmond and the invention of tradition and group cohesion in an African Initiated Church</b>]]> In the book The invention of tradition historian Eric Hobsbawm claims that the process of the invention of tradition serves the formation of group cohesion. The different versions of the life story of the founder bishop of the Corinthian Church of South Africa (AIC), as documented during many years of conducting qualitative field work in this church, are used in this article as a case study in this regard. The article unpacks the way in which the invention of tradition as a process is in this particular AIC currently a work in progress contributing to the formation of a particular type of group cohesion that stretches over racial, religious and denominational boundaries especially by means of the unique liturgical rituals that were influenced by the life story of the founder. The group cohesion that this process fosters is in essence aimed at healing in all its multifaceted dimensions, which includes healing from physical ailments, 'healing' from barrenness, healing from spirit possession to healing as (re-)incorporation of an individual into the larger group, the healing of a nation as well as healing from a dualistic spirit-matter worldview. <![CDATA[<b>The Spirituality of Q</b>]]> The term spirituality is notoriously difficult to define, as is evidenced by the discussions between contemporary sociologists of religion. If there are any central elements to such a definition, they revolve around the search for the sacred, and the view that certain practices or beliefs lead to humans being placed in a position of privileged access to the transcendent dimension. Often such spiritual experiences and insights are the result of practices that seek deeper communication with the divine, or stem from contemplative reflection upon one's purpose in a broader context of universal ontology. This discussion seeks to probe Q for its understanding of spirituality, both in terms of the way the text promotes communication with the divine, as well as offering heightened spiritual experience for adherents to its teaching. In essence, this is an exploration of the way the new religious movement reflected in Q offered its followers contact with the transcendent within the context of everyday human life. <![CDATA[<b>'If those to whom the W/word of God came were called gods ...'- Logos, wisdom and prophecy, and John 10:22-30</b>]]> Jesus' quotation of Psalm 82:6, 'I said, You are gods', a riposte to the accusation that he had blasphemed by making himself equal to God, has attracted considerable attention. The latest suggestion by Jerome H. Neyrey rightly insists that any solution to the problem should take account of the internal logic of the Psalm and argues that it derives from or prefigures a rabbinic Midrash on the Psalm which refers it to the restoration of the immortality lost by Adam to Israel at the giving of the Torah on Sinai. This immortality was then lost again because of the sin of the golden calf. Whilst agreeing that the Psalm is interpreted in the context of the giving of the Torah on Sinai, this article argues that its reference is directed towards Moses on Sinai rather than Israel in general. This accords with the interpretation of Philo and Josephus and other sources much earlier than the Mekkilta de Rabbi Ishmael that Moses is rightly called a god and is assumed to heaven in glory without dying. Rather than deny this attribution of divine features to Moses due to his reception of the Torah on Sinai, John argues that the Torah was received from the hands of Jesus as the Logos. Therefore, Moses's derivative divine features simply confirm the true divinity of the Logos as the expression of the Father. Moses could be called a god because he knew Jesus as Logos and wrote about him (5:45-5:47), but he sinned and died like any mortal. The corollary is that Moses and his disciples lost their status and died like any mortal, whilst the disciples of Jesus who are 'taught by God' and believe in the Incarnate Logos (6:45), have not only seen the glory denied to Moses but are born from above to become divinised as tekna theou (1:12) and do not die. <![CDATA[<b>The rise of China and the time of Africa: Gauging Afro-Sino relations in the light of Confucian philosophy and African ideals</b>]]> The article focuses on Sino-African relations, with specific reference to South Africa. An outline is provided of recent developments as a roadmap for the unfolding of this relationship. The question of whether China's African interest can be seen as tacit colonisation is discussed. Even if these fears are allayed, the question remains whether the Chinese presence on the continent will make a significant difference to African development. To answer this question, the focus shifts to economic models and the Chinese recipe for economic progress. Confucianism was opposed during the cultural revolution of Mao Zedong, but it now forms the basis for Chinese foreign policy and internal affairs. This is briefly investigated. Some Confucian ideas are related to basic African concepts in an effort to find a common ground in Afro-Chinese relations. The impact of secular Confucianism on African spirituality is discussed. <![CDATA[<b>Strive for peace with everyone? Hebrews 12:14 in perspective</b>]]> What sounds like a simple exhortation in Hebrews 12:14 has caused a great deal of discussion amongst biblical scholars. Does the writer of Hebrews command his hearers to strive for peace with everyone everywhere, or is he exhorting them to strive for peace with all the members of their faith community? Both interpretations have arguments for and against. The main arguments of both interpretations are the interpretation of the place of this exhortation in Hebrews, the meaning of the preposition μετά + genitive and the nuance of ειρήνη within this context. This article tries to determine to whom the writer of Hebrews is referring with πάντων in 12:14 by doing thorough exegesis of this verse, and by so doing evaluating biblical scholar's interpretation of πάντων. From this analysis certain implications are drawn for the first hearers and believers today. <![CDATA[<b>Ancient art, rhetoric and the Lamb of God metaphor in John 1:29 and 1:36</b>]]> Biblical scholars have given diverse explanations for the Lamb of God metaphor in John 1:29 and 1:36. Most scholars are of the opinion that 'amnos' refers to the Passover lamb. This explanation is not obvious from the context of the Fourth Gospel. To understand the metaphor 'lamb' or 'amnos' of God, one should understand the transferable meaning of the figure or image. In this comparison, only the vehicle, namely the lamb, is given. What and who the lamb is stays open. It can be anything within the limits of the other story elements that have the same qualities as a lamb. To uncover the communicative dynamics of the metaphor, the exegete must have insight into the meaning and function of the original metaphor. Rhetoric provides a clue for the interpretation of the metaphor, namely that it is a Lamb of God. Within the pericope other rhetorical clues like antithesis and varietas are also provided. These clues are important but do not explain the image of the lamb. In this study, these problems will be considered via another medium, namely Hellenistic art and images and their penetration into Judaism and Christianity during the 1st century CE. Hellenistic and biblical images will be used to give an alternative interpretation of the metaphor of the Lamb of God. <![CDATA[<b>Paul, the peacemaker. On the reception of the Letter to Philemon in the 4th and 5th centuries AD</b>]]> By means of his letter to Philemon Paul attempted to make peace between Philemon and his slave, Onesimus. The theological aspects of this endeavour have been discussed often in academic circles, but thus far little attention has been given to what the practical implications of this would have been for Philemon's household. In this article, this issue is addressed from a particular perspective, namely how this aspect was interpreted by Christians in the 4th and 5th centuries CE. The interpretations of the Letter to Philemon by Ambrosiaster, Jerome, John Chrysostom, Pelagius, Theodore of Mopsuestia and Theodoret of Cyrus are then investigated systematically in order to determine what their views were in this regard. It is shown that they all agreed that Philemon would (or would have no choice but to) forgive Onesimus, and that Onesimus would have turned into a better slave. All of these interpreters agreed that there would not be any drastic social changes in Philemon's household although it does seem as if one of them, Ambrosiaster, realised that what Paul expected of Philemon could have had serious consequences for the relationship between Philemon and Onesimus. <![CDATA[<b>What does it mean to be possessed by a spirit or demon? Some phenomenological insights from neuro-anthropological research</b>]]> The visible growth in possession and exorcism in Southern Africa can, amongst others, be attributed to the general impression in Christianity that, since Jesus was a successful exorcist, his followers should follow his example. Historical Jesus research generally endorses a view of Jesus as exorcist, which probably also contributes to this idea, yet there is no or very little reflection about either exorcism or possession as cultural practices. This article offers a critical reflection on possession based on insights from cross-cultural and neuro-scientific research. The first insight is that possession is not a single thing, but a collective term for what is a wide range of phenomena. At least two distinct meanings are identified: possession as a label for illness or misfortune, and possession as an indication of forms of human dissociative phenomena. In the latter instance, an impression of possession as a mode of being a Self, together with insights about the inherent potential for dissociative phenomena, provides the background to the view of possession as a cultural technique with a variety of functions. A second insight is that the term possession refers to complex neuro-cultural processes that can be described by means of both cultural and neurological mechanisms. A third insight is that in most ethnographic examples possession is the response or solution to other underlying problems. Against this background the role of exorcism should be reconsidered as clear-cut and worthy of emulation. <![CDATA[<b>The renouncement of possessions according to Matthew 19:16-30</b>]]> This article focuses on the renouncement of possessions in Matthew 19:16-30 in terms of three related questions. Firstly, it asks if the renouncement of possessions was, according to Matthew, a general requirement for following Jesus or for membership of the Matthean community. Secondly, it investigates if this requirement did not lead to a distinction within the Matthean community between those who adhered to a stricter ethic of Jesus and those who did not (i.e. between religious virtuosi and non-virtuosi)? Finally it enquiries as to what would have compelled followers of Jesus or members of the latter Matthean community to comply with it? The article concludes that at least some of the followers of Jesus are depicted by Matthew as having renounced their possessions as a sign of their unconditional commitment to him. The Matthean community could thus have been a two-tiered community comprised of virtuosi who had renounced all their possessions, as was demanded of the rich young man, and those who had not. The renouncement of their possessions could have been part of their initiation into the Matthean community and have been motivated by the promise of an incomparable eschatological reward. It further appears that while not all who were considered to be followers of Jesus had surrendered their possessions, all would share in God's eschatological reward if they provided hospitality to those who did. <![CDATA[<b>'The God of peace' in the New Testament</b>]]> Why does the New Testament use the expression 'the God of peace' and what is the meaning of this phrase? In the Old Testament, the God of Israel is often connected with peace, but he is never called 'the God of peace'. Not until the Hellenistic period is this expression sporadically found in Judaism (once in the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs and once in Philo). As for the biblical Umwelt, the gods of the ancient Near East were not very peace-loving, and in the perception of Greco-Roman culture the god of war, Arès/Mars, as one of the twelve Olympians was much more prominent than Eirènè/Pax. However, the expression 'the God of peace' is found several times in the Corpus Paulinum and once in the letter to the Hebrews. This article investigates all New Testament texts that have this formula, suggesting that the apostle Paul could be responsible for the wording. In conclusion, Paul states that the God of Israel desires to establish a definitive peace in his creation through the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ and by finally defeating all powers of evil. This apostolic message further indicates that Christians are supposed to be bearers of peace, promoting a peaceful atmosphere in their environment and in the world. <![CDATA[<b>Josephus, fifth evangelist, and Jesus on the Temple</b>]]> This contribution aims at deconstructing a Christian master narrative that interprets Josephus as crucial support for the New Testament message that the Temple had to become a ruin, in line with the will of God. It argues for an alternative interpretation, namely that both Jesus of Nazareth and Josephus considered the Temple to be still relevant, albeit in different ways. For Jesus the Temple was the self-evident cultic centre of Judaism and a special place to experience his relationship with God. None of Jesus' statements about the Temple in their original context necessarily implies that Jesus assumed that the institution of the Temple would stop functioning in the near future or at the end of time. Josephus's perspective on the Temple changes in his works. The elaborate description of Jerusalem and the Temple in War 5 reads as a written monument of the past, but several passages in Josephus's Antiquities and Against Apion imply that the Temple was still important after 70 CE. Josephus may have reckoned with the possibility that the Temple was going to be rebuilt if the Romans allowed for it. This contribution is dedicated to Pieter G.R. de Villiers, a modest but sophisticated scholar and a good friend. <![CDATA[<b>Jesus and Afro-Pentecostal prophets: Dynamics within the liminal space in Galilee and in Zimbabwe</b>]]> What happens when religious and spiritual interventions are used to explain concrete social economic reality? This study suggests that Afro-Pentecostal prophets in Zimbabwe exist within the liminal context; the prophets therefore function to redefine and contest identities in view of present social realities. This realisation allows for a comparison between the Zimbabwean prophets and Jesus of Nazareth, with a view to draw general conclusions regarding the function of prophets. As contribution, the study fills the void within the studies concerning the religious explanations of socioeconomic issues in view of structures of power. Borrowing from Herbert Marcuse, this study advances the thesis that the prophets attract people by miracles and promises of bliss and, in the process, divert people's attention from directly confronting structures of power and hegemony. <![CDATA[<b>A shepherd-boy: A poem by Saint John of the Cross - critical meaning</b>]]> A shepherd-boy, written by Saint John of the Cross around 1584, is a pastoral poem, a common and widespread genre at the time. Although the poet could have drawn from various sources, direct borrowing does not appear to have been the case. The poem has five stanzas, each consisting of four lines, with eleven syllables per line (a cuartet, with enclosing rhyme: abba). In the superscription the poem is described as a song a lo divino, a poetic transposition that transforms a profane text 'towards the divine', within a Christian-religious framework. A shepherd-boy places itself within this poetic tradition, but in a unique way, because his transposition is not prompted by catechetical interests, but opts for a mystical perspective. <![CDATA[<b>A Trinitarian approach to spirituality: Exploring the possibilities</b>]]> Spirituality and ultimacy are inextricably linked. Underlying the plurality of spiritualities are myriad ways to construe the identity of the transcendent. In a Christian sense, the notion of the divine with a Trinitarian identification is central. The article examines the implications of such a naming of God for spirituality. Attention is paid to the relationship between doctrinal theology and spirituality as well as to scholarly reflection already undertaken on a so-called Trinitarian spirituality. The article suggests guidelines for future work and emphasises that an adequate account should be given of how Trinitarian theology is undertaken as symbolising and hermeneutical endeavour. Some unique features of this spirituality are profiled, and it is argued that a Trinitarian imagining of the divine may generate perspectives not possible in an unqualified monotheistic approach. <![CDATA[<b>Prayer and the formation of Christian identity in Revelation</b>]]> The use of prayer in the book of Revelation is analysed. It is illustrated that heavenly prayer is directed to God, but that Jesus is also the subject of praise in contexts of prayer. Specific attention is given to the relation between prayer and Christian identity, illustrating how prayer serves the formation and sustenance of the Christian community within this world. Prayer also aims at witnessing to this world, thus strengthening Christian identity. Prayer further has a strong eschatological dimension, calling for the return of the Lord Jesus. <![CDATA[<b>Peacemakers as children of God (Mt 5:9): A pragmatic-linguistic reading</b>]]> The article investigates different options of the pragmatic meaning (implicature) of the beatitude in the Gospel of Matthew, 'blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God' (Mt 5:9). It also explores this Jesus logion's seeming contradiction with Jesus' remark in die Matthean mission discourse, 'Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword' (Mt 10:34). The pragmatic use of the concept 'peace' in Matthew is probed against the background of scribal activity in the context of the restoration of villages in North Galilee and South Syria after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem by the Romans. The Pax Romana and Josephus's appeal to the inhabitants of these villages to collaborate with the Romans is described as the context of these Matthean Jesus logia. It argues that Matthew interprets Jesus as a 'Mosaic Joshua' in continuum with the Judaic tradition of Solomon as the 'king of peace', especially 1 Chronicles 22:5-11. The macarism about the 'peacemakers as children of God' is interpreted in correlation with the macarism 'blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted' (Mt 5:4). The article concludes with the finding that the sword motif in Matthew 10:4 does not contradict the beatitude on peace in Matthew 5:9. <![CDATA[<b>Impact of destruction - Introduction to the Josephus Seminar, Theological University Kampen</b>]]> This is an introduction to the contributions of Jan Willem van Henten and William den Hollander to the Josephus Seminar 'Impact of destruction. Methodological questions in the study of Jewish and Christian reactions to the demolition of the Temple' held at the Theological University in Kampen, the Netherlands. The introduction sketches the status quaestionis and the methodological issues in comparing the works of Josephus and the Gospels in reconstructing the impact of the destruction of the Temple in AD 70 on Judaism and Early Christianity. <![CDATA[<b>Teaching Mark through a postcolonial optic</b>]]> This contribution explores the potential value of a postcolonial approach for teaching Mark's gospel. Investigating a number of texts from the gospel, it asks to what extent a postcolonial optic implies a different approach to the gospel, what it adds and where challenges exist. Teaching with a postcolonial optic entails framing the gospel in its 1st-century imperial context and focusing on the ambivalence and ambiguity of imperial rule, investigating texts with attention to hybridity and mimicry in particular. Teaching the Gospel of Mark through a postcolonial optic opens up new possibilities for interpretation and contextualisation, but at the same time poses certain challenges, pedagogically and otherwise. <![CDATA[<b>Jesus the interceding High Priest: A fresh look at Hebrews 7:25</b>]]> According to the book of Hebrews, the locus of Jesus' intercession is found in his role as a high priest. Yet neither the Levitical high priest nor Melchizedek, the prototype after which Jesus' priestly function is modelled, interceded in a strict sense of the word. In a context where prayer is seen as an activity that pertains to the purview of the weak or needy, how then does one conceive of Jesus' intercession as portrayed in Hebrews 7:25? In addition, does it not seem rather incongruous that Jesus at the height (right hand) of power should still be found to be interceding? It raises some theological questions as to the subordinate role of the exalted Christ. This stands in sharp relief to other passages in the New Testament that have used the same background text, Psalm 110, to advance the motif of a triumphant Jesus. The contention of this article is that in addition to Psalm 110 that is explicitly cited and alluded to in the letter to the Hebrews, the servant's song in Isaiah 52:13-53:12 stands behind the high priest motif in Hebrews. The explication of the twin role of Jesus as an intercessor and as an 'atoner' for the sins of the people coheres in the servant's song. The article submits that Jesus' intercession is indeed a continuation of his vicarious interposition whereby he takes the weakness of the people upon himself and stands in their stead. <![CDATA[<b>A theology of the Greek version of Proverbs</b>]]> This contribution demonstrates that it is possible to formulate a theology of LXX Proverbs. It limits itself to a pilot study of three passages, Chapters 1, 2 and 8. A contextual approach is followed and the following conclusions, that have implications for a theology, are reached: 1. 1:1-7 indicates what Proverbs is not, i.e. speculative philosophical ideas 2. Chapter 2 demonstrates that the wisdom is foreign wisdom - the Hellenism of the day 3. Sophia in chapter 8 has a subordinate role in relation to God. <![CDATA[<b>The contextual function of Hebrews 13:8</b>]]> In this article the contextual function of Hebrews 13:8 is investigated. This verse is rather enigmatic as regards its meaning and contextual function. Scholars usually find that verse 8 combines with the immediately preceding and following verses, that is, verses 7 and 9, but the rest of the chapter is seldom brought into play. This article attempts to address this deficiency. It is proposed that verse 8 plays the following role in Chapter 13: It supports the teaching and life of the spiritual leaders, counteracts false teachings, provides stability for the readers' pilgrimage in this life, and serves as the Christological basis of the community's worship. <![CDATA[<b>The 'enigma of Jesus" temple intervention: Four essential keys</b>]]> The emerging consensus, on the intervention of Jesus into the commercial operations of the Jerusalem Temple, speaks in terms of an enacted parable aimed at the temple hierarchy, against the backdrop of the ongoing economic and social oppression of the time. In this article, I consider four essential scholarly insights (keys): The possibility that Caiaphas introduced trade in sacrifices in the Jerusalem Temple; the link between the money changers and Greek-style bankers; the Jewish witness to the extent of high-priestly corruption in the 1st century CE; and finally the presence of the image of Baal-Melkart on the Tyrian Shekel. In the light of the fourth key, in particular, we discover Jesus, like the prophets of old (Jeremiah and Elijah), standing against the greed of the High priests and their abuse of the poor and marginalised, by defending the honour of God, and pronouncing judgement on the temple hierarchy as 'bandits' (Jr 7:11) and, like their ancestors, encouragers of 'Baal worship' (Jr 7:9). <![CDATA[<b>The development of the biblical canon in ancient Judaism and early Christianity</b>]]> A brief account of the process of the development of both the Jewish and the bipartite Christian canon is given. It is argued that due to insights gained from recent textual discoveries, especially the Dead Sea Scrolls (Qumran texts), earlier theories about the history of canonisation had to be reviewed. With the New Testament canon the authors focus on the influence of Marcion as well as the various other factors that played a role in the process of canonisation. It is shown that canonisation was the result of a complicated and variegated canonical process. But in spite of the problems of the criteria used and other factors involved, the biblical canon is theologically valuable and 'well-chosen'. <![CDATA[<b>What has Lapland to do with Tshwane? Ethics as the bridge between dogmatics and historical contexts</b>]]> This article explores the question: what does it mean to do theology in South Africa today? It does so in three parts based on a narrative account of the author's relationship with Johan Heyns from 1972-1990. In the first, the focus is on the reasons for and the significance of the transition of the Dogmatologiese Werkgemeenskap, in which Heyns played an influential role to the Theological Society of South Africa, of which the author was president from 1987-1992. In the second, the author examines the reason for this transition by comparing the role of Beyers Naudé with that of Heyns in doing theology, the one working outside the white enclave of the DRC, and the other from within. He then examines the criticism of Heyns's theology which was expressed by J.J.F. Durand and which gave rise to the title of the article. In the final part of the article, the author reflects on the narrative in responding to the initial question on doing theology in context today. He highlights the importance of social location, of the willingness to transcend boundaries, and the need to regard the task of dogmatics and ethics as an integrated whole in responding prophetically to historical contexts. <![CDATA[<b>Reading the Song of Songs through a spiritual direction lens</b>]]> Research on the use of the Song of Songs in spiritual direction is rare; yet, the Song of Songs (or Canticle of Canticles) is a highly conducive case as it provides in nuce the poetics, lyrics, erotics, and aesthetics of human and divine love which is found nowhere else in Scripture. This article draws on these unique features, integrates the biblical and the experiential, and offers a poetics-praxis paradigm for use in contemporary spiritual praxis. With the poem's metaphorical vineyard (a figurative term for the beloved herself) serving as hermeneutical key, the beloved's experience of love is interpreted through a multifaceted reading that is intrinsic to the poem, namely: eros [yearning]; mythos [searching]; mustikos [finding]; and kosmos [birthing]. In following the inner dynamism and dramatic tensions across the eight chapters of the Song, the fourfold reading traces the beloved's transformation from a neglected vineyard (Can 1:6) to a generative vineyard (Can 8:12). The article concludes that transformation in love is a journey from depletion (the giving away of self) towards deification (the giving of self in love), and suggests tending one's own vineyard as a living testament to divine love and a living sacrament in the world. <![CDATA[<b>Reading John 7:53-8:11 as a narrative against male violence against women</b>]]> Male violence against women is at shocking levels in South Africa. According to Faul, 'A woman is killed by an intimate partner every eight hours, a probable underestimate because no perpetrator is identified in 20 percent of killings', whilst 'More than 30 percent of girls have been raped by the time they are 18'. Reeva Steenkamp's killing by her partner, Oscar Pistorius, came 'the day before she planned to wear black in a "Black Friday" protest against the country's excruciatingly high number of rapes' (Faul). The purpose of this article is to reread a key biblical text regarding male violence against women in order to highlight how Jesus would want us to respond to such violence. The text is John 7:53-8:11. The NRSV: Catholic Edition entitles the story 'The woman caught in adultery'. However, this title is problematic as it can lead to misleading readings of the text, as I will show, and so I have given it a different title, namely 'The woman threatened with stoning'. <![CDATA[<b>Early Christian spirituality of 'seeing the divine' in 1 John</b>]]> Apophatic theology and cataphatic theology both occur in the corpus Johanneum to describe the character of God. Apophatically the Gospel of John and the first epistle of John state that 'nobody has ever seen God'. Cataphatically, Jesus teaches in the Gospel that, 'Whoever has seen me has seen the Father', and in 1 John we read that after the Parousia has taken place 'we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is'. This article focuses on the cataphatic phrase 'we shall see him as he is' (1 Jn 3:2). This investigation responds to the variety of interpretations of this particular phrase, as well as to the interest in the spirituality that it could have evoked amongst the readers of this epistle. In order to gain clarity on the 'spirituality of "seeing him" in the first epistle of John', this research focuses on the mechanisms used by the elder in the text to create spiritualities in the readers, such as the composition of images in the imagination of these early Christians, the dynamic interactions between the reader and the text, as well as the dialectic of pretension and retention in the reading of a text. <![CDATA[<b>Getting to why? Contemplative practice as reflection on intentionality</b>]]> In my experience, conflict and other forms of being stuck or (as it is commonly referred to in narrative texts) 'stuckness' are related to actions, behaviour or events. If we consider a narrative paradigm, they happen in the realm of the Bruner's 'landscape of action'. Efforts at escaping these problem-saturated experiences mostly resort to replacing these actions, habits, modes of operation or rules with a different set of rules, without first reflecting on the intentionality or 'why' behind the actions. Most often this only serves to perpetuate the problem. This article will attempt to show that alternating between various initiatives in the 'landscape of action' provides only temporary respite to the problem, if any; that the intentionality behind these actions needs to be revisited and that contemplative practice facilitate such reflection on intentionality. This is therefore an exercise in reflecting on intentionality or even purpose, that is, a teleological question. This process traverses the dimensions of 'what' (actions), 'how' (methodology) and 'why' (intentionality), referring to the biology of human decision-making in the process of doing so. This article posits that this reflection may be facilitated by contemplative practices such as mindfulness and reflecting on soul. <![CDATA[<b>Contesting history and identity formation in Paul and in South Africa</b>]]> This study compares dynamics in the contestation of history and identity between Paul to post-1994 white Afrikaners in South Africa. In reference to Paul, I am interested in how the followers of the nascent Hellenistic Gentile Christian movement claimed legitimacy as the true Jews, usurping the monopoly of the identity 'true Jews' from the Jews, who believed that they alone, stand to claim the Abrahamic promise. Instead, Paul contested the Jewish history and identity, claiming that his Gentile Christians were, in fact, the true Jews - how so? The analysis shall be juxtaposed, providing a discursive analysis to the Afrikaners, who regularly receive claims that they do not belong to South Africa. Specifically, I look into how they contest the South African oral history, claiming that in fact, they are legitimate and the original inhabitants. The study notes that in both cases, identity is constructed through the contestation of history and identity. Thus, the comparison shall be narrowed down to how history is variably, contested for identity formation. Though living within the same locale, the different social groups interpret history differently and variously, appeal to different conspicuous figures and events as their identity markers. <![CDATA[<b>Reading the near-death experience from an African perspective</b>]]> The scientific study of near-death experience (NDE) teaches that NDE does not entail evidence for life after death, but a study of NDE from an African perspective implies that NDE could serve as a yardstick which supports African traditional beliefs concerning death and resurrection. Using references from Ancient-Egyptian afterlife beliefs and those of the Yorubas of Nigeria, I argue that, for Africans, the percipients of NDE did not only come close to death but are regarded as having truly died. The purpose of this research is to initiate an African debate on the subject and to provide background-knowledge about NDE in Africa for counsellors who counsel NDE percipients that are Africans. <![CDATA[<b>Hendrina Cecilia Kruger's religious mentality profile in her mystical devotional book (<i>c</i>. 1750</b><b>−</b><b>1810) from the <i>Trekboer</i> period</b>]]> The religious views of the Trekboers on the frontier were shaped by pietistic religious literature circulating in the Cape interior. The religious ego-text of Hendrina Cecilia Kruger reflects elements of two streams of pietism: Dutch Second Reformation devotional literature and the works of German pietists in the line of Spener and other German mystics. The cumulative impact of experiential faith in Reformed mysticism and the mystical views of German pietism produced a spirituality of exceptional intensity in the pioneering communities of Reformed believers on the frontier. It is concluded that the mystical religious mentality of the Trekboer pietists exhibited exceptional levels of faith amidst dire physical and emotional conditions on the frontier. In spite of high levels of mystical pietism in her devotional book Kruger remained committed to the basic tenets of Reformed spirituality. <![CDATA[<b>Peace as research theme in New Testament studies</b>]]> This research article investigates peace as an underdeveloped theme in New Testament studies. Its first part documents this situation by analysing the role of the Bible and biblical research in the extensive social, theological and ecclesiastical discourse on war, violence and peace. In following parts the article investigates some recent literature in New Testament studies on peace and evaluates its place in the discipline as representing a reversal of the limited attention to peace and as illustration of the need for more research. In a fourth part the reasons why peace as a theme is relatively underdeveloped, are spelled out, whilst a fifth section investigates the need for and challenges to exploring peace adequately within New Testament Studies. <![CDATA[<b>Aspects of reconciliation in the book of Genesis</b>]]> This contribution investigates the notion of reconciliation in the book of Genesis. The problem addressed is how the phenomenon of reconciliation between human beings happens in spite of, or perhaps because of, alienation between people. Research on the topic highlights three episodes in the book, Abraham and Lot (Gn 13), Jacob and Esau (Gn 33), and Joseph and his brothers (Gn 37-50). This contribution adds a fourth episode of reconciliation that is between Jacob and Laban (Gn 31). In the end, a few conclusions are drawn and applied to current society. <![CDATA[<b>Peace in the Book of Ezekiel</b>]]> The prophet Ezekiel lived in a time when the people of Judah did not experience peace. He was a captive in Babylonia and preached to the exiles about the fall of Jerusalem, and after having heard about the fall, he preached about the restoration of the people. The book does not use the Hebrew word -“’-’•- very often; moreover, the Hebrew word does not always denote 'peace'. This article discusses the use of the word in Ezekiel, comparing it with the other prophetic books in the Old Testament. The word occurs only seven times in the book. In Ezekiel 7:25, it deals with a vain search for peace. In Ezekiel 13, the false prophets are admonished for proclaiming peace when there is no peace. In Ezekiel 34:25 and 37:26, a covenant of peace is proclaimed for the time of the eventual restoration of the people. The fact that 'peace' is not mentioned explicitly very often in the book can be related to the reaction of the prophet against the peace-prophets of his time. <![CDATA[<b>Swords turning into ploughshares is not peace - Peace </b><b><img width=32 height=32 src="../../../../img/revistas/hts/v71n1/Untitled1.jpg"></b><b>in Isaiah 40−44</b>]]> 'Swords being turned into ploughshares' are often portrayed as being tantamount to peace. Peace though has got a more extensive meaning than only the absence of war. Whilst war and destruction is on the forefront in Isaiah 1-39, the opposite is true in Isaiah 40-66. The intention of this article is therefore to demonstrate the extensive meaning of peace <img border=0 width=32 height=32 src="../../../../img/revistas/hts/v71n1/Untitled1.jpg">as it unfolds as a motive in Isaiah 40-66. Because of a lack of space, only the first three passages directly mentioning <img border=0 width=32 height=32 src="../../../../img/revistas/hts/v71n1/Untitled1.jpg">[peace] will be discussed. Even though this discussion will be incomplete, it will reveal that peace is not part of man's normal state, that not everyone will experience peace and that there is a direct link between peace and the rule of God. <![CDATA[<b>Messianic peacemakers: Intertextual relationships between Zechariah 9-14 and the Gospel of Matthew</b>]]> This article deals with images of war, violence and peace and with the role of messianic leaders in Deutero-Zechariah and the way in which texts from Zechariah 9-14 have been interpreted in the Gospel of Matthew. The first section describes the lines of meaning in Zechariah 9-14 on the basis of word fields related to violence and universal peace. The second section discusses Deutero-Zechariah's own position in the development of messianic expectations in Old Testament texts. In the third section, the question is asked how the meaning of texts from Zechariah 9-14 about messianic leaders has been influenced by earlier prophetic texts, and how these texts in their turn have been transformed and updated in the Gospel of Matthew, which contains explicit quotations from Deutero-Zechariah in 21:5; 26:15; 26:31 and 27:9-10. The fourth section summarises some interesting semantic shifts appearing in Matthew's gospel compared to Deutero-Zechariah. Moreover, some critical comments are presented against the idea defended in some recent studies that there is a sharp tension between Jesus's role in Matthew as the bringer of a peaceful ethical message, and his violent and vindictive role at the final judgement. At the end of this article, the burning question is raised whether Zechariah's and Matthew's messages, both of which are characterised by a certain degree of exclusivity, can play a constructive role in modern multi-religious discussions about common roads leading to global peace. <![CDATA[<b>The Spirit (πνε</b><b>ῦ</b><b>μα) and peace (ε</b><b>ἰ</b><b>ρήνη) with God as opposed to the Flesh (σάρξ) and hostility (</b><b>ἔ</b><b>χθρα) with God in Romans 8:6-8</b>]]> A surprising number of exegetes do not address the question to what exactly εἰρήνη refers in Romans 8:6. The rest seem to be divided between interpreting it as an unspecified (eschatological) state of peace (šālôm), peace with one's fellow humans, or peace with God. Based on the textual context, this article argues that the latter interpretative option is best. In terms of metaphor, the relevant target domain here is that of the relationship with God, while the source domain reflected probably is that of diplomatic relations. In addition, peace (with God) here must be understood in relation to the rule of the Spirit, the decisive influence upon those who live κατὰ πνεῦμα (Rom 8:4-5). Antithetically, personified flesh rules over those who are ἐν σαρκί (Rom 8:8). This leads to a disposition of enmity toward God as well as the inability to submit to his law. For Paul being ruled by the Spirit, as a consequence of being reconciled with God through Christ (Rom 5:1, 10; 8:3-4), is a crucial aspect of being at peace with God. <![CDATA[<b>Peace and judgement in the gospel according to Luke</b>]]> Quite rightly Luke is called an evangelist of peace and non-violence. It is recognised in several studies that peace, nonviolence and love for the enemy are integral parts of the message of the Lucan Jesus. Yet this statement cannot be made without criticism. In the gospel of Luke there are many texts in which violence is present, which is incongruent with the message of peace and non-violence. Sometimes there is even violence that is excessive. In many of these texts violence has to do with vengeance in the judgement. In some recent studies the relation of the peace-message of Jesus and the retribution in the judgement is discussed. In this article we first examine the problem of violence in Luke's gospel with the help of Luke 19:9-27. In the vision of Luke the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE is a consequence of the refusal to accept the message of Jesus. To understand this it is necessary to place the fall of Jerusalem in the eschatological timetable of Luke. We see here a certain equivalence between the situation of the contemporaries of Jesus within the gospel and the situation of the intended readers in the last quarter of the first century CE. Moreover we propose to reverse the way the question is put. We do not have to enlighten how it is possible that after the peace-message of Jesus there will be vengeance in the judgement. First there is the announcement of the judgement. After that a delay is announced for the contemporaries of Jesus as well as for the intended readers of Luke's gospel: a year of the Lord's favour. This delay gives room for repentance. <![CDATA[<b>Jesus, Josephus, and the fall of Jerusalem: On doing history with Scripture</b>]]> The destruction of the temple in Jerusalem by the Romans in AD 70 was an unquestionably traumatic event in the history of the Jewish people. By all accounts it was a social, political, and theological disaster. As such, contemporary Jewish figures wrestled with the meaning of the event. This article analyses the efforts by two figures in this internal Jewish dialogue to provide this meaning, namely, the historian Josephus and Jesus of Nazareth. We will see that in both cases the meaning of the destruction was rooted in the firm conviction of the God of Israel's existence and his self-revelation in Scripture. The temple was destroyed not apart from God or in spite of God, but in full accordance with his will. This will, moreover, was judged to be accessible through Scripture, both in terms of its prophetic value and its establishment of a metanarrative - redemptive history - that provided a framework for historical events. In addition, the reason for the destruction was judged by both to be the sins of (certain) people. The major difference between them lay rather in the question of which sins exactly were judged to be responsible. <![CDATA[<b>Abraham Malherbe's contribution to Hellenistic philosophy and early Christianity</b>]]> Abraham J. Malherbe was one of the most influential New Testament scholars of the past half century. He is especially known for his use of Hellenistic moral philosophy in the interpretation of New Testament texts, especially Pauline literature. Whilst the comparative study of New Testament and Greco-Roman material remains a contentious approach in scholarship, Malherbe's work provides important pointers in how to make such comparisons in a meaningful and reasoned manner, by paying due respect to the integrity of the texts being compared and to the function textual elements have within their own contexts. I discussed the salient features of Malherbe's approach, focusing in particular on his study of topoi. One of the most significant findings was Malherbe's emphasis on the dialectical combination of common and individual elements in such topoi, which enabled ancient authors to embed their own texts within the cultural discourse of their time. His approach opens the way to further research of the New Testament within its philosophical context without requiring proof of a genealogical relationship between the texts or authors concerned. <![CDATA[<b>The emerging Jewish views of the messiahship of Jesus and their bearing on the question of his resurrection</b>]]> This article surveys the beliefs of Jewish scholars who have written about the historical Jesus. Specifically, it explores the modern Jewish scholarship on the person and role of the Messiah and how this relates to the study of the resurrection of Jesus. Many of the traditional beliefs about the messiah preclude a discussion of the resurrection of Jesus. However, with more understanding of the background of Second-Temple Judaism, many long-held beliefs about the messiah are being re-evaluated. The three main issues discussed in this article are the concept of a pagan messiah, the death of the messiah and the possibility of a divine messiah. <![CDATA[<b>Genesis 2-3 and Alcibiades's speech in Plato's <i>Symposium</i>: A cultural critical reading</b>]]> The purpose of this article is to discuss some basic problems and methodological steps concerning the encounter between Hebrews and Greeks in the Classical period and its impact on the Hellenistic era. The relationship between the Old Testament and Ancient Greek literature will be examined on the basis of Genesis 2-3 and Alcibiades's speech in Plato's Symposium (212c-223d). The following considerations and models of interpretation can arise from the analysis of Alcibiades's speech compared to M- and LXX-Genesis 2-3: (1) Ancient Greek writers were familiar with Old Testament oral or written traditions through improvised translations. They prepared the way for the LXX and, in their compositions, were in dispute with them although they do not make specific references to the Hebrews and their literature; (2) Hebrew authors knew the works of Ancient Greek authors and used Greek philosophical terminology which they creatively adapted to Semitic models; (3) Both models are possible. One should not rush to any decisions but examine each case individually, in the original language. <![CDATA[<b>'Destroy this temple': Ethical dimensions in John 2:13-22?</b>]]> The question asked is to what extent could one speak of ethical dynamics in the Gospel of John, even in cases where there is no surface level textual evidence for the presence of ethical material? It is argued that through the process of rereading ('relecture'), which is invited by the Johannine text as performative text, ethical dimensions are highlighted in texts where such emphases were not apparent at the first reading. As example the events at the temple, narrated in John 2:13-22, are analysed. <![CDATA[<b>Exploring the function of relative sentences in New Testament Greek</b>]]> The traditional view of the function of relative sentences in the Greek New Testament differed markedly from that in many modern languages. This view was challenged in the mid-1980s and a number of striking correspondences with a variety of modern (and some classical) languages were pointed out, despite some differences. The purpose of this article is, amongst others, to explore functional aspects of the relative sentence against this background, and to provide further substantiation for the new view and some new perspectives in the light of recent literature. The conclusion is that the view of the functions of the relative sentence, as developed in the mid-1980s, still seems valid. The view is also supported to a large extent by recent literature, especially with respect to the relative sentence's adjectival use, despite differences relating to nuances and terminology. However, recent New Testament grammars still distinguish so-called 'conditional', 'concessive', 'causal', 'final' and 'resultative' relative sentences as part of their adverbial use, despite strong evidence to the contrary. The conclusion reached is that relative sentences seem to have the following functions in New Testament Greek, which correspond to their functions in numerous modern languages: (1) Identifying a referent(s) with or without an overt nominal antecedent. (2) Providing background or additional information for a nominal or sentential antecedent in the form of a parenthesis, explanation or concession, or some combination of these. (3) Qualifying a verb with regard to time, location or manner. (4) Functioning as a conjoined sentence. <![CDATA[<b>Fundamental rights and religion: The space between Cathedral and Parliament</b>]]> This history of exclusion from basic rights in South Africa until fundamental rights of every individual were entrenched in the constitution illustrates that respect for sanctity of every person is the basis of the freedom of all the people of South Africa and that all religious communities should protect the Bill of Rights. Neither confessional nor denominational considerations should be put to the fore; the focus should fall instead on the common concern of all religions for the sanctity of the individual. <![CDATA[<b>In search of an appropriate contemporary approach in Christian ethics: Max Weber's ethic of responsibility as resource</b>]]> The article addresses the question: 'To what extent can Max Weber's ethic of responsibility be a helpful resource in the search of Christian Social Ethics for an appropriate contemporary approach'? This question is addressed by, first of all, providing a summary of Weber's famous speech Politics as a Vocation in which he developed his view on the ethic of responsibility; secondly, providing an interpretation of his view; and, thirdly, critically discussing the extent to which this ethic can serve as a resource for Christian Social Ethics in its search for an appropriate contemporary approach. The conclusion is that although some aspects of Weber's view on the ethic of responsibility are unacceptable to Christian Social Ethics, the core of it is commendable. Some of the implications of incorporating an ethic of responsibility approach in Christian Social Ethics are also briefly discussed. <![CDATA[<b>Weaving colourful threads: A tapestry of spirituality and mysticism</b>]]> Given the plethora of research conducted in the field of spirituality and mysticism over the last 30 years, it is almost a superhuman feat to keep up with the explosion of information. Of necessity, in a limited article of this nature, it is possible to discuss only a few salient aspects of the spirituality and mysticism phenomenon and by so doing contribute to ongoing research in this important domain. Contemporary spiritualties encompass the whole range of human experience and new variants are emerging; for example, the relatively recent Contemplative Studies, a cognate and close companion to Spirituality. Crossing inter-religious boundaries enhances studies in Mysticism; natural mysticism is clearly in the foreground; and breaking research in neurotheology sheds light on the nature of the 'mystical mind'. Discussion of the value or otherwise of techniques and methods of the mystical journey continues unabated. Of great value for today's frenetic, Internet-crazy world is the path of mystical silence. By contributing to a discussion of these issues, it is hoped that the threads of spirituality and mysticism will continue to share their colour in a world desperate for beauty and peace. <![CDATA[<b>Spirituality, shifting identities and social change: Cases from the Kalahari landscape</b>]]> Storytelling, art and craft can be considered aesthetic expressions of identities. Kalahari identities are not fixed, but fluid. Research with present-day Kalahari People regarding their artistic expression and places where it has been, and is still, practised highlights that these expressions are informed by spirituality. This article explores this idea via two Kalahari case studies: Water Stories recorded in the Upington, Kakamas area, as well as research on a specific rock engraving site at Biesje Poort near Kakamas. The importance of the Kalahari People's spiritual beliefs as reflected in these case studies and its significance regarding their identities and influence on social change and/or community development projects is discussed. The article thus highlights ways in which spirituality can be considered in relation to social change projects that are characterised by partnerships between local community, non-government and tertiary education representatives and researchers and that highlight storytelling as an integral part of people's spirituality. <![CDATA[<b>'Do not quench the Spirit!' The discourse of the Holy Spirit in earliest Christianity</b>]]> The Trinitarian discourse of the 4th and 5th centuries grew out of earlier developments, whilst at the same time reflecting a renewal over against the language of the earliest Christian sources. This article reflects on the way in which early Christianity thought about the Holy Spirit and developed a new discourse on the basis of earlier, Jewish traditions. It situates the development of the idea of the Holy Spirit as God's presence in past and present within the social history of the developing Christian movement, and shows how this idea was connected to the concept of apostolic succession. Thus, emerging Christianity legitimised itself and its social structures by the theology of the Holy Spirit. Its message was presented as old instead of new, as the Holy Spirit had foretold the Christ event. Its organisation was seen as divinely inspired, because its leaders were thought to be endowed with the Spirit. In this development, the narrative of Luke-Acts has thoroughly influenced the way in which Christianity developed a new discourse to present itself as old. <![CDATA[<b>'Think before you speak': The power of the tongue by Philo and James</b>]]> It is appropriate to reflect on the ability of language in pursuing and establishing peace. This contribution briefly explores the Jewish Wisdom literature, the Jewish-Hellenistic philosophy of the corpus Philonicum and the wisdom genre of James 3 as valuable sources on the power of the tongue. At least five practical guidelines regarding speech and its role in the creation of peace are deduced from these three collections of literature: the tongue might be small, but its effects are powerful; believers' speech should be characterised by truth and honesty; there are times when one needs to speak up and openly; but there are also times that one should be cautious and rather keep quiet; wisdom is needed in exercising the ability to differentiate when to speak and when to keep quiet. It is important, however, to develop the ability to distinguish when to speak and when to keep quiet. <![CDATA[<b>'The day of the Lord is already here' (2 Thess 2:2b) - A key problem to the understanding of the second letter to the Thessalonians</b>]]> 2 Thessalonians 2:2b, that is, the words ένέστηκεν ή ημέρα του κυρίου are a crux interpretum. At the same time their interpretation is crucial for the overall understanding of 2 Thessalonians. Does this text offer a view of early Christian eschatology totally different from Paul's or is it compatible to what we read for example in 1 Thessalonians? The article deals critically with two recent monographs by Norbert Baumert and Maria-Irma Seewann who offered a new interpretation of the passage according to which 2 Thessalonians 2:2 is not concerned with matters of Parousia, but with Christ's presence in the community. It offers an overview of the development of the 'Day of the Lord' traditions in the Old Testament and Early Judaism and shows that Baumert and Seewann's interpretation is untenable. After an analysis of the context of 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 the article develops an own interpretation of 2 Thessalonians' 2:2 in light of a parallel in Hippolyt's Commentary on Daniel. The eschatology of 2 Thessalonians 2 finally, provides an argument for the text's pseudepigraphy. <![CDATA[<b>In chains, yet prophetic! An African liberationist reading of the portrait of Paul in Acts 27</b>]]> New Testament scholars have argued that Luke-Acts presents an apologetic historiography and political propaganda which portrayed Roman officials as saviours of the world. The problem with the discourse on the apologetic historiography and political propaganda in Luke-Acts is that the presence of various forms of oppression behind and in the text becomes hidden. Thus, it is pertinent to highlight the reality of oppression as well as the prophetic voice that responded to them, as illustrated by the text of Acts 27. In this article, Lucky Dube's Mickey Mouse freedom song is employed as a hermeneutical tool to unlock the meaning of Acts 27, and to argue that whereas Acts 27 contains an apologetic narrative, Paul's prophetic voice is equally evident in the chapter. From an African liberationist perspective, lessons are therefore drawn from Acts 27 regarding the liberationist prophetic voice of Paul. In the end, this article sees Paul's prophetic voice as an embodiment of both resilience and resistance in the face of imperialism and chains (oppression). <![CDATA[<b>Celtic spirituality and the environment</b>]]> Celtic spirituality has a long and distinguished ancestry with its origins in pre-Christian times. It was inculturated amongst peoples in the far west of Europe, particularly in Ireland, Scotland and the north and south west of England. It was different from Roman Christianity in distinct ways until the mid-7th century CE when Roman Christianity became the norm in Britain. It has experienced various revivals during the history of Christianity, with two contemporary expressions in New Age spirituality and Christian spirituality. From its inception, it has been closely linked to the environment. <![CDATA[<b>Reliving the past</b>]]> The awareness of the historical nature of our human existence had a profound influence on Old Testament scholarship. The historical nature of the Hebrew Bible was also realised and historical criticism was the result, but in the 20th century there was resistance against this method. This article is an attempt to emphasise the importance of historical understanding as a means of reliving the experiences of others in the present. To illustrate this we focus on the work of Eckart Otto and his exposition of the golden calf narrative in Deuteronomy 9:9-21; 10:1-5*. The importance of his work for us lies in his blending of synchrony and diachrony in the study of the book of Deuteronomy. <![CDATA[<b>The unrealised ethical potential of the Methodist theology of prevenient grace</b>]]> This article examines the unrealised ethical potential of the theology of prevenient grace. It begins with a brief analysis of John Wesley's rejection of slavery as rooted in his theology of prevenient grace. This is demonstrated in the next section which analyses Wesley's notion of prevenient grace. This is followed by a constructive proposal for a contemporary theology of prevenient grace and some ethical implications of this theology, for contemporary social and political ethics, are developed. <![CDATA[<b>Mimesis in Bible Didactics - an outline in the context of religious education</b>]]> 'Mimesis' is a concept explored in Antiquity as well as in cultural history. It also plays an important role in the Bible. In this article we argue for 'mimesis' as a role model for Bible teaching in religious education. In the first part we give some insights into the concept of mimesis, drawing on ancient philosophers (Aristotle, Plato). 'Mimesis' does not denote a copy of a prescribed object; instead, the type of depiction and reference brings it into the present in an intensive, creative and productive way. In the second part we want to give some examples for how 'mimesis' is used in the Bible itself. Biblical tradition can be described as a 'mimetic process'. Furthermore, authors like Paul explicitly use the concept of 'mimesis', for example in his ethical admonition. Thus, the use of 'mimesis' in the Bible inspires directly our teaching on biblical genres, motifs and ways of thinking. The third part gives a draft of how the 'mimetic didactic' works, drawing on parables, Gospel writing, Johannine theology and coping with painful fate like Job. Mimetic hermeneutics transforms tradition in applying it into the contemporary situation. This can prove stimulating for contemporary contexts: mimesis is closely connected to tradition, but simultaneously encourages its transmission into the present day with astonishing variability and freedom. <![CDATA[<b>Mysticism and/in the Old Testament: Methodological orientation and a textual example</b>]]> This contribution is the second in a series on methodology and Biblical Spirituality. In the first article, 'Biblical spirituality and interdisciplinarity: The discipline at cross-methodological intersection', the matter was explored in relationship to the broader academic discipline of Spirituality. In this contribution, the focus is narrowed to the more specific aspect of mysticism within Spirituality Studies. It is not rare for Old Testament texts to be understood in relationship to mystical contexts. On the one hand, when Old Testament texts are interpreted from a mystical perspective, the methods with which such interpretations are studied are familiar. The same holds true, on the other hand, if texts in the Old Testament, dating from the Hellenistic period, are identified as mystic. However, African mission history has taught us that the Western interpretative framework, based on ancient Greek philosophical suppositions (most directly the concepts rendered by Plato and Aristotle) and rhetorical orientations, is so strong that it transposes that which it encounters in other cultures into its terms, thus rendering the initial cultural understandings inaccessible. This is precisely the case too with Old Testament texts dating from pre-Hellenistic times, identified as mystic. What are the methodological parameters required to understand such texts on their own terms? In fact, is such an understanding even possible? <![CDATA[<b>Philo of Alexandria: A model for early Christian 'spiritual readings' of the Scriptures</b>]]> Philo of Alexandria represents a Hellenistic tradition of reading the Scriptures in which reading is seen as a spiritual exercise together with other spiritual exercises, like attention, thorough investigation of the issues, self-mastery, detachment, etcetera (see Her. 253; Leg. 3:18), which has as aim the transformation and growth of the person towards the good and happy life. Interaction with the spiritual wealth of the Greek philosophical traditions was seen as a fruitful asset and challenge. This article highlights some of the key themes of Philo's philosophical or spiritual reading of the Scriptures: the priority of God and of the health of the soul, the importance of human progress, the recognition of one's nothingness in order to know God, the necessity to choose, human effort and divine achievement, as well as harmony with God, nature and the self as the aims of the good life. Christian spiritual writers, like Origen, found in Philo's approach to the Scriptures and in his reflections on the spiritual journey a very inspiring model. <![CDATA[<b>The practice of everyday death: Thanatology and self-fashioning in John Chrysostom's thirteenth homily on Romans</b>]]> The purpose of this article is to investigate the relationship between the discourse of death, or thanatology, and self-fashioning, in John Chrysostom's thirteenth homily In epistulam ad Romanos. The study argues that thanatology became a very important feature in the care of the self in Chrysostom's thought. The central aim here is to demonstrate the multi-directional flow of death, as a corporeal discourse, between the realms of theology, ethics, and physiology. Firstly, the article investigates the link between the theological concepts of sin and death. Secondly, the study argues that death also becomes a highly paradoxical discourse when it enters the realm of Chrysostomic virtue-ethics, where the mortification of excessive passion leads to life, while 'living' in passion only results in death on every level of existence - death as a discourse therefore becomes interiorised, a process functioning as a subset of a more extensive biologisation of the spiritual life-cycle. Finally, Chrysostom also utilises death in a very physiological way, especially in his comments on the relationship between sin and the passions, and one's physical health and appearance (which is also related to the soul). <![CDATA[<b>The (in)visibility of the gods in the Greco-Roman world and of God in Hellenistic Judaism: A comparison</b>]]> The attribute of (in)visibility of a reckoned divine being is one that is not discussed often; it is one of the more obscure attributes of deities and not an easy subject to embark upon. Not much data is available on this subject, and the available information often seems contradictory. This article investigates briefly the references concerning the (iri)visibility of the gods in the Greco-Roman world as well as the (in)visibility of God in Hellenistic Judaism. In order to gain more clarity, the investigation examines what the 'seeing' of the god(s) comprises in the mythology of Homer, the philosophers, the mystery religions and Hellenistic Gnosticism. In Hellenistic Judaism the focus will be on Philo as the ideal exponent. <![CDATA[<b>Reflecting on Jesus' teaching on forgiveness from a positive psychological perspective</b>]]> In its quest for a non-medical, pro-health approach to psychotherapy, positive psychology surprisingly focuses on concepts that are biblical and specifically present in the teaching of Jesus of Nazareth. In this paper, (1) the teaching of Jesus in the synoptic tradition on forgiveness will be compared to recent positive psychological approaches (e.g. McCullough & Witvliet); attention will be paid to the (2) contexts of forgiveness (interpersonal and/or political); (3) the (philosophical) positive or negative judgement on forgiveness as a positive notion (e.g. the Buddhist concept of karma, [e.g. Arendt, Deridda, Wolterstorff]); (4) the (perceived) positive role of forgiveness in psychotherapy; (5) the 'techniques' or method of forgiveness when the latter seems difficult; and (6) the relation between forgiveness and religion or spirituality. <![CDATA[<b>Awakening - Transformation, agency and virtue from three contemporary philosophical inspirations: Bhaskar, Segal and Slote</b>]]> For some, 'transformation' is the new non-reductive and non-normative 'development', attracting attention from interdisciplinary array, but of particular theoretical and practical interest to Spirituality scholars. In philosophical context, transformation theory has suffered greatly from 'agency-structure' dualism and suspension of ontology in body-mind dualism and rationalist virtue controversy. Drawing on the work of Bhaskar, Segal and Slote, a renegotiated and more meaningful sense of transformation emerges from their cumulative analytical and conceptual enrichment. In the complexity of possible relations between self, self-concept and society, lies the traditionally neglected transformative middle of sui-generis human depth. In redress, arguably, Bhaskar's meta-philosophy accommodates Segal's experiential depth analysis and Slote's understanding of empathy and receptivity as valuable insights for 'awakening' to transformative process.