Scielo RSS <![CDATA[HTS Theological Studies]]> vol. 75 num. 3 lang. pt <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Transformative joy in Qohelet: A thread that faintly glistens</b>]]> Qohelet prompted a rich body of work reflecting the breadth of the Old Testament book's appeal. Few, however, interpret Qohelet's spiritual dimension, incarnated in life. I will opt to offer an overarching framework that holds the book together and that was until now absent in the discourse on Qohelet. It will be argued that spiritual transformation provides a fruitful theoretical framework for Qohelet. I will indicate that Qohelet undertook a spiritual journey in which his experiences fostered profound spiritual transformation, and ultimately a new paradigm leapfrogging old spiritual infrastructure and choices. The framework that evolved from this effort delineates four phases, stages or movements. In order to provide clarity and enhance understanding of this concept, the analysis will be done on the basis of the leitwort (or keyword) 'joy'. The findings point to the importance of spiritual transformation, directing readers towards a new spirituality. The article concludes with suggestions on future directions regarding Qohelet as a 'bridge book' to the New Testament. <![CDATA[<b>Q's message to the peasantry and poor: Considering three texts in the Sayings Gospel</b>]]> This article aims to argue that the Sayings Gospel Q has a unique message for the peasantry and poor of ancient society. The intention of this article is to uncover the intended message of three particular Q texts for the peasantry and poor, namely Q 7:24-28, Q 10:5-9 and Q 11:9-13. <![CDATA[<b>Going home? Exiles, inciles and refugees in the Book of Jeremiah</b>]]> Set against the backdrop of the Babylonian Invasion and Exile, the Book of Jeremiah represents a variety of different perspectives on how to survive imperial domination. This article explores three competing visions that can be described in terms of the tension that exists between the pro-golah group that propagated life in Babylon, the anti-golah group that saw the hope for the future back home and the group of refugees who in the aftermath of the Mizpah massacre found themselves fleeing to Egypt. In the current context of global migration, this article considers theological and ethical perspectives generated by the engagement with Jeremiah on home and homecoming in a context where there is no good option. <![CDATA[<b>Self-interest, wealth and the Book of Proverbs in the South African context: Towards a Smithian alternative</b>]]> The purpose of this article is to explore new research on Adam Smith (1723-1790), the author of the classic economic text An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776) and his often-disregarded earlier work The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759). This is accomplished to provide an alternative perspective on the hermeneutics of wealth in the Book of Proverbs, which is often reduced by Marxist approaches as a mechanism to secure the privilege of the scribal classes of Israel. In order to do this, the following terms generally associated with wealth will be studied: ••’– (hôn), •’’•’ (kôach), •’•’– (chayil), –’—’“— (‛âshar), –’—’“•— (‛âshîyr) and –’—’“— (‛ôsher). This analysis aims to determine whether the assumption of Marxist approaches to biblical interpretation is correct to suggest that wealth is mainly the result of the market dynamics that are exploited by the capitalist classes at the expense of workers. It will be argued that there are similarities between wealth and self-interest as proposed by Smith and the Book of Proverbs. This perspective incorporates self-interest and wealth in a socio-ethical system in which justice is paramount for social harmony, hereby providing a positive dialogue partner with Marxism and other economic theories to address socio-economic problems in South Africa. <![CDATA[<b>Creation order in sapiential theology: An ecological-evolutionary perspective on cosmological responsibility</b>]]> This study explores humans' ecological responsibility, firstly from an evolutionary perspective and then by emphasising especially the order and creation theology in the Old Testament wisdom literature. Ultimately, these entities will be connected. The following aspects will be addressed: cosmology, ecology, evolutionary biology and order in the wisdom literature. These concepts are seen by many as exclusive towards each other, but this article will endeavour to portray them as interlocutors in dialogue with each other. <![CDATA[<b>Richard Dawkins, Philip Kennedy and the Augustinian paradigm of Christianity</b>]]> Both Richard Dawkins's book The God Delusion and Philip Kennedy's book A Modern Introduction to Theology: New Questions for Old Beliefs were published in 2006. This article aims to compare the two books and to argue that Kennedy does not oppose Dawkins's views but, in fact, debates along similar lines. Kennedy is adamant that the Augustinian paradigm of Christianity no longer makes sense, because it is based on an outdated cosmology and anthropology. He firmly maintains that Christianity requires a new paradigm, which is informed by our current knowledge and worldview. Thomas Kuhn's ideas of paradigm and paradigm changes in the history of natural sciences are utilised in comparing the books, seeing that Dawkins accepts and works within the Darwinian paradigm of evolutionary biology, and Kennedy argues that Christians and Christian theologians adhere to the Augustinian paradigm of Fall-Redemption-Judgement. It is argued that Dawkins should have referred to the paradigm change in the study of the Bible, which occurred towards the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries, and the plea of theologians, like Kennedy, for a paradigm change in theology. The article concludes that only a paradigm change in Christianity, which is in line with the modern worldview, will enable Christians to keep the tradition alive. <![CDATA[<b>Syncrisis as literary motif in the story about the grown-up child Jesus in the temple (Luke 2:41-52 and the Thomas tradition)</b>]]> Syncrisis as literary motif in the story about the grown-up child Jesus in the temple (Lk 2:41-52 and the Thomas tradition): The article explores hermeneutical solutions for the negative response from the child Jesus towards his biological parents in the Lukan temple story (Lk 2:41-52). The 'wisdom' of the child who acts in an 'adult-like' way is interpreted as a syncrisis. This literary motif is explained by an analysis of the contrasting positive and negative acts of the child Jesus towards teachers of the Torah in the Infancy Gospel of Thomas. <![CDATA[<b>A heretical tale about heresy or when words do matter</b>]]> What came first, heresy or orthodoxy? Walter Bauer's book Orthodoxy and Heresy in Earliest Christianity, published in 1934, seems to have unleashed the demons of scholars of early Christianity. Partisanship has, however, starkly coloured the still ongoing discussion. Denominational and scholarly belonging, as the work of Bart Ehrman and of his opponents like Andreas Köstenberger and Darrell Bock has widely shown, has so taken the upwind and signed this discussion that a full investigation into the meaning and the history of the concepts at hand has been 'forgotten'. The customary and common understanding of the concepts of orthodoxy and, in particular, heresy, are, however, completely inadequate for this discussion. Ignoring the enormous cultural heritage of the concept of heresy (αἵρεσις) - which we intend to unveil in this article - has made for the word-bullets in this historical battle to turn out to be little more than blanks in a sham-war. Time has come to end this battle, which is the scope of this article. <![CDATA[<b>Mapping recent developments in Old Testament theology</b>]]> This article provides the readers with an overview of the history of the study of the Old Testament, highlighting major turning points especially during the 20th and 21st centuries. It is argued that the approaches of Eichrodt, Von Rad, Childs and Brueggemann mark the major innovative developments in Old Testament theology during the 20th and 21st centuries. The article concludes with a number of conclusions based on the overview of developments in the field. The postmodern turn represented in especially the Old Testament theologies of Brueggemann and Gerstenberger is pointed out together with other trends that can be detected from recent developments in the field. <![CDATA[<b>The punished and the lamenting body</b>]]> The 5 lamentations, when read as a single biblical book, outline several interacting bodies in a similar way that dotted lines present the silhouettes and aspects of a total picture. Each also represents action, building into a plot that can be interpreted psychoanalytically to render its depth and colour content. In addition, by focusing on the body and its sensations, this study can facilitate the visceral experience of the suffering of collective and individual bodies by the recipient. <![CDATA[<b>Thou shalt not smoke: Content and context in the Lord's Resistance Army's concept of the Ten Commandments</b>]]> With the Ten Commandments as a case, the overall focus of this article is how a reader's a priori concept of a text influences how he or she allows textual content and interpretive context to interact. The frame of the article is the claim by the so-called Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in Uganda that they will establish a society built on the Ten Commandments, a claim that raises questions about what they mean with this reference to 'Ten Commandments'. The article falls into two parts. The first part surveys some examples from the history of interpretation of the Ten Commandments, demonstrating contextual and terminological fluidity both in their biblical versions and in their postbiblical history of interpretation. With this insight, the second part discusses how LRA refers to the Ten Commandments in ways that demonstrate that the very concept 'Ten Commandments' is stronger than the details of their content. This enables the LRA to form 'new commandments' fitting with their ideology and struggle. <![CDATA[<b>Cain and migration: Opportunity amidst punishment?</b>]]> In the colonial period since 1492, the colonial masters of Europe sent perpetrators within the colonised territories to other colonies where they became slaves - forced migration and diaspora. These slaves started a new life and became, like Cain's children, the ancestors of a few notable families (e.g. in South Africa) - a typical postcolonial situation of creating hybrid identities where East met West in Africa to procreate. The question this article asks is the following: how can one link migration and diaspora to Cain's situation? Cain's punishment was twofold: the earth would no longer yield to him any fruit, and he would become a fugitive and a wanderer (Gn 4:12). It is as if the first logically led to the second in the Hebrew text. Cain's vulnerability had a positive effect, so that later on in the story he seemed to have settled and procreated to the extent that his children became founders of arts, science and technology. The LXX partly solves this contradiction by making Cain physically handicapped with trembling and groaning. Significantly, in both traditions he is said to leave the presence of the deity to live elsewhere where he would not be confronted with either the deity or his parents. In both instances, a migration is clearly taking place with the implication that once being branded a perpetrator one can no longer reside within the community or society in whose midst the transgression took place. The perpetrator is removed from the victims and the latter need no longer confront him or her. This article will subsequently consider the following: the value of migration in the biblical text, the significance of Cain moving away from his clan and deity, and the effect of settling elsewhere. <![CDATA[<b>The 'foreigner in our midst' and the Hebrew Bible</b>]]> On account of xenophobia, which seems to be a worldwide phenomenon, this article examines the issue of the 'foreigner in our midst' and approaches the problem from an Old Testament perspective. Firstly an overview is given on the concepts of ethnicity and group identity, and then two opposing groups of texts are briefly analysed: those that convey an exclusivist attitude and those that are more open and inclusive in their outlook. Consequently, the contexts in which these texts originated are examined. It appears that both groups, the exclusivists and the inclusivists, share the same religious convictions, namely the worship of YHWH, the God of Israel. The article concludes by urging caution when using the Bible in order to address complex social and political issues in contemporary societies. <![CDATA[<b>New perspectives on Old Testament oneirocritic texts via the philosophy of dreaming</b>]]> Recourse to auxiliary disciplines has greatly contributed to the ways in which biblical scholars seek to elucidate various dimensions of meaning in textual constructions of dreams and dreaming in the Old Testament. The original contribution this article hopes to make to the ongoing research on associated oneirocritic topoi is to propose the so-called philosophy of dreaming as a potential dialogue partner to supplement already available perspectives within the multidisciplinary discussion. At present, there is no descriptive philosophical approach exclusively devoted to the identification and clarification of the folk-philosophical assumptions implicit in oneirocritic materials as conditions of their possibility. By way of comparative-philosophical commentary, the article features a brief introduction to the related research within Old Testament studies, an overview of the history and problems of the auxiliary subject, and an illustration of how the new approach might look when applied to texts involving 'oneirophany' (Gn 15:1-21, 20:3-6, 28:11-17 and 1 Ki 3:5-15). The study concludes with a few remarks on the limits of the proposal and suggestions for more extensive and in-depth future research in related and alternative areas. <![CDATA[<b>Men serving long-term sentences in Zonderwater Correctional Centre, South Africa: Religious identity and behavioural change</b>]]> This article retrieves the voices of a group of incarcerated men speaking on their religious identity and the behavioural changes ensuing from their religious choices. Research data were collected over a 10-month period from participants that consisted of a group of 30 male offenders serving life or long-term sentences at the Correctional Centre A, Zonderwater Management Area in Cullinan near Pretoria, South Africa. Qualitative research by means of an interview schedule invited offenders to share their thoughts on how their religious beliefs and experiences served as a support system during incarceration. Insight was gained into how religious identities were established to maintain a sense of belonging and hope during this period. The study embraces the Social Identity Theory that departs from the premise that individuals have multiple identities associated with the environment they live and operate in. Interpretative phenomenological analysis was used to understand the shaping of religious identity within the four themes that were identified: conserving identities; accommodating identities; contra-identities; and change of behaviour, attitudes and values. Research on religious identities operationalising into behavioural change provides knowledge to disciplines such as psychology, sociology and theology, and assists the correctional services in understanding the complex and dynamic nature of offenders when they voice themselves outside of their crimes. <![CDATA[<b>Reconsidering Deuteronomy 26:5-11 as a 'small historical creed': Overtures towards a 'migrant reading' within the Persian period</b>]]> Against the backdrop of recent scholarship related to Deuteronomy 26:5-11, the influential hypothesis formulated by Gerhard von Rad that this verse entails a 'small historical creed' will be re-evaluated. In addition to recent Old Testament scholarship, attention will be paid to migrant theory and a rereading of 26:5-11. It will be suggested that this 'creed' addressed the identity concerns of returning migrants or exiles from Babylon, as well as the peasant farmers who remained behind in Palestine. Thus, the creed is not understood as an early cultic starting point of a theological tradition, but as a later synthesising framework that responded to theological challenges and tensions prevalent in Persian Yehud. <![CDATA[<b>Contextuality and the Septuagint</b>]]> This article will emphasise that the time has arrived for another phase in LXX research that goes beyond text-critical studies. Studying the Septuagint entails dealing with translated literature, which requires an appropriate methodology. The truth of the matter is that the Septuagint (the Old Greek) is a translation of a translation. Therefore, translation studies (TS) come into play. It is, moreover, important to determine the translation technique followed by a translator, which should be done in conjunction with TS. Finally, in order to understand the Septuagint (the exegesis of the LXX), addressing issues of contextuality is a sine qua non. The Septuagint version of Proverbs is used as a case study. This article will argue that the context in which this translated unit came into being was an apocalyptic one, inter alia, because of the devastating reforms of Antiochus Epiphanes. <![CDATA[<b>'The barbarians themselves are offended by our vices': Slavery, sexual vice and shame in Salvian of Marseilles' <i>De gubernatione Dei</i></b>]]> The purpose of this article is to examine Salvian of Marseilles' (ca. 400-490 CE) invective in De gubernatione Dei against his Christian audience pertaining to their sexual roles and behaviour as slaveholders. It is argued that rather than considering the oppressive practice of slavery in itself as a reason for moral rebuke and divine punishment, Salvian highlights the social shame that arose from the sexual vices Christian slaveholders committed with their slaves. Salvian forwards three accusations against his opponents that concern slavery and sexual vice. Firstly, he asserts that Christian slaveholders have no self-control. Secondly, the polyamorous relationships slaveholders have with numerous slaves resemble shameful and adulterous unions, namely concubinage and even polygamy. Thirdly, Roman-Christian slaveholders behave in a worse manner than barbarians (i.e. the argument of ethnicity). Each of these accusations is examined in detail in the study. <![CDATA[<b>Jehu's violent coup and the justification of violence</b>]]> The putsch carried out by Jehu is one of the most violent stories in the Hebrew Bible. The text justifies the violence by portraying the rebellion as a case of retributive justice for the death of Naboth and as an attempt to purify Yahwism. This article presents a critical reading of the text as well as an overview of how the interpretation of the text changed after the discovery of the Tel Dan inscription. The article also presents recent views on the history of Yahwism and finally presents the story as a (failed) attempt to justify a coup that was probably only about acquiring power. <![CDATA[<b>Mental mapping in the admiration song in Song of Songs 7:2-7</b>]]> Mental mapping is a method of interpreting with conceptual metaphors. This method is applied to the admiration song in Song of Songs 7:2-7. The song is interpreted in the context of a dance. For the purpose of interpretation, ancient Egyptian dance paintings and love poems are taken into account. The interpretation presents a methodological study that unmasks arbitrary exegesis and implausible interpretations. It discovers its subtle conceptual metaphors and shows a strategy for a comprehensible exegesis. As a side effect, the male chauvinism present in this song is deconstructed. <![CDATA[<b>The cup as metaphor and symbol: A cognitive linguistics perspective</b>]]> Although the Afrikaans word beker carries strong religious and other connotations, among them references to the Eucharist cup, the contribution of this article is to highlight, within a cognitive semantics framework, the role that cognitive mechanisms such as metaphor and metonymy played in the creation of this symbol. The article aims to illustrate the following: that the two signs of the Christian Eucharist, the bread and the wine, are grounded in conceptual metaphors of eating and drinking; that two conceptual drink metaphors are present when the symbol of the cup is analysed; that a related concept, that of metonymy, acts as a cognitive trigger, thus enabling the realisation of the symbol; and that other factors such as culture and religious symbolism played a significant role in the whole process. A corpus linguistics methodology is used to identify expressions containing the word beker. In analysing the expressions, Conceptual Metaphor Theory is used as a theoretical framework. It is found that conceptual metaphors such as nourishment is drinking and suffering is drinking underlie metaphoric expressions with beker. The metonymy container [the cup] for contained [the wine or blood] plays an important role in enabling the metaphors. In the images of the Eucharist cup and the broken bread, powerful metaphors arising from our bodily experience, denoting suffering and death on the one hand, and joy, nourishment and life on the other hand, are united to form the symbol. <![CDATA[<b><b>ἐλθέτωἡβασιλείασου</b><b></b></b><b>: Interpreting the Lord's Prayer (Mt 6:10a) in the light of Ewe-Ghanaian eschatological vision</b>]]> This article examines the phrase ἐλθέτωἡβασιλείασου in Matthew and Luke's versions of the Lord's Prayer in the light of Ewe-Ghanaian eschatological vision. Theoretically, it uses a combination of the historical-critical and indigenous Mother Tongue Biblical Hermeneutical approaches to explore the implication of βασιλεία for the Ewe-Ghanaian Christian. The article discusses the diversity in the interpretations of the text from the early church to the modern and postmodern periods in Christian history and argues that this diversity has occurred as a result of the fluidity of the eschatological visions in the Judeo-Christian Scriptures and that the linear eschatological vision described by the church is inconsistent with the cyclical vision in Ewe cosmology. This dual eschatological vision creates a dilemma in the Ewe-Ghanaian Christian's understanding of the eternal states. Finally, it is argued that to resolve this eschatological dilemma is to clearly define the place of Ewe eschatological vision in Christian eschatology and interpreting the former as replica of the latter. <![CDATA[<b>God's victory and salvation. A soteriological approach to the subject in apocalyptic literature</b>]]> One of the main points of interests in the apocalyptic literature is the salvation of God's people. The topic is shown from a variety of perspectives. One of them is exceptional and very prominent in the apocalyptic genre - this is God's victory. The theme of victory is a complex one. It consists of not only terminology and imagery of war, fight, rivalry, but also judgement, competition and kingdom. All of these motifs are being intertwined in the apocalyptic victory of God. The problem of God's victory can be seen as schematic, which is present in many texts from the apocalyptic genre. Altering variables inside this scheme results in a different outlook on the salvation. It is used to give the shape of the narrative in the text. From the variety of apocalyptic literature, an exceptional place is given to the Apocalypse of John. The theme of God's victory there, although it uses the Jewish traditions, is rewritten and upgraded to a new unique form. The goal of this article is to investigate how the mentioned schematic realises through different examples of apocalyptic texts and how it is incorporated and redefined in the Book of Apocalypse. What is God's victory? Who is being conquered? With what means? What does it all mean to the salvation of people? These are the questions, which the author will try to answer in the article. <![CDATA[<b>Scheffler's autopsy of poverty in the biblical text: Critiquing land expropriation as an elitist project</b>]]> The theme of poverty has recently dominated various scholarly platforms, including academic presentations and public debates. Nevertheless, it has emerged that the rhetoric about poverty reduction seems to be the project of the elite who apparently write and speak on behalf of the poor. The plight of the majority of the poor is problematised so that transformation is superficially democratised with the ultimate aim of benefitting the elite. The present study reflects on Eben Scheffler's contributions on poverty and the poor in the Old Testament books of the Pentateuch, the Psalms and the Proverbs. Although this study refers to Scheffler's other works on poverty from time to time, particular attention is paid to four of them, namely, (1) 'The poor in the Psalms: A variety of views'; (2) 'Of poverty prevention in the Pentateuch as a continuing contemporary challenge'; (3) 'Poverty in the Book of Proverbs: Looking from above'; (4) 'Pleading poverty (or identifying with the poor for selfish reasons): On the ideology of Psalm 109'. Scheffler points out that it was the ancient Israelite elite who played the role of writing and speaking on behalf of the poor. It is essential to note that Scheffler's thrust is not an appropriation exercise, although in some places he makes reference to the 'contemporary world'. Thus, the present study attempts to explore the land debate in our contemporary world, with a special focus on South Africa's (SA) land expropriation without compensation (LEWIC) debate and the foiled fast-track land reform programme in Zimbabwe, as elitist projects. The Zimbabwean Fast-Track Land Reform Programme (FTLRP) was a prototype of LEWIC in SA. It is argued that the poor rural communities in Zimbabwe continue to languish in poverty in a country endowed with abundant natural resources, including land. The study argues that land allocation in Zimbabwe benefitted the elite. <![CDATA[<b>Some reflections on the genealogy of the 'Pretoria model': Towards a definition of theological education at a public university</b>]]> In this article, the author engages with the question 'what is so theological about theological education', which he calls the genealogy of theology. This matter is approached from a very specific vantage point as the author was the former Dean of the Faculty of Theology and Religion at the University of Pretoria (South Africa) and has been engaged in this research project over the last 5 years as the Faculty was under severe review as to its composition and ultimately its very future. This article endeavours to bring to the surface the underlying theology of the author and the paradigm he is operating from. It concludes with a definition of theology as he sees it, but with the explicit qualification of it being situated at a research-intensive university competing for a notable position on the ranking indexes of world universities. A new niche is thus opening up for theology (vis-à-vis a seminary or even a Christian university), namely, a 'scholarly endeavour of believers in the public sphere in order to inquire into a multi-dimensional reality in a manner that matters'. <![CDATA[<b>Binding and loosing on earth: Evaluating the strategy for church disciplinary procedures proposed in Matthew 18:15-18 through the lenses of thinking and feeling</b>]]> Matthew 18:15-18 proposed a disciplined strategy for dealing with disputes within the Matthean emerging Christian community. The present study was designed to test the theory, proposed by the SIFT approach to biblical hermeneutics, that reader interpretation of this strategy is influenced by the individual readers' psychological type preferences. Participants attending two conferences in 2017 reflected on this strategy, working in groups that distinguished between feeling types and thinking types: 15 biblical scholars at the Summer School of the Urban Theology Unit, and 22 curates and training incumbents at a 3-day residential programme. Consistent with psychological type theory and with the SIFT approach to biblical hermeneutics, the feeling types found the whole tone of the passage uncomfortable and unsettling. The thinking types identified more readily with the Matthean strategy. These findings add weight to the reader perspective approach to the interpretation of scripture that takes the psychological type profile of the reader into account. <![CDATA[<b>Matthean Jesus and forgiveness in light of national healing, peace and reconciliation in Zimbabwe, 2008-2017</b>]]> The history of Zimbabwe is characterised by a series of challenges, which, at different turning points, manifested themselves through violent conflicts, since its independence in 1980. Faced with the challenges associated with violence, socio-political, economic and religious conflicts, civil unrest and polarisation of the Zimbabwean society from 2008 to 2017, this article discusses the relevance and applicability of Jesus' ethics with special focus on the Matthean Jesus and forgiveness in a bid to bring national healing, peace and reconciliation. The article stresses that the application of Matthean Jesus' ethics is vital for the Zimbabwean society because it paves way for peace, healing and reconciliation. Among other factors, the Matthean Jesus' ethics call for victims of political violence to unconditionally extend forgiveness to their offenders as demonstrated by the Matthean Jesus who forgave mankind's sins through his sacrificial death on the cross. Over and above that, there should be an honest implementation of justice and truth telling by the Zimbabwean government through willingness and commitment to institute the rule of law and cab all forms of lawlessness. Moreover, it is imperative that there should be a formation of an independent truth, justice and reconciliation commission to deal with truth telling, acknowledgement of past wrongs, and restorative and transitional justice issues in Zimbabwe. <![CDATA[<b>Building a nation: The Jeroboams and the creation of two Israels</b>]]> This article represents a short reflective essay in honour of the Old Testament scholar Eben Scheffler. It focuses on the writing of the history of ancient Israel texts; examines different approaches to address the history of texts: minimalist and maximalist; and illustrates a minimalist approach in reference to the figure of the Israelite king Jeroboam II. <![CDATA[<b>Reverend Mother and Tamar (Gn 38) trapped between 'artificial' barrenness and 'normative' motherhood: Any fitting biblical hermeneutic?</b>]]> Reverend Mother's entry into ordained ministry did not quench her maternal instinct to experience the fruit of her own body. Her craving was thus not for a man as a husband but for a baby, the fruit of her own womb. As a result of her unconventional choice to fulfil her desire technologically, the church '[…] stripped her of her authority, position, and title' (Henry 2010). In many a family-oriented, communal, hetero-patriarchal (African) Christian setting, a setting in which many a woman, persuaded by a specific biblical hermeneutic, finds herself trapped between 'artificial' infertility and a deep desire to have a baby, what kind of hermeneutic may emerge if Genesis 38 is read side by side with Reverend Mother's narrative? The present article is an attempt to engage the preceding question critically. <![CDATA[<b>'All men have been considered equal by me': The attitude of Amatus Lusitanus towards treating gentiles according to his Physician's Oath</b>]]> The ancient Jewish law took a strict approach to medical relationships between Jews and non-Jews. The current study deals with the attitude of Amatus Lusitanus (1511-1568), a notable Portuguese Jewish physician towards treating gentiles. The Physician's Oath of Lusitanus emphasises that as a doctor he treated people from varied faiths and socio-economic status. Lusitanus treated many non-Jews. For instance, he received an invitation from the municipality of Ragusa to serve as the town physician and he accepted this mission. In Anconare, he was called upon to treat Jacoba del Monte, sister of Pope Julius III, and he also prescribed for Julius himself. Amatus Lusitanus was forced to leave his country because of the Portuguese inquisition and wandered in many countries. Despite the hostile religious attitude of his close surroundings, he did not retaliate against his patients and provided medical treatment indiscriminately. <![CDATA[<b>Africanism, Apocalypticism, Jihad and Jesuitism: Prelude to Ethiopianism</b>]]> Ethiopianism conceptually shaped modern Africa. Perceivably, this has been deduced from distinguished events in Ethiopian history. This investigation explored Ethiopianism as a derivate of the multifaceted narrative of Ethiopian religious political dynamics. Ethiopianism has arguably been detached from the entirety of the Ethiopian Christian political establishment, being deduced separately from definitive events such as the Battle of Adwa 1896. This research reconnected Ethiopianism to a wholistic religious-political matrix of Ethiopia. Therefore, it offers an alternative interpretation of Ethiopianism, as a derivate of Africanism and Apocalypticism, also correspondingly as a factor of Islamic Jihad and Jesuit Catholicism. The research was accomplished mainly through document analysis and compositely with cultural historiography. This study was a revisionist approach to Ethiopianism as a concept, deriving it from the chronological narrative of Ethiopian Christianity's religious and political self-definition. Consequently, this realigned Ethiopianism as a derivate of multiple influences. Ethiopianism was possibly a convolution of the Donatist biblical appeal to the nativity, Judaic apocalypticism, Islamic attacks and Jesuit missionary diplomacy. Throughout the narrative of the Ethiopian Christian establishment, autonomy and independence are traceable; in addition, there is an entrenched enculturation of native Christianity and synergy with the political establishment. This formulates a basis for Ethiopianism as an ideology of African magnanimity. Parallel comparisons of Ethiopianism against Donatism and Zionism decode the nationalistic matrix of Ethiopia. Dually encultured native religious practice coupled with theocratic symbiosis of politics and religion fostered resistance from Islamisation and Jesuit Catholicisation. Further enquiry of Ethiopian Christianity as an index of the Ethiopian political establishment, from which Ethiopianism is derived, is qualified. <![CDATA[<b>Genesis 27:27-29 in the face of the popular Christian concept of blessing in Nigeria</b>]]> Conspicuous in the Old Testament (OT) is the literary genre of blessing that is often construed in poetic forms. They are of various types and were significant to their initial audience. A careful analysis of their texts and contexts is indispensable for a correct understanding of their message. Conversely, in our times, these texts and their contents are misinterpreted for some subjective goals, which deviate greatly from what one can perceive as their original meaning and intention. Misinterpretation and incorrect application of Biblical texts of blessings thrive in a society like ours where ills are perpetrated under the guise of religion. The text of Genesis 27:27-29, carefully inserted in the patriarchal narratives, contains a type of OT blessings portraying parents' wishful desires for their offspring; this is common to all human cultures. It is chosen as a springboard for the study of other parental blessings in the OT. Employing a literary analysis with particular attention to the functions of poetic devices in the text, the study aimed at understanding the message contained therein and its relevance to our contemporary society. <![CDATA[<b>A critical investigation into Rabbi Shaul Yisraeli's views on the phenomenon of labour</b>]]> Rabbi Shaul Yisraeli (1909-1995) was one of religious Zionism's greatest rabbis and adjudicators. He served for many years as the rabbi of Moshav Kfar Haroeh, sat as a judge in the supreme Rabbinical Court and was head of the Merkaz Harav yeshiva. The purpose of this study is to shed light on Yisraeli's attitude towards work. Did he see work as a basic human obligation spelled out by the physical need for survival? Did he associate an ideological value with work, as part of a worldview integrating religious values with extra-religious ones, similar to socialism? Or did he see work as a religious value, one that stemmed from his theology? <![CDATA[<b>Salvation in Acts 16:16-40: A socio-historical exploration of the Graeco-Roman understanding</b>]]> This article demonstrates the value of understanding the socio-historical background of a specific text in the task of interpretation and the search for meaning. This is done here by utilising the socio-historical method in the search for meaning and understanding of the concept of salvation in the narrative about the slave girl in Acts 16. Substantial integration of the understanding of words and concepts at the time of writing the text and the cultural and social background is relevant and leads to an in-depth understanding of the Biblical text and is therefore essential for thorough New Testament studies. Through the socio-historical method, the article explores the Graeco-Roman understanding of salvation as a necessary precursor to arrive at the meaning of salvation in Acts 16. Theos upsistos [Most High God] and the Lukan usage of πνεῦμαΠύθωνα [python spirit] are explored in the light of their Graeco-Roman allusion in relation to the girl who was a slave in the narrative of Acts 16. The article argues that Luke's point in the narrative is to expose, engage, challenge and counter the long-held assumptions about what is the meaning of salvation and how to obtain it. The article contributes an exemplification of the use of the socio-historical method towards the broader and in-depth understanding and credible meaning-making of the Acts 16 text. The article challenges assumptions about the point of the text in the narrative of Acts 16 and opens up possibilities for further interpretation that could be found meaningful to modern-day interpreters of the text. <![CDATA[<b>Provisions against wealth and poverty in Plato's Cretan city and in ancient Israel: A comparison of the <i>Book of Deuteronomy</i> with Plato's <i>Nomoi</i></b>]]> The way in which a nation's economy is structured is of great importance for the material welfare of its people as well as the people's relationship with the state and the operation of the state itself. It is also important for the proper functioning of a nation as a people and its psychological welfare. If the gap between rich and poor increases, the structure of an economy, and therefore the welfare of the state and the nation, is at risk. Two important documents of antiquity, Plato's Nomoi and the Book of Deuteronomy, which even today influence life, dealt intensively with the fissures between rich and poor within society as a danger to political welfare and harmony. This article will examine these documents to make use of these two books for improving a societal situation. This will be done by a comparative perspective on both of these books. <![CDATA[<b>Biblical cartography and the (mis)representation of Paul's missionary travels</b>]]> Biblical cartography has elaborated a master narrative of Paul's missionary activity. This master narrative, which clearly distinguishes between three different journeys, is omnipresent and can easily be found in Bibles and atlases. Nevertheless, Paul's letters and the book of Acts do not support such a clear distinction. The present study contends that the distinction between three missionary journeys is a modern construct and that this way of representing Paul's missionary activity has a significant impact on how we understand it. By representing Paul's missionary activity as an orderly sequence of three travels, the maps not only minimise the novelty of his independent mission but also minimise Paul's confrontation with the Jerusalem church. In this representation, he is no longer the marginal leader of a minority movement within the nascent church, but 'the' missionary. The portrayal of the missionary activity of Paul in biblical maps is an example of the uncritical transfer of exegetical traditions, and of the role of these traditions in the creation of a master narrative of Christian origins. <![CDATA[<b>Deuteronomy's concept of life in Hebrews</b>]]> This article endeavours to contribute to the study of the influence and effect of Deuteronomy in the book of Hebrews. It investigates the possible influence of one of Deuteronomy's key concepts on Hebrews, namely, the concept of 'life'. The article starts off by defining the multifaceted concept of 'life' in Deuteronomy. This is followed up by combing through the text of Hebrews to identify traces of this concept in the words and arguments that the writer employs. The possible traces found are then investigated intertextually in detail. This includes references to 'the living God' (Heb 3:12; 9:14; 10:31; 12:22), God's 'living and active' word (Heb 4:12), 'the new and living way' Jesus opened through his death (Heb 10:20) and the command to 'submit to the Father of spirits and live' (Heb 12:9). The article concludes by synthesising the findings to discuss whether Hebrews deliberately employs Deuteronomy's concept of life. <![CDATA[<b>Faith, society and the post-secular: Private and public religion in law and theology</b>]]> In pre-democratic - also pre-modern - times, religion had been at the centre of much of human life, filling the private as well as the public realm of people's daily existence. However, with the change to democratic rule in major countries in the modern world (see, most influentially, Article 1 of the French Constitution after the French Revolution and the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, influencing all other democracies in their wake), religion has for the most part reflexively been sidelined from public life. Or has it? Does religion not still hold a special place in law in democratic societies, but now in reverse? Firstly, whereas matters of religious faith had throughout the greater part of human history been included in matters of politics, it is now as a matter of course of law excluded, purposely so. Religion is thus still a 'special case', a unique aspect of humanity when compared to all other matters, in law as much as in politics and other aspects of public life. Secondly, in the post-secular cultural climate dawning across the world, matters of faith (religion, spirituality) are no longer as stringently excluded from public life, which impacts directly on how religion is touched upon in law, sociology, philosophy, music and other academic disciplines too. Our dawning post-secular age is bringing something new. Two scholars, who have been doing foundational work in this regard, have done so fully in parallel, not taking cognisance of the mutualities in their academic contributions. Otto in Munich, Germany, has been combining his two areas of expertise, the Pentateuch in the Hebrew Bible and the sociologist Max Weber, to indicate the trajectory through history of democratic impulses from Ancient Near Eastern founding documents into the current era. Benson in Sydney, Australia, has on his part been drawing on his expertise in law as practised in Canada and taught in Europe, South Africa and Australia to indicate how, in inclusively liberal democracies, law cannot justifiably be used to exclude religion from the public domain, as has been the usual modern case. Drawing together these parallel contributions, Lombaard places these initiatives within the emerging post-secular climate, which augurs a different way of being religious or non-religious, publicly as much as privately, in democratic societies in our time. <![CDATA[<b>The 'wonderful' donkey – Of real and fabled donkeys</b>]]> An ethological appreciation of the donkey has confirmed that it is a special and unique animal. The donkey is a well-adapted, sensitive, sociable, intelligent and notably loyal animal. Their so-called 'stubbornness' (dumbness) points rather to a species-specific intelligence to survive. Because of their domestication, they have been incorporated into the human world, mostly as pack, draught and riding animals. In the Ancient Near East (ANE) they sometimes also acted as 'divine agents', for example, in Balaam's fable (Numbers 22). An ecological hermeneutic focus on this fable has evoked sympathy for the donkey. Even if there is over-ascription because of the ANE mytho-poetical worldview, an authentic donkey can still be discovered behind this 'speaking' animal. Perhaps we need far more animal-centric fables instead of anthropocentric fables nowadays to appreciate the donkey as a remarkable animal. <![CDATA[<b>Weighing Schmitt's political theology anew: Implicit religion in politics</b>]]> Carl Schmitt, in a sense the initiator of Political Theology, proposed that all important political concepts are reinterpretations of or parallels to theological concepts. This insight is in this contribution described and applied to current political thought, for which it is valuable as modern democracies emerge from the secularism of modernism to a more fully self-aware post-secularism. <![CDATA[<b>The Matthean characterisation of Jesus by God the Father</b>]]> This article uses a narrative analysis to contribute to the discourse on the characterisation of Jesus in the Matthean Gospel. Characterisation can be achieved in various ways. Much is revealed about characters through their actions and words, and how other role-players in the text respond to them. Sometimes there is a narrator who tells the reader about a character. The kind of character depends on the traits or personal qualities of that character and how that character performs during specific incidents. Along with God himself, Jesus forms the principal character in the First Gospel. His teachings and actions are central to the text and the actions of other characters are directed towards him. The article focuses on one aspect of characterisation, namely, on what characters say about Jesus. Such words can come from supporters or antagonists. The article concentrates on what God the Father says in support of Jesus. The Father's point of view is normative in this narrative. The evangelist utilises the utterances of God the Father as a narrative strategy to gradually assure the prominence and authority of the character of Jesus. Matthew's narrative clearly recounts Jesus' authority - an authority that comes from God and not only points towards him but also finally becomes his own. The Father attests that Jesus is greater and more authoritative than any previous messenger of God. It is Jesus who ultimately states that all authority has been bestowed upon him and therefore he can send out the disciples with his Great Commission. God's heavenly voice expresses the significant status of Jesus as the main character and exposes the malignity of his antagonists. <![CDATA[<b>Looking through the eyes of Job: A transpersonal-psychological perspective</b>]]> The current context of a turn to the visual and the transpersonal-psychological potential of the book of Job forms the background of this study, which aimed at focusing a psychological lens on the topic of eyes in the book of Job. This approach has the potential of seeing beyond both the literal and the figurative sense of eyes in the book of Job, gaining a vision of a transcendental reality, either in or after this life. In this way, the bodily suffering experienced by the protagonist could be illuminated as a model for every recipient. By relating the eye to other body parts mentioned in the book, a texture of meanings has been woven with a complicated and intriguing subtext for the narrative of the eye in the life of Job. This wealth of value attached to the eye in the book subverts the traditionally negative attitude to the visual in monotheistic religions and resuscitates the eye to the status of even a transcendental level. <![CDATA[<b>Scanning the body image of Job psychoanalytically</b>]]> It would seem that there has been a growing concern about the body during the composition of the Hebrew Bible, just as the body has awakened in the mind of the humanities during the last three to four decades in Western culture. Parallel to that has been a growing interest in psychological understanding often linked to the wisdom writings, and now again when the historical-critical approach has shown its limitations. The aim of psychoanalysing the body image of Job has several advantages: it allows the recipient to sense the body of the protagonist and so penetrate into the core of the narrative. Moreover, psychological sense can be made of the deeper meanings underlying certain body parts, which play a particularly important role for Job. In such a way, a network of subtexts can be accessed. This study will trace the image of Job's body in the mind of the external world around him but more so in his own internal reality as depicted by the text. This will then constitute a body image which shifts amongst the characters and as the narrative develops. The clusters of attention imply the relations between the body parts in Job's mind and suggest the tensions of his still unintegrated body image. <![CDATA[<b>Several comments on a Genizah fragment of Bavli, Eruvin 57B-59A</b>]]> This article refers to a Cairo Genizah fragment related to Bavli, Eruvin tractate 57b-59a, identified as Cambridge, UL T-S F1 (1) 85. FGP No. C 96541. The article begins with a description of the Genizah fragment and presents a reproduction of the fragment itself at the end of the article. Reference is made to the content and several comments are made in an effort to characterise the fragment. <![CDATA[<b>The wife as stranger in the family</b>]]> The phenomenon of the stranger reveals that spatial relations are, on the one hand, only the condition and, on the other hand, the symbol of human relations. This article discusses the specific form of interaction of the wife (woman) as a stranger in the context of the biblical family. The wife as a stranger is discussed here not in the sense often touched upon in the past, as a wanderer who comes today and goes tomorrow, but rather as a person who comes today and stays tomorrow. She is, so to speak, the potential wanderer: although she has not moved on, she has also not overcome the freedom of coming and going. She is fixed within a particular spatial group, or within a group whose boundaries are similar to spatial boundaries, but her position in this group is determined by the fact that she never belonged to it from the beginning. The unity of nearness and remoteness involved in every human relation is organised, in the phenomenon of the stranger, in a way which may be most briefly formulated by saying that in her relationships, distance means that she, who is close by, is also far away, and her strangeness means that she, who is far away, is also actually near. I examined the implications of knowing and identifying the wife as a stranger for feminist theory and its interpretation. <![CDATA[<b>The dangerous role of politics in modern millennial movements</b>]]> This article investigates the political nature and involvement of millennialism as a religious phenomenon. It, firstly, offers a brief analysis of how millennialism shifted from a significant, but marginal role player in the history of Christianity to become part of the mainstream religious discourse in recent times. It then seeks to explain how this came about by analysing the way this development continues and resonates with the political language and thought of the 19th-century religious discourse in the United States and in early modern England since the 16th century. It finally investigates the dangerous consequences of politicising eschatology by specifically analysing the role of Israel in millennial expectations. <![CDATA[<b>A realistic reading of the parable of the Lost Coin in Q: Gaining or losing even more?</b>]]> This article aims to present a realistic reading of the parable of the Lost Coin in Q. A realistic reading of the parable focuses on the social realia invoked by the parables, that is, the social realities and practices (cultural scripts) embedded by any given parable. As will be indicated, available documented papyri can be used to identify the possible social realia invoked by the parables, and this can help the modern reader to identify what is 'normal' or 'abnormal' in a parable being interpreted. This, in turn, can help the modern reader to come to grips with the probable intended meaning of the parable. In a realistic reading of the Lost Coin, it is argued that two things are important: the price and daily consumption of oil, and the Lost Coin being one of the gendered doublets in Q. Apart from proposing a possible meaning of the Lost Coin, it is also indicated that a realistic reading explains why the seeking of the woman is described as being ἐπιμελῶς [diligent]. <![CDATA[<b>'But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream' (Am 5:24). Social justice versus cult criticism in Amos (5:21–24) and Isaiah (1:10–20): A trauma perspective</b>]]> The focus of this article is on the cult-critical statement(s) in Amos (5:21-24) and Isaiah (1.10-20). The title of this article inevitably leads us to the question of the relationship between the practice of the cult on the one hand and ethics on the other hand, namely the 'either-or' dilemma which exegetes face in the interpretation of these texts. This article should therefore be seen as part of the on-going debate of the significance of the prophetic understanding of the role of the cult versus Israel's ethical considerations. Furthermore, an overview of important insights from trauma studies, which are applied to the cult-critical statements in the books of Amos and Isaiah, is given. <![CDATA[<b>Friendship in a time of protest? Friedrich Schleiermacher and Russel Botman on the fabric of (civic) friendship</b>]]> Friendship is not often associated with citizenship, politics or civil society - and yet this contribution proposes that civic friendship(s) may be worth consideration as an expression of peacemaking and peacebuilding: the dynamic interplay between our 'social' and 'individual' selves working towards peace and countering violence. This theological consideration of friendship deals with the interaction between individuality and sociability in the work and thought of a theologian who was deeply interested in such interplay and which may therefore be helpful in theological reflection on friendship. This contribution draws on two theologians who were involved in higher education themselves - the German theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher, who served as rector of the Humboldt University of Berlin (1815-1816), and the South African theologian Russel Botman, who served as rector of Stellenbosch University (2007-2014) - from whom we may learn about (civic) friendship. <![CDATA[<b>Exegesis is a game</b>]]> Eben Scheffler's understanding of Luke 24:13-33 enabled us to understand the exegesis of the Old Testament of the past two millennia as a play with words, expressions and interpretations. According to Luke, the suffering of the community can be alleviated when the Old Testament is studied because they would once again experience the presence of Christ and would be filled with joy. This is exactly what happened since the early church up to now. The Old Testament has been read and preached and God's presence experienced, but it is important to note that up to now no fixed method has been designed or a final message has been formulated. This can be ascribed to our finiteness, and therefore it is suggested that we must rather speak of exegesis as a play (as formulated by Hans-Georg Gadamer) instead of depicting it as a scientific method comprising definite steps which must be applied in a strict way to identify and describe eternal truths. <![CDATA[<b>3 Maccabees as a monomyth</b>]]> The story of the hero, as a rite of passage, is often seen as a narratological quest, which because of the work of Campbell is now referred to as the monomyth. The basic pattern of all monomyths is an account of how a hero commences a journey, encounters a major crisis and then returns back home transformed in some way. Most importantly, this transformation not only advantages the hero but also significantly benefits the community that he or she originally hails from. Regardless of the authority concerned, the basic structure of a monomyth is tripartite, embracing the hero's journey in three phases: departure, initiation and return. A surface reading of 3 Maccabees (cf. Charles 1913:155-173; Amir 1972:660-661) gives the impression that if one views the Jewish people as a single entity, one can infer that they too appear to play a role similar to the character of the hero in a typical monomyth or the rite of passage (initiation). This article attempts to examine this possibility in more detail. The author concludes that the narrative in 3 Maccabees, which deals with the transformation of the Jewish population in Egypt, largely conforms to the monomyth archetype but with some intriguing subtle differences. <![CDATA[<b>Invited into the Markan paradox: The church as authentic followers of Jesus in a superhero culture</b>]]> Amidst contemporary culture's obsession with superheroes as the basis of the new mythologies of our day, and numerous religious communities' 'sterilized' version of Jesus, the church has to rediscover the paradoxical life and teachings of Jesus, as narrated in the Gospel of Mark. Within the honour-and-shame-based Mediterranean culture, within which Mark was written, Jesus' atypical demeanour and his radical teachings on self-sacrifice, coupled with his shameful death, were perplexing. His opponents did not find any proof in his scandalous teachings and inglorious outward appearance to confirm his messianic claims. In terms of the present obsession with superheroes, Jesus was never in a costume in public. He did not take on a temporary public persona in a staged drama en route to the cross. At all times, Jesus was the slave-like Son of God who came to serve and lay down his own life as a ransom for many (Mk 10:45). The crucified Jesus, stripped of all honour and godforsaken, is the paradoxical sign and physical embodiment of the kingdom of God. The risen Jesus is no different. He still is who he is. This largely undiscovered Jesus of Mark's Gospel must capture the imagination of the church all over again, the kind of imagination that elicits admiration, amazement and life-change. Only when the church begins to embody the kenotic route of Jesus that it will become clear to her and others that she, in fact, possesses paradoxical 'superpowers' - the self-sacrificing kind. <![CDATA[<b>'Einer Frau gestatte ich nicht, dass sie lehre' (1 Timotheus 2:12): Exegese – Hermeneutik – Kirche</b>]]> This article is an exercise in combining the exegesis, hermeneutical issues and application of 1 Timothy 2:12 in ecclesial contexts where this prohibition is still taken seriously as a Pauline injunction or, at least, as part of the canon of the Church. It surveys representative proposals in New Testament studies of dealing with this least compromising assertion regarding the teaching of women in early Christianity. It discusses the hermeneutical issues involved in exegesis and application and how one should relate this prohibition to other New Testament references to women and their role in the early Christian communities. In closing, the article discusses whether and how this assertion can still be relevant in contemporary contexts when and where women have a very different role in society and church. <![CDATA[<b>James Cone <i>vis-à-vis</i> African Religiosity: A decolonial perspective</b>]]> This article builds on my recent engagement with James Cone's binary view of Africanness and Christianity which focused on his Western locus of enunciation and the criticism he received from his African American colleagues. I believe that analogical questions regarding Christian theology's attitude towards Africanness in general and African religiosity in particular present themselves to us who live in and try to make sense of South African reality today, including white people like myself. I start by introducing a decolonial perspective as it manifests itself through the recent #MustFall student movements. In this context, I offer three theses regarding the decolonial perspective on African religiosity, each of which constitutes a more or less direct critique of Cone's ambivalent attitude towards Africanness, and African Traditional Religions in particular. The first thesis concerns the distinction between postcoloniality and decoloniality; the second thesis concerns engaging African religiosity as a requirement for decolonising Christian theology; and the third thesis concerns problematising the relationship between the categories of blackness and Africanness. <![CDATA[<b>Kairos consciousness and the Zimbabwean ecclesiology's response to crisis</b>]]> The Christian church in Zimbabwe radically indicated the courage and consciousness to identify itself with the struggle for liberation of the marginalised, the oppressed and the impoverished, more specifically in the context of chimurenga or the armed struggle. Thus, the Kairos model of ecclesiology consistently and unequivocally supported masses who were the majority Zimbabweans during the protracted struggle of the 1970s against racial system, thereby assuming such designations as the church of struggle, the Church of chimurenga, the church in trenches and combat with the people; hence, the liberationist language signalled a symbol of Kairos consciousness for Zimbabwean ecclesiology. Kairos consciousness implies the liberationist methodological framework of ecclesiology when the church becomes the interlocutor and articulator identified and associated with non-persons. Furthermore, the non-persons, the impoverished and the marginalised occupy the epicentre of epistemological space in ecclesiological discourse. Precisely, the socio-economic and political landscape of Zimbabwe radically shifted from 2000 onwards, marking the genesis of a crisis. This article based on ecclesiology investigates prophetic role and the impact of the church in the context of Zimbabwean crisis <![CDATA[<b>Ahmad Ghazali's Satan</b>]]> This article studies Ghazali's viewpoint regarding Satan or Iblis. Ghazali's interpretation of Satan is very different from that of traditional ones. Despite the Koran's negative portrayal of Satan, Ghazali elaborates a new transformative theology of Satan. He defends Satan and considers him as the paragon of lovers in self-sacrifice. According to him, Satan's refusal to bow down before God's creation, Adam, signifies that Satan alone manifests the purest devotion to God's oneness and is thus the unrivalled champion of tawhid. Ghazali's sympathetic understanding of Satan is a logical outcome of his theory of love. He depicts Satan not only as a sincere worshipper, but also as a true lover. He loves God even though he curses and casts him out. Because of being cursed, he has acquired a long life and a position of power over the whole world. <![CDATA[<b>What kind of power can build society? A remarkable power play in Susanna</b>]]> The struggle in Susanna is between the protagonist, Susanna, and the antagonists, namely, the elders. The power struggle between these two groups is the focus of this article. The powers of each are discussed in order to understand the power play. In the end, the power play is between God and evil. It was found that the elders, as men, abused their power by threatening Susanna to have sex with forced consent. In addition, they abused their legal powers to witness against her in court. By contrast, Susanna had no power in public - only limited power as a woman in society and in a marriage. The only power she relied on was her spiritual power because of her faith in God. She trusted God and he protected her by stirring up the spirit of a man named Daniel. Daniel spoke in court on behalf of Susanna. He became an instrument in God's hands. The article concludes with the statement that only spiritual power can save this world. <![CDATA[<b>The different manifestations of suffering and the Lukan Jesus</b>]]> Eben Scheffler wrote much on poverty and social injustice, and this article focusses on his understanding of the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts in order to comprehend the different dimensions of suffering and the healing ministry of the Lukan Jesus. Scheffler stressed that Jesus' life, from birth to cross, was immersed in suffering thus becoming part of the human condition of sorrow and misery, but Scheffler ultimately stressed the compassion of Jesus' ministry which continued in the early church and which must be reflected by his followers to all people. <![CDATA[<b>Editorial - Eben Scheffler Festschrift</b>]]> Eben Scheffler wrote much on poverty and social injustice, and this article focusses on his understanding of the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts in order to comprehend the different dimensions of suffering and the healing ministry of the Lukan Jesus. Scheffler stressed that Jesus' life, from birth to cross, was immersed in suffering thus becoming part of the human condition of sorrow and misery, but Scheffler ultimately stressed the compassion of Jesus' ministry which continued in the early church and which must be reflected by his followers to all people. <![CDATA[<b>In memoriam: Vuyani Shadrack Vellem</b><b>†</b><b> (25 December 1968 - 4 December 2019)</b>]]> Eben Scheffler wrote much on poverty and social injustice, and this article focusses on his understanding of the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts in order to comprehend the different dimensions of suffering and the healing ministry of the Lukan Jesus. Scheffler stressed that Jesus' life, from birth to cross, was immersed in suffering thus becoming part of the human condition of sorrow and misery, but Scheffler ultimately stressed the compassion of Jesus' ministry which continued in the early church and which must be reflected by his followers to all people. <![CDATA[<b>Moopa or barren: A rereading of the 1840 English-Setswana gospel of Luke 1:36-38 from a Setswana traditional practice</b>]]> The 1840 gospel of Luke as translated by Moffat presents us with the cultural and imperial surveillance performed by a patriarchal system through the institutionalisation of motherhood and womanhood (bosadi). Motherhood or womanhood (bosadi) as a patriarchal institution has been a space in which patriarchal discursive practices have been realised through an act of politicising motherhood or womanhood. At the centre of this act of politicisation of motherhood or womanhood (bosadi) is the ability to carry and bear children (pelegi). The institution of motherhood or womanhood has facilitated a binary between motherhood (bosadi) and bareness (moopa). The womb/popelo as a symbol of fertility becomes the space of mothering women, of labelling, categorising and naming women that the system locates as moopa or barren. The article seeks to reread the narrative on childbearing in the 1840 gospel of Luke from a decolonial framework. I will argue that childbearing, as a patriarchal institution, has been a space in which the gaze of patriarchy has been produced to subjugate women through cultural and imperial masculinist gaze. I will also argue that there is a need to decolonise and liberate such a space (womb) as not a determinant of motherhood. <![CDATA[<b>Spirituality trapped in androcentric celebrity cults in South Africa post-1994</b>]]> This article makes a distinction between cultic spiritualties that are prevalent in South Africa and a womanist spirituality of liberation. The current trends related to celebrity lifestyles in post-1994 South Africa deeply suggest an erasure of our subversive memory rooted in our quest for liberation, infused with a culture of protest, the struggle for the affirmation of a black woman's dignity and life. One of the biggest challenges we face in the rise of cultic worship in South Africa, this article will argue, is that spiritual malaise in a nation does not require argument and analyses albeit important, but a response that tames it with enhancing self-love and care and thus the development of the language and grammar of the soul - the rationality of the soul as propounded by Cone. The focus of this article will be on the ongoing Omotoso case as symbolic of these rapturous, pervasive life-killing forms of spirituality that a black womanist cannot be silent about. The article will show how celebrity culture traps our resources of spirituality we need to heal the nation that has been wounded but now continues with self-inflicted wounds two decades after its political liberation.