Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Verbum et Ecclesia]]> vol. 30 num. 2 lang. pt <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Persuasion in 1 Corinthians 1:1-9</b>]]> In this article, 1 Corinthians 1:1-9 is analysed from a perspective that differs from the typical approach of researchers, who tend to force ancient rhetorical categories on the letter. The analysis is done in terms of what is called a 'grounded theoretical approach'. This approach is briefly summarised, followed by a description of the rhetorical situation of the letter and a systematic analysis of these nine verses. It will be argued that these verses are an integral part of Paul's rhetorical strategy, constructed from the text itself and aimed at persuading the Corinthians to accept his authority as apostle and to follow his instructions in realising their new life in Christ. The conclusion is that a text-centred approach with its focus on the functional aspects of the text provides a better understanding of Paul's rhetorical strategy than a typical rhetorical analysis, with its focus on the formal aspects of the text. <![CDATA[<b>Embodied realism and congruent god constructs</b>]]> The findings of modern cognitive sciences have far-reaching implications for the philosophical framework within which theological texts have been and could be interpreted. In this regard, the body presents itself as an important epistemological agent. Body-critical analysis of Bible texts provides insight into the societal and cultural factors that brought about those texts, and presents a philosophical approach of embodied realism congruent with the embodiment of thought, the cognitive subconscious and the methaphorical nature of abstract concepts. By taking the body ideology fundamental to the concepts and constructs in religious texts seriously, a new discourse can be stimulated that will bring about new embodied perspectives on the relationship between humans, the environment and other 'others'. A society that is serious about ecojustice as far as the interrelatedness of all creatures is concerned should shoulder the responsibility continuously to consider and revise its hierarchical normative paradigms. The purpose of this article is to investigate the role and place of the body in the establishment of God constructs as normative paradigms. <![CDATA[<b>Engendered representations: Exploring sexuality through symbols and myths</b>]]> This article reflects the findings of a project that was conducted by the Institute for Women's and Gender Studies at the University of Pretoria. In particular, the project sought to dialogue with religious and cultural leaders on the taboos, myths and misconceptions of human sexuality. The article provides an analysis of the symbols and myths of sexuality that were presented by these leaders. These symbols and myths were demystified to reveal their alignment to patriarchal gender divisions and inequality. This alignment proves problematic for women, as it views men as possessors of their bodies - insofar as women's bodies are conceived as the vessels for men's body fluids and the container of the foetus. <![CDATA[<b>Being thought from beyond our borders: Towards ethical global citizenship</b>]]> This article is a response to the challenge of global citizenship in an age of global crisis. Citizenship has to do with where one feels 'at home', namely the space that gifts identity and life. What kind of narrative is necessary to transform global space into a home from where we can go beyond our borders to embrace the other in multidisciplinary research or interfaith praxis? The different models for multidisciplinary research┬╣ are made possible by the idea that research seeks that which is beyond its borders. This search could be a common space where the different traditions can accommodate one another, but it is not a home. The dominant discourse of this common space is to seek commonality and identities across borders while being aware of but ignoring differences - identity at the expense of differences. A home founded on identity at the expense of difference will always exclude. Theology can either be interpreted as thinking beyond the borders toward the Divine, or the Divine thinking us. The Exodus, the Incarnation and the Cross are all narratives of the Other crossing borders, liberating from boundaries, deconstructing the laws and norms that exclude. The religious traditions of these sacred narratives have something to offer, namely: to be thought by the Other, to receive life and (alien) identity from the Other, the gift of a home which is continuously deconstructed by the home still to come, therefore always open for the Other. <![CDATA[<b>Fundamentalism on stilts: A response to Alvin Plantinga's reformed epistemology</b>]]> During the greater part of the 20th century, biblical scholarship and the philosophy of religion were not considered to have much in common. However, towards the end of the millennium, a movement of a few Christian philosophers of religion called 'Reformed Epistemology' (RE) suggested the need for interdisciplinary dialogue. With Alvin Plantinga as primary representative, these philosophers claimed to be concerned with what they considered to be the lack of philosophical reflection on the foundations of historical criticism and its non-traditional findings. In this article, the author (qua biblical scholar) suggests that Plantinga's arguments have not been taken seriously because of his fundamentalism and the resulting failure to grasp the nature and contents of the hermeneutical debates that have raged within biblical theology for the past 200 years. <![CDATA[<b>Poverty and pastoral counselling: Design for an extensive research project</b>]]> Poverty is arguably the most common and devastating social disease in the world. It is not, however, only a social, political or economic problem. Knowing how to respond to the calling of caring for the poor is an incredible charge for the church. It is not only a matter of Christian charity but also a matter of pastoral care. Extensive research on such a phenomenon needs careful planning and precise execution. It was therefore decided to conduct participatory action research with informed researchers. It is hoped that the input of these informed participators will help the researcher to design a methodology that will be able to dig deeper than the surface of the problem and to uncover the most important driving forces and basic needs of poverty. This article serves as an introduction to a four-year research project on poverty, financially supported by a generous bursary from the National Research Fund. <![CDATA[<b>A hermeneutics of sexual identity: A challenge to conservative religious discourse</b>]]> I argue that since two significant periods (that form part of what is called 'Deuteronomistic history') in the history of the Jews contributed to the development of the Biblical narrative in the format that we have it in today, it can be said that what we have in the Old Testament is really a Jewish national grand narrative. As such, part of the function of this text is to create a strong national identity for the purpose of a people to survive as a people in a hostile environment. Understanding the Old Testament (specifically the books Genesis to II Kings) in this way, and using the insights of the queer theorist Judith Butler with regard to performativity and interpellation, I demonstrate that the Biblical narrative, while condemning homogenital acts, nevertheless has limited application when trying to establish normative guidelines around contemporary issues regarding sexual identity, especially homosexuality, since laws and attitudes that are seen to proscribe homogenital activity arose in a context of a politics of survival. <![CDATA[<b>A narrative approach to liturgy</b>]]> The fact that current liturgical renewal is not based on sound theological reflection, is cause for concern. A narrative approach to liturgy is therefore proposed, which would allow a better connection between the cultural story on the one hand, and the story of the gospel and the liturgical tradition on the other. The article therefore explores possibilities for a narrative understanding of the liturgical context, and shows how a worship liturgy could be created like a collage instead of in the form of linear argumentation. <![CDATA[<b>Psalm 118 (117 LXX) in Luke-Acts: Application of a 'New Exodus Motif'</b>]]> This contribution explores the presence of Psalm 118 (117 LXX) in Luke-Acts. The Wirkungsgeschichte of Psalm 118 will be traced by means of a twofold approach: from a traditional-historical and a hermeneutical angle with regard to the reception history of Psalm 118. Firstly, in terms of a traditional-historical, otherwise known as a diachronic, approach, the background of Psalm 118 and evidence of the use and application of Psalm 118 in the tradition (namely in the ancient Jewish materials, such as the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Targums, and Rabbinics, and the New Testament books of Mark, Matthew, Luke, Acts, John, Romans, 2 Corinthians, Ephesians, 1 Peter, Hebrews, Revelation, as well as in terms of Church Fathers 1 Clement and Barnabas and the Apocryphon Thomas) will be discussed. Secondly, on the hermeneutical level, otherwise known as the synchronic approach, the function and interpretation of the quotations of Psalm 118 in its new context of Luke-Acts will be examined. In terms of the latter approach, attention will be paid to investigating a possible underlying 'New Exodus Motif'. <![CDATA[<b>Missional church and local constraints: A Dutch perspective</b>]]> The missional church concept promises to guide local churches in the direction of a new identity and mission. It is a response to a sense of ecclesiological and congregational urgency that is felt all over the world. In Africa, North America and Europe, churches and local faith communities have been challenged by the changes in the religious state of affairs since the 1960s. Whether we still call it 'secularisation' or rephrase it as 'differentiated transformation', the face of religion is changing globally. In many parts of the world, this raises a feeling of crisis that gives way to the redefinition of the mission and purpose of the church. 'Missional church', however, is a precarious concept. Nobody disagrees with the intention but can it be more than an inspiring vision? In order to realise this vision, a multi-layered and multi-dimensional analysis of 'culture' is essential. We should move the analysis beyond the philosophical interpretation of relatively abstract and evasive macro-level processes, such as 'modernity' and 'post-modernity'. The future of the missional church depends on a differentiated and empirical, informed perspective on culture. For this purpose, this article proposes the concept of ecology: A system of diverse populations, including populations of congregations and faith communities, that interacts with these populations and with their specific environments. Preparing a missional congregation for the future should be accompanied with a thorough empirical investigation into the ecology of the congregation. We should be thinking intensively about and looking for vital ecologies. <![CDATA[<b>Leadership in Acts through a social capital lens</b>]]> Social capital can be defined in various ways. In most of these definitions at least three dimensions can be distinguished. First there is 'bonding' (the horizontal relationships between people operating within different social networks and with specific norms and values). The second dimension is 'bridging' (bonds that transcend differences in religion, ethnicity, culture and socio-economic status). This dimension prevents horizontal ties from becoming the basis for narrow and even sectarian interests. Normally, a third dimension called 'linking' also forms part of social capital, and ideological aspects come into focus here. This dimension includes aspects such as justice, political power and the equitable distribution of income and property. When leadership in Acts is analysed through the lenses of these multi-focal spectacles, interesting perspectives are discovered that can enrich theories on leadership. These discoveries can also open up new perspectives on aspects of being a missional church in our South African context from within the context of Acts. <![CDATA[<b>The 'Jezebel spirit': A scholarly inquiry</b>]]> Queen Jezebel is rightly recognised as one of the powerful women in the Old Testament. In the biblical text she is introduced as a 'foreign' queen and wife to Ahab, the 8th century king of the northern kingdom, Israel. This article examines some of the interpretations of this character in the church over the centuries. The focus falls on the latest development in this regard whereby, in some circles, the biblical character is linked to the existence of a 'Jezebel spirit' within the contemporary church. On the basis of a narratological reading of the Jezebel texts it is indicated that such an interpretation is unfounded and fails to take cognisance of developments in biblical interpretation related to literary understandings of the text. <![CDATA[<b>Social implications of knowing Yahweh: A study of Jeremiah 9:22-23</b>]]> In the brief passage of Jeremiah 9:22-23, wisdom, might and riches are explicitly rejected as reasons for boasting. The only true reason for boasting is if a person 'knows Yahweh'. In verse 23, this is linked with three other concepts: steadfast love, justice and righteousness. Jeremiah described the society of his day as corrupt in every sense of the word. People were stubborn, refused to acknowledge Yahweh and showed no signs of truly knowing him. They had, in fact, deserted the Torah of Yahweh. To know Yahweh has social implications. The rhetorical appeal of Jeremiah 9:22-23 to readers and hearers of this oracle is quite clear. To know Yahweh is not to claim to be wise or be the strongest or have the most possessions but to respond to Yahweh's way of acting. This implies an understanding of his loving-kindness and acting in a morally correct way. <![CDATA[<b>Perceptions about civil war in Central Africa: Can war be justified or solve problems?</b>]]> Civil war and ethnic violence are major problems in Central Africa and have caused the death and displacement of millions of people over the years. The aim of this study was to investigate the perceptions of religious leaders, lecturers and students in theology at various tertiary institutions in Central Africa with regard to civil war in the region. A structured questionnaire was used to investigate participants' perceptions about and attitudes towards civil war. The questionnaire was completed by 1 364 participants who originated or lived in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Rwanda. The results of the study illustrated the severe effect that civil wars had on the participants or their families and further indicated that Rwandans, Tutsis and males were more inclined toward justifying wars and seeing them as solutions for problems. The role of the Church in countering these perceptions is discussed. <![CDATA[<b>On loneliness and the value of slow reflection</b>]]> In this article, the author considers the relationship of law, morality and reconciliation. Intrigued by the political and ethical stances taken by Arendt and McCarthy, the author supports notions of detachment, slowness and social reconciliation concerning contemporary political and ethical questions. <![CDATA[<b>The story of the Red Sea as a theological framework of interpretation</b>]]> The exodus motif is widely agreed to be one of the central frameworks illustrating the salvational acts of God in both the Old and New Testaments. According to the Old Testament, the exodus motif was, to Israel, the paradigm of redemptive historical renewal. For this reason, the exodus motif provided the typological expression for all future hope of salvation and served as a theological paradigm to be used by Old and New Testament authors. In this article, the exodus theme in the Book of Revelation, chapters 12 to 13, is discussed in the following order: (1) Christ's crucifixion and resurrection as the archetypal exodus; (2) the chronological fulfillment of the exodus theme in the Bible; and (3) the exodus theme in Revelation 12 to 13. To investigate the exodus theme in Revelation 12 to 13, the intertextual interpretation, as based on the redemptive historical interpretation, will be highlighted. <![CDATA[<b>Inviting and initiating youth into a life of discipleship</b>]]> The research question/problem with which this article deals is whether we have lost the radical nature of the faith community as disciples of Jesus and seekers of the Kingdom of God? In youth ministry children and adolescents are often invited to make a decision for Christ as if such a decision comprises the totality of being a Christian. Being a Christian, as with being a disciple, consists of more than a mere decision. Both the Old and New Testaments reveal greater depth to such a commitment. Discipleship involves following Christ in a more considered way. Such a commitment requires the willingness to be initiated and guided into the acquisition of wisdom which enables one to discern what the more appropriate options are for a Christian to make. Given such a positioning, the role of the faith community as a people demands consideration. This article argues that we are the invitation and recommends how to frame the invitation. <![CDATA[<b>Considerations for acceptability in Bible translation</b>]]> The ministry of Bible translation is an important component of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) and its mandate is to reach everyone with the word of God. One of the main goals of a Bible translation project is to produce a translation that will be used by the church in a given language group. Bible translation teams believe that the lives of the intended recipients will be changed positively when they gain access to Scripture in their own language. However, recent developments regarding Scripture use have shown that the success of any Bible translation project depends on whether or not its products are acceptable. If a translation is not acceptable to the intended audience, it may not be used, and as a result, it may fail to bring about the desired impact. This article explores the concept of 'acceptability' as used in Bible translation and highlights important considerations that translators need to keep in mind in order to enhance the acceptability of their translation products. <![CDATA[<b>'I am writing this with my own hand...': Writing in New Testament times</b>]]> When the New Testament and early Christian writings are considered as situated, culturally mediated and historically functional events, the pitfall of a binary contrast between literacy and orality should be avoided. Focus should be on the physical and experiential aspects of ancient writing. Discussions of posture, education, cost and the amount of time involved in physical writing in Greco-Roman times are concluded by an analysis of the disposition of subservience that surrounded writing. <![CDATA[<b>Manichaeism: Its sources and influences on western Christianity</b>]]> The aim of this paper is twofold. First, it will discuss the origins of Manichaeism, a gnostic-Christian world religion that was founded by the prophet Mani (216-276). My discussion of the origins of Manichaeism may serve as an excellent example to illustrate what 'Gnosis' or 'Gnosticism' actually was. Second, the paper will outline how Manichaeism, being an alternative form of Christianity and even an alternative Christian Church, seemed to have exercised a considerable influence on Catholic Christianity. <![CDATA[<b>From Fast to Feast: A ritual-liturgical exploration of reconciliation in South African cultural contexts</b>]]> The aim of this paper is twofold. First, it will discuss the origins of Manichaeism, a gnostic-Christian world religion that was founded by the prophet Mani (216-276). My discussion of the origins of Manichaeism may serve as an excellent example to illustrate what 'Gnosis' or 'Gnosticism' actually was. Second, the paper will outline how Manichaeism, being an alternative form of Christianity and even an alternative Christian Church, seemed to have exercised a considerable influence on Catholic Christianity. <![CDATA[<b>Pelze, Gold und Weihwasser: Handel und mission in Afrika und Amerika</b>]]> The aim of this paper is twofold. First, it will discuss the origins of Manichaeism, a gnostic-Christian world religion that was founded by the prophet Mani (216-276). My discussion of the origins of Manichaeism may serve as an excellent example to illustrate what 'Gnosis' or 'Gnosticism' actually was. Second, the paper will outline how Manichaeism, being an alternative form of Christianity and even an alternative Christian Church, seemed to have exercised a considerable influence on Catholic Christianity.