Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Verbum et Ecclesia]]> vol. 36 num. 1 lang. pt <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Deconstructing the cultural confinement of the Western menopausal women towards a spirituality of liberation</b>]]> Throughout the ages, menstruation and menopause have posed unique challenges in the life of women. In Biblical times, much was said about the impurity of a menstruating woman. In the past century, however, the focus gradually shifted to menopause and the effect thereof on a woman's body, both aesthetically and physiologically. Freud went so far as to argue that menopausal women are neurotic and that an oophorectomy (the surgical removal of the female ovaries) should be a standard procedure for a menopausal woman. Unfortunately, this Freudian theory has not yet been completely demolished in our contemporary society. Hysterectomies (the surgical removal of the uterus) are still frequently performed on menopausal women, and all too often, antidepressants are included in menopausal women' medical regimes. The question remains: Can hysterectomy, hormone replacement therapy and antidepressants 'erase' the challenges that Western menopausal women face? INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: Western menopausal women are under tremendous social pressure to preserve their youthfulness. Many middle-aged women live with the fear that their declining sexual appeal may result in rejection, both personally and professionally. Unfortunately, the intellectual value of these women is seldom acknowledged. <![CDATA[<b>A comprehensive typology of philosophical perspectives on Qohelet</b>]]> In this article, the author seeks to provide the first comprehensive typology of philosophical approaches to the book of Qohelet (Ecclesiastes). Six overlapping, yet functionally distinct, meta-philosophical categories are identified, namely (1) general philosophical profiling, (2) ancient philosophical comparisons, (3) modern philosophical comparisons, (4) topical philosophical exegesis, (5) philosophical reception histories and actualisations and (6) anti-philosophical readings. The conclusion of the study is that research on Qohelet in relationship to philosophy is quantitatively more complex and multifaceted than traditional overviews tend to show. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: This study challenges the context of currently available perspectives on Qohelet in relationship to philosophy, resulting in the provisioning of a quantitatively more functional framework for meta-philosophical commentary, which in turn both demands and makes possible a change in the way philosophical approaches to the text are construed. <![CDATA[<b>Primary causality: In defence of the metaphysical rationality of faith in God as Creator</b>]]> Support has been lent to contemporary 'New Atheism' from physicalist interpretations of 'hard' science. From this perspective, any system of knowledge that does not rely solely upon empirical method is deemed meaningless in comparison to observationally-grounded empirical science. Consequently, as a non-empirically-based approach, faith positions are included in the critique offered by physicalists. The impetus for this article, then, is to establish physicalism as a reductionist epistemology that is partially comprised of - seemingly inconspicuously embedded - metaphysical assumptions. With metaphysics apparent in 'hard' science, it is argued from a Thomist perspective that metaphysical themes of primary causality must be realistically considered to account for being. As a logical outcome, the proposal is made that metaphysical primary causality directs to the reasonable suggestion that God creates. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: This article specifically challenges the currently trendy 'New Atheist' school of thought, resting upon the counter-argument offered that 'hard' science cannot ultimately account for the emergence or continued existence of being. Utilising Aquinas, the research calls for a re-embracement of unified, as opposed to limited, systems of knowledge. <![CDATA[<b>Anything new under the sun of African Biblical Hermeneutics in South African Old Testament Scholarship? Incarnation, death and resurrection of the Word in Africa</b>]]> In this article, two lenses are used to engage the task of African Biblical Hermeneutics. The one lens is derived from African wisdom, i shavha i sia muinga i ya fhi?, in which there is a need for people to affirm their own roots. Drawing from the wisdom of the preceding proverb, we argue that, in their scholarship, African biblical scholars have to take seriously their own African heritage and thus do justice to their contexts rather than rely heavily on Western paradigms if their scholarship is to impact communities and also contribute towards shaping the face of biblical hermeneutics as a whole. The other lens is an analogy derived from the following events in Jesus' life: incarnation, death and resurrection. The task of African Biblical Hermeneutics has to be a three-fold process for the Bible to be 'gospel' in Africa: Firstly, the incarnation of the Word - the Bible as the Other has to incarnate into African contexts for it to become an African Word. Secondly, the death of the Word - this entails a critical engagement with the Word from multiple perspectives for it to be relevant to the struggles of African people. Thirdly, the resurrection of the Word - the biblical text has to be allowed to address and transform an African person in new creative ways. <![CDATA[<b>Happy? A critical analysis of salvation in Ellen Charry that portrays human flourishing as healing, beauty and pleasure</b>]]> Happiness and human flourishing has increasingly, especially in American and German theological writing, become a focus in systematic theological research on creation, salvation and eschatology. The doctrine of salvation has particularly interesting (including etymological) connections with the notions of well-being and health. This paper proposes to do a critical analysis of well known American happiness theologian Ellen Charry's portrayal of salvation, who engages with classical theology, Christian doctrine and positive psychology to reposition the notions of 'happiness' and 'human flourishing' within theological reflection. The art of happiness has, for Charry, to do with knowing, loving and enjoying God. In this article it will be argued that Charry's portrayal of salvation as being 'happy' shapes an understanding of flourishing that entails healing, beauty and pleasure. <![CDATA[<b>Christian Leadership as a trans-disciplinary field of study</b>]]> The focus of this article is on Christian Leadership as a theological and academic field of study, rather than on the praxis of Christian leadership. We define Christian Leadership and note the varying ecclesial, theological and social contexts within which research in the field of Christian Leadership is conducted. We discuss some trends and areas of interest that emerge from within African and European contexts, especially those of South Africa and Germany. In the article, we show how research in Christian Leadership is linked to other disciplines, both theological and non-theological. Finally, we identify key areas of research and methodological issues relevant to the field of Christian Leadership, particularly in relation to the disciplines of Practical Theology and Theological Ethics. We give special credit to Schleiermacher who defined Practical Theology as the 'theory of church leadership'. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: Christian leadership is understood as a trans-disciplinary field of study that draws on both theological and other disciplines (such as Management Sciences, Psychology and Sociology). Christian leadership can be pursued as a distinct discipline or a trans-disciplinary field of study, but it cannot be pursued in isolation. <![CDATA[<b>Discerning urban spiritualities: Tahrir Square, Occupy Wall Street and the idols of global market capitalism</b>]]> Discernment might be said to be a process of searching for meaning in the light of an (un) articulated Absolute. This search takes place in the tension between the private and public spheres of life, mostly mitigated by a community. Intermediate communities, such as churches or social movements, construct symbolic spirituality systems for its adherers to search for meaning in the light of an (un)articulated Absolute. The urban events of Occupy Wall Street and Tahrir Square also step into the tension between the public and private spheres of life, creating a (temporary) symbolic spirituality system for its adherers. These events were attempts to construct alternatives to the meta-narrative of global market capitalism. As events attempting to symbolise an urban spirituality, Tahrir Square and Occupy Wall Street dissipated rapidly, effecting rather little change at the heart of global market capitalism. This article theorises a possible reason for these urban spiritualities' dissipation, namely an overlap with global market capitalism's idols of instant gratification and technology. INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: Viewing Occupy Walls Street and Tahrir Square as symbolic systems of spirituality further strengthens theological urban discourse whilst adding weight to viewing mass movements as spiritualities attempting discernment <![CDATA[<b>Dining in the lions' den - Bel and the dragon, verses 28-42 (Old Greek/Theodotion)</b>]]> This article is part of a series of articles written on Bel and the dragon. This series of articles is an investigation into the Greek editor/author's use of body, space, narrative and genre in creating a new reality regarding the Jewish deity. A spatial framework is used to specifically examine the third episode of Bel and the dragon, entitled Dining in the lions' den. It is suggested that the third episode of Bel and the dragon should be read in a reciprocal relationship with not only Bel and the dragon but also the larger book of Daniel. Firstly, such an analysis indicates that the smaller episode is part of a larger clash of deities. Secondly, it shows that the editor/ author utilises the episode to recreate a new cosmology. In this new cosmology, the God of Israel is an almighty deity whilst other deities are revealed as false and not real living gods. In his own way, the editor/author contributes to the way in which Jews regarded their God within the reality of the diaspora. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: The aim with this article was to analyse Daniel 14 by means of new insights from developments in language studies. Until now, scholars tended to repeat each other in their analysis of Daniel 14. No attention was given to space, body or other aspects of new developments in the field of language. This article challenges the repetitive research previously done on Daniel 14. <![CDATA[<b><i>Deus ex Machina? </i></b><b>Religious texts, spiritual capital and inequalities: In continuation of a current debate (a response to colleague Farisani)</b>]]> Often, theological debates stand in the tension between idealist and realist perspectives. This is true too of a discussion in which I have participated on the Africanisation or contextualisation or relevance of the Bible in (South) Africa. In this debate I have at times been cast as being opposed to such Africanisation or contextualisation or relevance. Such criticism is mistaken. I am, however, critical of too idealistic views on the ways in which Old Testament research can impact African problems. In an interdisciplinary manner, the sociological concept of spiritual capital proves useful in illustrating my view. With this, I hope to be understood correctly and, more importantly, to contribute to greater realism concerning the relationship between research and societal problems. In that way, the Africanisation or contextualisation or relevance of the Bible in (South) Africa can become a greater reality. This is of increased importance in the post-secular time frame in which we currently find ourselves, in which the role of religion in the public sphere is again finding greater acceptance rather than being side-lined. On all counts, thus, the plight of the marginalised may be better served. Such broader acceptance of religion also demands that Bible scholarship takes full cognisance of the societal processes through which such upliftment can occur in reality. Therefore, en route to publication, this contribution is presented for critical consideration in three intellectual fora: • The Religious and Spiritual Capital session, XVIIIth International Sociological Association World Congress of Sociology (conference theme: 'Facing an unequal world'), Yokohama, Japan, 13-19 July 2014. • The Old Testament Society of South Africa Annual Conference (conference theme: 'Studying the Old Testament in South Africa, from 1994 to 2014 and beyond'), University of Johannesburg, 03-05 September 2014. • The Research Day of the Department of Biblical and Ancient Studies, University of South Africa, 25 September 2014, at which colleague E. Farisani's University of South Africa inaugural lecture of 03 September 2013, 'Dispelling myths about African biblical hermeneutics: The role of current trends in African biblical hermeneutics in the post-apartheid South Africa' was re-presented as 'Current trends and patterns in African Biblical Hermeneutics in post-apartheid South Africa: Myth or Fact?' for the purpose of critical discussion. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: The intersection of Theology and Sociology adds concrete avenues for furthering the cause of the Africanisation of Biblical Studies. <![CDATA[<b>God in the everyday: The biblical God and the God of philosophers and artists</b>]]> Life in secular Western society is lived and experienced within an immanent framework, with no reference to God. For many there is no longer any self-evident connection between God and ordinary life - ordinary life here broadly conceived as painted or narrated in art and literature. Since the time of the church fathers, the Christian tradition has conceived of God not only as personal but also, with reference to Exodus 3:14, as being or being-itself. Heidegger criticised this as onto-theology. Is it not better to speak about God without being (J-L Marion)? This problem is discussed from the approach of the philosophy of religion and it is argued that it is possible to speak about God in terms of being. This article further explores how Paul Tillich and Richard Kearney connect God with everyday life by speaking of God in terms of being. Tillich's ontology is a-historical and classical insofar as he uses the concepts of participation and analogia entis. Kearney proposes ontology as onto-eschatological, dynamic, historical, and hermeneutical. This article thus shows that the biblical God is viewed as the God of the philosophers in terms of being-itself (Tillich) and the God who may be (Kearney). The biblical God is also the God of the artists in whose works of art a trace of the religious ultimate is visible in the sacramental power of sensory reality or in secular epiphanies. <![CDATA[<b>'Preaching from the pews': A case study in vulnerable theological leadership</b>]]> When explaining vulnerability as a theme for the conference of the Societas Homiletica, the organisers referred to two ways in which the concept can be interpreted. On the one hand, it can refer to preachers themselves as vulnerable people, subjected and accountable to other people. On the other hand, it can refer to the fact that preachers are often called to preach about difficult and challenging aspects of life and faith. In this sense, preachers speak on behalf of those who are vulnerable and in need of attention. In this contribution, both understandings are at play when the researcher takes a closer look at the sermons that were preached as part of a project known as the 'The sermon of the layperson' in Stellenbosch, South Africa, during September and October 2013. An analysis of the contents of these sermons, as an exercise in 'preaching from the pews', shows that they were preached on behalf of vulnerable people. In the process of analysis, it also became apparent that the preachers were themselves examples of vulnerable theological leadership in the sense that they were 'lay people' and therefore not in positions of official authority within faith communities. All of the preachers were however quite influential in their own areas of specialisation and professional life, and therefore, their sermons also communicated hope amidst situations of vulnerability. <![CDATA[<b>Learning from African theologians and their hermeneutics: Some reflections from a German Evangelical theologian</b>]]> This article shares some reflections on African theology from an outside perspective. Starting from personal experiences as a German Evangelical coming to South Africa, it basically takes a look at the book African theology on the way: Current conversations, edited by Diane B. Stinton. It wants to identify ways of looking at theology which could be considered in some way or another as 'especially African'. The article then compares these findings with two other books, presenting two different ways of applied African theology: The Africana Bible, edited by Hugh R. Page, coming from a very international background and implementing also the views of African people living outside of Africa, and the Africa Bible Commentary (ABC), edited by Tokunboh Adyemo, featuring an evangelical view. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: This research gives an outside view on African theology and hermeneutics from an European perspective. It challenges the one-way transfer of theological thinking from Europe to Africa, which for many centuries determined the relationship between the continents. It shows that European theologians indeed can learn much from African theologians and their way of reading the Bible. <![CDATA[<b>Ecclesia Reformata semper Reformanda: A convergent approach to science and theology may reinforce Scriptural authority</b>]]> The purpose of this article is to debate the relationship between a convergent approach to the sciences and Scriptural authority. The thesis is that a multi-disciplinary convergent methodology may be beneficial in the current apologetical debate about the relevance of Scripture. This line of thought is also in compliance with the ideals of the protestant reformation. We will assess this view by investigating the possible consonance between scientific perspectives and theological confessions of what it means to be human. Subsequently the focus will shift to the impact consonance might have on the different interpretations of the creation narratives in Genesis. In conclusion, we will state the case for a convergent approach to the sciences, and the benefits with regard to Scriptural authority. Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: This study would not have been possible without extensive intradisciplinary and interdisciplinary research. The subject matter imposes on the researcher the necessity to make use of knowledge from across the theological spectrum. It compels the various subjects within the theological encyclopedia to take note of any new research and incorporate it. In addition, it dispels the myth that natural science and theology have little in common. From a holistic perspective on creation the need for continuous interaction between the sciences is imperative. <![CDATA[<b>Together towards life and mission: A basis for good governance in church and society today</b>]]> In this research, important policy decisions by the 2013 General Synod of the Dutch Reformed Church on the missional nature of the church were investigated in dialogue with the new mission affirmation of the World Council of Churches Together towards life: Mission and evangelism in changing landscapes (2013). The research concluded that the new policy document of the Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa (DRC) shows convergence with TTL and that the DRC finds itself within the current ecumenical discourse on church and mission. The DRC does have a comprehensive missional ecclesiology, understanding the church as missional by its very nature. Church polity is informed by a missional understanding of being church. The DRC shows good governance in the sense that it has embarked on a process to revise the church order in the light of the policy decisions and in the sense of the foundation laid by revising a number of important articles of the church order. The research also found that a missional approach affirms life in its fullness and allows and participates in the flourishing of creation. The deduction was that good governance in society entails a society where justice is practised, sustainable lifestyles propagated and respect for the earth practised. The DRC, with its missional understanding of being church, can benefit in its discernment processes and prophetic witness by using an appropriate hermeneutical key in its participation in good governance - to discern where life in its fullness is affirmed. The research found that the DRC finds itself, together with a broader ecumenical community, on a journey towards life. It does have an appropriate basis for good governance in church and society. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: The research calls for a change in the traditional discourse on the role of denominations and brings together insights from ecumenical studies and missional ecclesiology that might assist the reformulation of church polity. <![CDATA[<b>The 'cognitive' and the 'emotive' component in Christian songs: Tracing the shifts in traditional and contemporary songs</b>]]> This research article is based on the author's doctoral research into the question of quality criteria for Christian songs. In many Christian congregations today, the question of music is an emotive issue as the service and its music touch the heart of people's faith life and shapes people's theology. Of the many issues that were investigated in the dissertation, this article focuses on one question only, the question of the 'cognitive' and the 'emotive' value of the songs that are sung in a Sunday service. It will be argued that, in 'good' songs, there needs to be a good balance between 'cognitive' and 'emotive' value. The general question is how to identify songs that can nurture faith and sustain people through life. Characteristic of such songs is, amongst many other criteria, a good balance between the cognitive and emotive value of the text and the tune. In the discussion, the author focusses largely on her own Lutheran liturgical and hymnological tradition as well as on the 'Praise and Worship' movement which has a dramatic impact on churches all over the world. The author argues that finding songs that balance the emotive and the cognitive component is an effective way to bridge the divides on worship music within a congregation. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: Within the discipline of hymnological studies, the article opens a ground-breaking new way to analyse and critique music used in worship with objective tools for analysis. This is, as far as the author knows, new for this discipline, and it also has an effect on other disciplines. <![CDATA[<b>Setswana proverbs within the institution of <i>lenyalo </i>[marriage]: A critical engagement with the <i>bosadi </i>[womanhood] approach</b>]]> Setswana proverbs point to the rich oral history of the Batswana people, their cosmology, morality, indigenous knowledge system, rituals, drama, sayings and memo scripts which are deeply embedded in memory. They emerged from reflections on existential experiences and animal behaviour. In her analysis of Proverbs 31:10-31 found in the Hebrew text, Masenya rereads this text in conjugation with her Northern Sotho proverbs regarding women from a bosadi [womanhood] approach. It is in this approach that she attempts to engage structures of 'patriarchy' and the marginalisation of women's identities. In so doing, the approach grapples with issues such as the mythological thinking of male dominance, cultural subjugation, gender equality, political marginalisation and economic transaction. The decolonial turn as a theoretical framework acknowledges the particularity and universality of cultures and knowledge. Whilst there is particularity among African cultures, there is also universality. In this article I will refer to Setswana proverbs in the context of marriage to engage the bosadi approach. It is the intention of this article to argue that proverbs such as lebitla la mosadi ke bogadi need to be contextualised within their historical location as well as within the context of the institution of lenyalo that is anchored in the practice of bogadi. Furthermore, there is a need to critically engage with terms such as patriarchy, oppression, structure and hierarchy. The paper will use the decolonial turn as a theoretical framework. A conclusion will be drawn from the discussion above. Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: This article has an interdisciplinary approach, it touches on Historical analysis of Setswana Proverbs, the missionary era and the transition between 'Setswana traditional' worldview and 'Euro-Christian' worldview. Furthermore, it pertains to the understanding of the Proverbs within the custom of Lenyalo (marriage), boarders between anthropological, sociological and African philosophy approaches. The fundamental theoretical approaches used in this article is translational theory and decolonial turn, which is social sciences. <![CDATA[<b><i>In good times and in bad: </i></b><b>The tumultuous relationship between the church and the organ - is divorce inevitable?</b>]]> Through the ages, a delicate relationship has existed between the church and the pipe organ. Since the 10th century, the organ established itself as a unique instrument in service of worship. This relationship was not always a steady one, and this article investigates the tumultuous affair between the two parties. In part one of the article, which is a historic perspective, the relationship is discussed by looking at different cultures and uses of the organ in the worship service. This gives a sense of when and how the relationship came into being and developed or deteriorated. In part two, the current situation in the Afrikaans Reformed service is explored by conducting several unstructured interviews with key role players in the theological and musical world of South Africa. In part three, the study ventures into speculating about the future of the organ in the worship service by briefly looking at the attitude of the organist and spirituality of the postmodern church goer. In essence, this article reflects on whether the marriage between church and music instrument is solid or on its way to the divorce court. Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: The relationship between organ and church has to be reconsidered. The use of the organ in the worship service has to be taken under scrutiny, and a new relationship agreement between the two partners has to be formulated. <![CDATA[<b>The preacher's vulnerable attitudes in naming reality in a neglected society</b>]]> Ecclesiastical studies seem to reveal that the praxis of preaching is often confronted with a stumbling block in the negative attitudes of preachers despite their good intentions and the interdependence between prayer and preaching. In naming reality in society, it seems to be important that preachers first of all examine their own attitudes regarding their hearers and reality in society. In light of this problematic praxis, the research question is: To what extent do preachers with positive attitudes equip their hearers by means of a dialogue to listen profoundly to the content of preaching when the preaching names realities in society? In order to address this research question, the problem is investigated from the present practical-theological vantage points in the field. The matter is further explored by examining meta-theoretical perspectives from the fields of Social Psychology and Communication Sciences. As part of this process, the author seeks to investigate the difficult process of the formation and manifestation of attitudes in behaviour. An investigation into normative vantage points, perspectives from II Corinthians 5 and the Pastoral Letters, indicate that the message and the way in which preachers deliver their sermons are important. The conclusion poses that negative attitudes are indeed dangerous when it forms part of this ecclesiastical praxis and can even cause hearers to abandon all intent to be salt and light in society. Preachers must utilise dialogue in preparation for their sermons. They must focus on the dialogical nature of preaching in the context of the liturgy and must make time to stimulate feedback after they have delivered their sermons to make sure that hearers understand their calling in society. Congregations must become communities that live founded in profound communication. Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: This article recognises the interdisciplinary approach to the social sciences. In Practical Theology, research focuses on communicative acts which bring the field into an overlap with other sciences that have the same focus. This article briefly focuses on an interdisciplinary discourse with the fields of Social Psychology and Communication Sciences regarding the forming and functioning of attitudes, which can possibly influence the sermon delivery of preachers. This article addresses the issue of naming reality in society. In this process, the naming of the attitude of the preacher is very important. <![CDATA[<b>The Catechetical School in Alexandria</b>]]> During her Golden Era, Alexandria, the Delta City of Egypt, was the pride of Africa in that she was larger than the two other world cities of the Roman Empire - Rome and Antioch -and also the unrivalled intellectual centre of the (Greco-)Roman world. Her schools, including the Didaskaleion - the Catechetical School - outshone the schools of her rivals by far. During the first half of the 1st century CE and specifically after the destruction of the temple and the fall of Jerusalem in 70 CE, many Jews fled their home country for different parts of the Roman Empire, like Transjordan, Syria and Africa. A number of these Jews -later called Christians - believed in Jesus of Nazareth. In Alexandria, these believers were confronted with different religions, cults and philosophies. The Didaskaleion was founded to rival these religions and cults and to provide the students with the necessary basis for their newly found religion. The lack of literature, on the one hand, and the credibility of the extant literature, on the other, caused great difficulty in reasoning with authority on the Didaskaleion. This is part one of two articles, the second one being constructed around the heads of the School. Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: Research about Africa done by Africans (inhabitants of Africa) need to increase because, in many ways Africa, is silent or silenced about her past. The fundamental question is: 'Can anything good come out of Africa?' My answer is, 'Yes! Come and see.' Therefore these two articles attempt to indicate the significance of Africa, which was actually the place where Christian Theology was founded. This has intra- as well as interdisciplinary implications. In this case the investigation is done from a theological perspective. <![CDATA[<b>Dealing with corruption in South African civil society: Orientating Christian communities for their role in a post-apartheid context</b>]]> The way in which the full spectrum of Christian communities are challenged to realign themselves in addressing the impact of corruption on the contemporary South-African society can be a relevant indicator of civil society's state and functionality in a post-apartheid democratic context. Utilising the interpretative and normative tools of practical-theological research, the researcher attempts to point out markers for Christian communities towards orientating themselves regarding their role in a complex landscape and in an asymmetrically shaped public sphere. The discussion includes an analysis of the current shape of civil society, an interpretation of the complex landscape of perceptions regarding corruption and an overview of the dilemmas faced by some of the major Christian church traditions in the post-apartheid South African context concerning their truthful presence in civil society. The discussion concludes by making a case for the need to anchor the realignment of the prophetic voice and the revitalisation of the transformative presence in a profound and far-reaching theological reorientation. Tension fields that involve critical and constructive action in a situation of endemic corruption cannot be negotiated without ridding the own presence from potential corruptive elements like hidden exclusivity, half-hearted concern and compromise. Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: Making use of the interdisciplinary results of social sciences and civil-society studies, the author provides an overview for Christian communities and their leaders in theologically orientating themselves for an appropriate angle of approach in entering the public sphere with a view on authentic and impactful participation in anti-corruption dialogue and actions. The key finding of the research amounts to the following: Tension fields that involve critical and constructive action in a situation of endemic corruption cannot be negotiated without ridding the own presence from potential corruptive elements like hidden exclusivity, half-hearted concern and compromise. <![CDATA[<b>Reconstructing a Deuteronomistic Athaliah in the (South) African context: A critique of the patriarchal perception of women</b>]]> Angie Motshekga, the president of the Women's League of the ruling African National Congress (ANC 2014), is reported to have said that 'South Africa is not ready to have a female president...' What is perturbing about her statement is the presupposition that South-African society perceives women as presently incapable of leading the country as president. Given the variety of literature on female empowerment in South Africa, Motshekga's statement comes both as a disappointment and a disempowering assertion as it does not exhibit a clear attempt to address patriarchy. This article re-interprets the character of Athaliah in 2 Kings 11 and probes it for the empowering possibility that it offers the women of South Africa. It argues that Athaliah was a politically astute queen and that the scarcity of female rulers in ancient Israel confirms the patriarchal bias against women. Thus, drawing from the reconstructed character of Athaliah and from the leadership demonstrated by selected women politicians against a patriarchal paradigm that is part of African cultures, the article submits that the perception of women as capable of leading South Africa as president is justified. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: The present article partly responds to Angie Motshekga's statement that 'South Africa is not ready to have a female president ... ' Thus, drawing from the insight in the fields of the Old Testament, social sciences and gender studies, this article submits that the perception that women are capable of leading South Africa as president is warranted. <![CDATA[<b>A comparative-philosophical perspective on divine hiddenness in the Hebrew Bible</b>]]> This study is concerned with the problem of divine hiddenness as it has taken shape in analytic philosophy of religion over the past two decades. More specifically, the interest lies with providing a comparative-philosophical perspective on the most fundamental assumptions of the problem in certain formulations and its responses against the backdrop of diverse yet related data in the Hebrew Bible. In doing so the aim is not to justify or critique any particular biblical or philosophical perspective on divine hiddenness but simply to identify and clarify some crucial differences in various relevant conceptual backgrounds. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: By way of pointing out a number of similarities and differences between concepts of divine hiddenness in the theologies of the Hebrew Bible and in a specific formulation thereof in analytic philosophy of religion, this article not only reveals some neglected specifics of the historical variability of an important theological idea but also suggests taking caution when appealing to alleged biblical precursors to contemporary philosophical-theological problems. <![CDATA[<b>Pastoral ministry in a missional age: Towards a practical theological understanding of missional pastoral care</b>]]> This article concerns itself with the development of a missional ecclesiology and the practices that may accept the challenge of conducting pastoral ministry in the context of South African, middleclass congregations adapting to a rapidly changing, post-apartheid environment. Some practical theological perspectives on pastoral counselling are investigated, whilst Narrative Therapy is explored as an emerging theory of deconstruction to enable the facilitating of congregational change towards a missional understanding of church life in local communities. Subsequently, the theological paradigm of missional ecclesiology is investigated before drawing the broad lines of a theory for pastoral ministry within missional ecclesiology. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: In this article, a missional base theory is proposed for pastoral counselling, consisting of interdisciplinary insights gained from the fields of Missiology, Practical Theology, Narrative Therapy and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. The implications of this proposal for the development of a missional pastoral theory focus on the following three aspects: • re-establishing pastoral identity: exploring Christ • pastoral development: intentional faith formation • pastoral ministry: enabling Christ-centred lives. In such a missional pastoral theory four practices should be operationalised: first of all, a cognitive approach to increasing knowledge of the biblical narrative is necessary. This provides the hermeneutical skills necessary to enable people to internalise the biblical ethics and character traits ascribed to the Christian life. Secondly, a pastoral theory needs to pay close attention to development of emotional intelligence. Thirdly, this should be done in the context of small groups, where the focus falls on the personality development of members. Finally, missional pastoral theory should also include the acquisition of life coaching skills, where leaders can be adequately mentored in their roles as coaches of nonequipped people. In taking the research to a further level of normative reflection, attention should be turned to developing specific areas of pastoral care: • formal clinical education and subsequent accreditation of pastors (in the South African context pastoral care is not legally recognised as a valid area of psychological therapy) -specifically pertaining to Narrative Therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy • basic counselling skills for non-theologically trained congregational leaders • qualitative and quantitative research methods • organisational theory for congregational ministry • crisis counselling skills for congregation members serving in a community context • marriage and family therapy • emotional intelligence as outcome of a spiritual growth cycle • leadership development and personality assessment • personal growth by confronting and crossing emotional and cultural boundaries. <![CDATA[<b>Symbolising salvation: A semiotic analysis of the church as a transformative communication system in the world</b>]]> This article considers the church from a semiotic and systems-theory perspective as a revelatory symbol of the salvation-historical acts of God for and in the world. The church, as a communicative field of encounter between God and humans as well as between humans amongst each other, creates space for symbols that may be utilised to realise further encounters. At the same time, the church also operates as a communicative symbol in her own right which may be 'read' and 'interpreted' by others. The church as an operational system is shown to generate revelatory symbols to the world through her separation from, engagement with and being directed towards the world. The church is shown to exist and operate in dynamic conflict with the world as well as with the Kingdom of God through the overcoming presence of the Holy Spirit within her. An operational communicative-system model of the church indicates that the church is an alternating rather than alternative community, which ensures ideological relevance as well as theological difference between the church and the world. INTERDISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTRADISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: This article utilises insights from the fields of semiotics and systems theory within a practical-theological ecclesiology, thereby providing new perspectives on the church. The article also interacts with aspects of systematic-theological ecclesiology. <![CDATA[<b>Reading the Bible in the 21st century: Some hermeneutical principles: Part 1</b>]]> Many books and articles have been published over several decades on 'biblical hermeneutics' to capture the epistemology of biblical hermeneutics and the phenomenology of interpretation, communication and language in order to direct the Bible reader how to read the ancient texts, assembled in the Bible, sensibly. The first part of this essay looks briefly into the history of biblical hermeneutics of the past century in order to generate an orientation of how 'biblical hermeneutics' was regarded and applied as well as to constitute an environment for the investigation to follow in the rest of this essay and in a succeeding essay. In the second part of this essay, a few hermeneutical approaches are analysed in order to recommend a way forward for the dynamic analysis and interpretation (ερμηνεία) of biblical texts. This prepares the stage for the recommendation of two extra textures or aspects to be incorporated in the hermeneutical process, to be investigated in a succeeding essay. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: This article briefly orientates the reader about the paradigm shifts concerning biblical hermeneutics over the previous half century. It challenges the holistic approach to incorporate spirituality and the embodiment of biblical texts in the hermeneutical process. Disciplines involved are hermeneutics and methodology, theology and spirituality. <![CDATA[<b>Reading the Bible in the 21st century: Some hermeneutical principles: Part 2</b>]]> This essay is to be an extension of the essay 'Reading the Bible in the 21st century: Some hermeneutical principles: Part 1'. Two more 'hermeneutical aspects' are proposed and discussed in this essay: the aspects of spirituality and embodiment. These two aspects are presented in this essay to supplement and compliment the hermeneutical process. A few remarks on the idiosyncrasy of texts pave the way for the legitimate exploitation of spiritualities (lived experiences) embedded in biblical texts which should be regarded as an addition to 'biblical hermeneutics' and which have to serve as a catalyst for the embodiment of the 'reading texts'. <![CDATA[<b>Religion, mission and national development: A contextual interpretation of Jeremiah 29:4-7 in the light of the activities of the Basel Mission Society in Ghana (1828-1918) and its missiological implications</b>]]> We cannot realistically analyse national development without factoring religion into the analysis. In the same way, we cannot design any economic development plan without acknowledging the influence of religion on its implementation. The fact is that, many economic development policies require a change from old values, attitudes, beliefs and behaviour patterns of the citizenry to those that are supportive of the new policy. Christianity has become a potent social force in every facet of Ghanaian life, from family life, economic activities, occupation, and health to education. In the light of the essential role of religion in national development, this article discusses the role the Basel Mission Society played in the development of Ghana and its missiological implications. This article argues that the Basel Mission Society did not only present the gospel to the people of Ghana, they also practicalised the gospel by developing their converts spiritually, economically, and educationally. Through these acts of love by the Basel Mission Society, the spreading of the Gospel gathered momentum and advanced. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: The article contributes to the interdisciplinary discourse on religion and development with specific reference to the role of the Basel Mission Society's activities in Ghana (1828-1918). It provides missiological implications of their activities in the light of the broader Ecumenical discourses. <![CDATA[<b>The heads of the Catechetical School in Alexandria</b>]]> This is the second of two articles, the first article being concerned with general questions regarding the Didaskaleion in Alexandria. The account of the founding of the Didaskaleion in Alexandria is based on information provided by Eusebius of Caesarea (263-339), a Roman historian, exegete and Christian polemicist, in his well-known Historia Ecclesiastica, which he wrote during the first half of the 4th century. The heads of the Didaskaleion are, however, not indicated by Eusebius in an exhaustive order, as he referred to only some of them. The only ancient writer who attempted to assemble a list of heads at the Didaskaleion was Philip Sidetes (ca 380-440), also called Philip of Side (Side being a city in ancient Pamphylia, now Turkey), also a historian, of whom only a few fragments are extant. He provided a list of 13 heads ('teachers'), ending with Rhodon who allegedly was his teacher. This article will list and discuss all the scholars being referred to as heads of the Didaskaleion during her existence, which could date back to the second half of the 1st century CE and ended somewhere near the end of the 4th century. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: Research about Africa done by Africans (inhabitants of Africa) needs to increase, because in many ways Africa is silent or silenced about her past. The fundamental question is: 'Can anything good come out of Africa?' My answer is, 'Yes! Come and see.' Therefore these two articles attempt to indicate the significance of Africa which was actually the place where Christian Theology was founded. This has intradisciplinary as well as interdisciplinary implications; in this case the investigation is done from a theological perspective. <![CDATA[<b>A Korean perspective on megachurches as missional churches</b>]]> Both the megachurch and the missional church are on-going global phenomena. Working from the premise that the church has to be missional, this article operates from a Korean perspective and researches whether a megachurch can be missional. The megachurch is not simply a very large church in terms of membership or the physical size of its building(s) - because of the influence of the interaction between socio-cultural, historical, and theological backgrounds, the megachurch has its own missiological and ecclesiological perspectives. The megachurch understands that the growth of an individual church implies the expansion of the kingdom of God, which means that the individual church has a responsibility to be both functionally and structurally sound, in order to ensure the efficient growth of the kingdom. This is an influential tendency that is found not only in larger size churches, but in all churches who are trying to achieve the quantitative growth of the church by way of evangelisation. The Korean megachurches, represented by the Poongsunghan Church, display these characteristics. The missional church is not simply a mission-driven church, sending many missionaries to other countries; the missional church believes that all churches are sent to the world by God, who wants to reconcile the whole universe with himself. The implication of this is that the church has to restore its missional essence in order to be able to participate in the mission of God. Thus, the missional church is a reforming movement that witnesses to God's rule by recovering its apostolic nature. The characteristics of this movement are clearly visible in one of the case studies - the Bundang Woori Church. The importance of the missional movement for Korean churches is emphasised. INTERDISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: The research is a case study of Korean megachurches from a missional perspective. The research represents a critique of practises in Korean megachurches and a contrarian view of the mainline discourse in terms of the popularised view of Korean megachurches. The research may result in new insights in the missional possibilities open to megachurches. <![CDATA[<b>A return to virtue ethics: Virtue ethics, cognitive science and character education</b>]]> Morality in church and society is a burning issue. Church leaders know that the challenges are both formidable and urgent, yet finding solutions is easier said than done. The question this article asks is how can we educate for character? In the past, deontology or rule ethics reigned supreme, virtue ethics, however, gradually made a comeback. Currently virtue ethics is an important part of character education in the United States of America, especially with schools affiliated with churches. Recent insights provided by researchers focusing on cognitive science (working from the vantage point of cognitive and social psychology) have managed to prove the legitimacy of virtue ethics but remind us that virtues must not be drilled into children; moral deliberation and imagination must be fostered in order to cultivate individuals with moral character that will be able to reflect on their own received tradition. I provide an example of such a method of education when I explain Integrative Ethical Education as formulated by Darcia Narvaez. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: This article confirms the validity of virtue ethics but calls for a change in the standard method of character education that exclusively emphasises knowledge of the Bible and strict obedience to the morals that the local community derives from the Bible, to an approach that also encourages teachers to help foster independent thinkers neither lacking in character nor the ability to reflect critically on their own tradition. I do believe that such a change is possible as was recently shown by the implementation of Darcia Narvaez's Integrative Ethical Education in the United States of America. <![CDATA[<b>The leadership challenges of Paul's collection for the saints in Jerusalem: Part I - Overcoming the obstacles on the side of the Gentile Christian donors</b>]]> In addition to many other activities, the Apostle Paul was involved in a large-scale fund raising project. Following a charge he once had received in Jerusalem to remember the poor (Gl 2:10), Paul tried to convince the predominantly Gentile Christian churches which he had founded to contribute to a collection for the impoverished Jewish Christians of Jerusalem. For the potential donors it was far from obvious that they should be involved in benefaction for people far away and unable to reciprocate to their would-be 'patrons', to name but one obstacle. Whilst Paul is best known as theologian, missionary and pastor, his collection project also indicates his determination and skills as an early Christian leader. In this quest, Paul combined a broad salvation historical perspective, skilful persuasion and rhetoric, the notions of honour and shame, exemplary transparency and other aspects. This article describes what obstacles Paul had to overcome on the side of the Gentile Christian donors, how he did so and how he proceeded in preparing and organising the actual collection, the transport of the funds to Jerusalem and its presentation in Jerusalem. In closing, the article suggests applications for today's Christian leaders. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: The article indicates that already in early Christianity Christian leadership involved the use of several skills and was controversial. Far from being able to simply demand a certain course of action, early Christian leaders such as Paul had to convince others to lead by their own example and had to be involved themselves in what they demanded of others. This challenges some contemporary notions of Christian leadership. Following the portrayal of Paul's leadership as it emerges from his collection project will lead to more effective Christian leadership. <![CDATA[<b>Faith and economics</b>]]> Paleng ya rona batho ba batsho, tumelo ya boKreste e fihlile lefatsheng la rona la Afrika Borwa mmoho le dikgoka tsa ditjhaba tsa boPhirima. BoKreste bo fihlile ka nako ya dintwa tseo mohopolo wa tsona e neng e le ho hapa lefatshe la, batho ba batsho. Ka mantswe amang, rona batho ba batsho, re ile ra qetella re le setjhaba se ileng sa hlolwa, mme lefatshe la rona la nkuwa ka dikgoka. Ka hare ho dikgoka tsena, ho ne ho dutse tumelo ya boKreste. Makgowa a ile are: 'A re kwaleng mahlo re rapeleng, rona ra kwala mahlo, mme ha re qeta hore Amen, re bula mahlo, ra fumana lefatshe le nkuwe matsohong a rona ho setse Bibele.' Re ile ra sala le Bibele eo ka yona re lekileng dilemong tse fitileng ho lwana ntwa ya topollo, kapa tokoloho hofihlela selemong sa 1994. Le ha re ile ra fumana tokoloho ka selemo seo, hare so ka re lokoloha ho tsa moruo. E kaba sena se bolela eng mabapi le tumelo ya rona ya boKreste? Segolweng sena re leka ho araba potso ena. Tumelo ke eng ho batho ba sa lokolohang moruong wa naha ya bona? Re lekola pale ya boKreste, tumelo ya batho le maemo a kereke ntlheng ya ho tadimana le tokoloho ka tumelo.<hr/>In our history from a black perspective, Christianity arrived through violent conquest from the west. Evidentially, this faith coincided with wars of dispossession and the ultimate defeat of black Africans. It is difficult to separate the violent defeat of black Africans from the arrival of Christian faith. This well-known statement within the circles of black Theology of liberation: When the white man arrived in our land he said, 'let us pray and after prayer, when we opened our eyes, our land was taken and only the Bible was left in our hands,' captures the black sentiment of this history. Ironically, it was this Bible that black Africans used to wage their struggle for liberation up to the demise of apartheid in 1994. Nonetheless, political liberation is not enough as the struggle for economic liberation continue in South Africa post 1994. In the light of this history, what then is the role of faith for a people politically liberated without economic liberation? This article examines this history from the perspective of black faith and its role for liberation <![CDATA[<b>The age of reinvented empire(s) in Africa in the light of Persian hegemonic power: Reading the books of Deuteronomy and Ezra-Nehemiah in the context of Zimbabwe</b>]]> It is generally accepted that historically Africa experienced colonialism. Thus, in the neo-colonial age articulated by the likes of Sugirtharajah, Segovia and Nkrumah, most African countries are faced with the challenge of power struggle in which imperialism and dictatorship inhibits the development of the Two-Thirds world countries. This challenge, it is argued, reveals an imperialistic tendency of the European Union, China and African government(s) to alter democracy and freedom. As such, the Zimbabwe context, amongst others, will be used as a main point of reference. This article examines the elements of imperialism in African states in the light of Persian hegemonic power in the books of Deuteronomy and Ezra-Nehemiah. It investigates whether or not the Jews were free under the Persian hegemonic influence in the post-exilic period. The comparison of the influence of Persian hegemony in the books of Deuteronomy and Ezra-Nehemiah with the evidence of imperialism in African government(s), leads to the argument that certain African states do not appear to be completely democratic and free. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: Based on aspects of Old Testament and political science studies, this article explores traces of imperialism in African governments in the light of Persian hegemonic power in the Hebrew Bible. In the end, the article argues that certain African states, for instance Zimbabwe, should not be considered as completely democratic and free nations. <![CDATA[<b>Religious coping strategies and perceived causes of sickness and health in South Africa</b>]]> The purpose of this survey was to explore religious coping strategies and to what extent black South Africans directly attributed their health and/or diseases to supernatural forces such as the ancestors and magic. A total of 3000 structured questionnaires were distributed to South Africans of all ethnicities, of which 575 were received back, but only those received from black participants (411) were considered for this study. The SPSS 21 statistical program was used to analyse the data. The results of the study suggest that Mbiti's remark that health and disease in Africa are seen primarily within a religious (i.e. supernatural) framework still holds true for the black South African participants in this study. More than 80% (81.5%) of the participants attributed their health and diseases primarily to the ancestors and magic, whilst only 16.1% of the participants ascribed any importance to natural causes of diseases (e.g. germs and unprotected sex). These beliefs were especially strong amongst city or town dwellers, people of higher educational level and members of so-called 'mainline' churches (i.e. members of non-Zionist churches). INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: The article is interdisciplinary in nature covering the following fields: religion, psychology; health studies. <![CDATA[<b>'</b><b>Prosperity a part of the atonement': An interpretation of 2 Corinthians 8:9</b>]]> This article investigates the claim made by some Pentecostal preachers that prosperity is part of the atonement. The biblical basis that such preachers present for their claim is a specific understanding of 2 Corinthians 8:9. The phrase, δια υμας, is sometimes translated 'for your sakes' or 'because of you', and the verse is understood by these preachers as indicative of the vicarious nature of the poverty of Jesus. A reading of the Greek text of 2 Corinthians 8:9, however, does not lend itself to this interpretation. Furthermore, Paul's act of soliciting for funds to help the poor saints in Jerusalem makes the claim that prosperity is part of the atonement quite unwarranted by the text. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: The contextual perspective this work is challenging is the Neo-Pentecostal interpretation of 2 Corinthians 8:9 that prosperity is part of the atonement. This research discountenances such understanding and affirms the traditional view that the scope of the atonement of Christ does not imply financial abundance. The atonement of Christ, however, does have financial implications, for it has brought about a new community that cares for its members. <![CDATA[<b>Understanding God images and God concepts: Towards a pastoral hermeneutics of the God attachment experience</b>]]> The author looks at the God image experience as an attachment relationship experience with God. Hence, arguing that the God image experience is borne originally out of a parent-child attachment contagion, in such a way that God is often represented in either secure or insecure attachment patterns. The article points out that insecure God images often develop head-to-head with God concepts in a believer's emotional experience of God. On the other hand, the author describes God concepts as indicators of a religious faith and metaphorical standards for regulating insecure attachment patterns. The goals of this article, however, is to highlight the relationship between God images and God concepts, and to provide a hermeneutical process for interpreting and surviving the God image experience. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: Given that most scholars within the discipline of Practical Theology discuss the subject of God images from cultural and theological perspectives, this article has discussed God images from an attachment perspective, which is a popular framework in psychology of religion. This is rare. The study is therefore interdisciplinary in this regards. The article further helps the reader to understand the intrapsychic process of the God image experience, and thus provides us with hermeneutical answers for dealing with the God image experience from methodologies grounded in Practical Theology and pastoral care. <![CDATA[<b>Mongwalelo wa sefela sa Serote: 'A re thabeng re rete' (Difela tsa kereke, 2010)</b>]]> Bangwadi ba Bathobaso ba difela tša kereke ba hueditšwe ke bangwadi ba baruti (ba Matoitshi ba Kereke ya Lutere ya Berlin) ge ba tlo ngwala difela. Ka go realo ke ba mathomo ba go ngwala poleloopelwa ya Sepedi. Ka lebaka la gore baruti ba Matoitshi ba be ba sa tsebe melao ya go laola metara wa Sepedi, ba thomile go hlama difela tsa bona ka mokgwa wo difela tsa Setoitshi di hlamilwego ka wona. Bangwadi ba difela ba Bapedi le bona ba ba sala morago bjalo. Ka go realo go ka thwe mothopomogolo wa khuetso ya sebjalebjale dingwalong tsa Sepedi ke mediro ya kereke ya mathomothomo. Le ge go le bjalo bohlokwa bjo bja kgolo ya theto ka tsela ya difela dingwalong tsa Sepedi ga se bja salwa morago le go gatelelwa ke basekaseki. Maikemisetso a taodiswana ye ke go lekola, ka botlalo, mongwalelo wa difela ka go nepiša sefela sa Serote sa 147 sa go bitswa 'A re thabeng re rete' (Difela tsa kereke 2010:130). Go yo tsitsinkela ka fao mongwalelo o tswetsago pele kgegeo. Ka mantsu a mangwe, go yo sekasekwa dipharologantsho tsa mongwalelo tse di tswetsago pele kgegeo. Go tlo lemogwa gore kgegeo yeo e bonagatswa ka modiro wa Selalelo se Sekgethwa sa Morena seo se hlalowago ka tsela ya khuduego/maikutlo go tweta pele morero wa mongwadi/moopedi wa sefela se ka ge bjale Selalelo e le selo seo Bakriste ba se hlomphago (se lebane le tshwarelo ya dibe tsa bona), go ya ka fao se hlaloswago ka gona ka tsela yeo ya kgegeo.<hr/>Black composers of church hymns were influenced by German pastors of the Berlin Lutheran Church to do so. In other words, these pastors were the first composers to write the Sepedi language in the form of music; because they did not know the rules that control the Sepedi meter, the writers started to compose their hymns in the way that the German hymns were patterned. Therefore, one might argue that the main source of modern influence in Sepedi literature lies in the workings of the very first hymns of the said church. Nevertheless, the importance of the development of poetry in the form of hymns in the Sepedi literature has not been followed up and emphasised by reviewers. The aim of this article is to survey thoroughly the style of writing hymns, by discussing Rev Serote's hymn number 147, entitled 'A re thabeng re rete' (Difela tsa kereke 2010:130). The scrutiny will examine the way in which style depicts irony in the very hymn. In other words, the investigation considers especially the characteristics of style that indicate and develop irony in the work. It will be shown that the irony becomes clear during the service of Baptism which is expressed by way of emotions to develop the author's aim, as this sacrament is something that Christians respect (it goes hand in hand with the forgiveness of their sins). <![CDATA[<b>The use of biblical themes in the debate concerning the xenophobic attacks in South Africa</b>]]> The study draws from the ideas of Jürgen Habermas, Daniel Trotter and Christian Fuchs, Zizi Papacharissis, Yochai Benkler and Christian Fuchs to investigate the use of social media as a platform to express ideas against xenophobic-related attacks in South Africa (April 2015-May 2015). The data was collected from twitter, YouTube and Facebook. Most views came from the Facebook platform called 'Stop xenophobia'. Using ATLAS.ti, software for qualitative research, the data was coded into interpretive variables or categories. The results show that themes such as hospitality, morality, creation and ethics received highest frequency as reasons to condemn xenophobia. The research further reveals that the social media data is much candid in comparison to state controlled media, where views and ideas were censored to protect the economic and public image of the country. Unlike the controlled government outlets which focus on the possible correlation between xenophobic attacks to economic outlook, the social media focuses on moral and ethical issues - issues that define our collective as human beings and tackles xenophobia from the perspective of ethics and shared human values. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: This study is interdisciplinary in nature due to the use of theories in media studies and social sciences to investigate the use of biblical themes in the fight against xenophobia. <![CDATA[<b>Antithesis between <strong>יראי יהוה</strong> and <strong>רשעים</strong> Malachi 3:13-21 [MT] as a reconciliation of Yahweh's justice with life's inequalities</b>]]> This article demonstrates the vindictive tone of Malachi's final sermon by highlighting the amazing reversal of fortunes of the righteous and shocking end of the wicked. Such a reversal or antithesis this article proposes, serves as a climax to the literary motif and artistic brilliance of reversal noticeable in the book of Malachi. The substance of Malachi's message is that of triumph of Yahweh's justice over obvious inequalities of life. Malachi 3:13-21 reveals that beyond the horizon of lived reality lies a judgement moment in which good and evil are still criteria of what is acceptable and unacceptable to Yahweh. The article examines the literary structure and content of the this unit of Malachi's oracle, provides detailed exegesis of the cynicism or antithesis in the text and concludes by synthesising the result in an attempt at reconciling Yahweh's supposed justice with obvious life's inequalities. Malachi's prediction of the ultimate restoration of the fortune of the righteous and shameful end of the wicked, stands as a refutation of the insinuation that to serve Yahweh is worthless. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: This article not only focuses on the synchronic dimensions of this text, but also the diachronic perspectives. The literary analysis is combined with a historical embeddedness of this text. This text poses a challenge to the reader of the 21st century and invites the modern reader to a explore life, and specifically fullness of life amidst circumstances not conducive to fullness of life. <![CDATA[<b>Resurrection imageries: A study of the motives for extravagant burial rituals in ancient Egypt</b>]]> Unlike in the New Testament whereby faith in Christ can resurrect the dead, the ancient Egyptians believed that the bereaved created the resurrection of their deceased through burial rituals and by encouraging the living to serve their kings. They thought that faith alone in god or the gods was not enough to resurrect the dead, thus they seemingly superimposed resurrection alongside burials. Using the various forms of Egyptian burial rituals and evaluated from the perspective of the Christian concept of resurrection, this researcher attempts to search for the motives behind specific Egyptian burial rituals. The researcher proposes that the activities of the bereaved or of the living over the dead were paramount in resurrecting the dead in ancient Egypt. The purpose of this research is, firstly, to explain how the Egyptian burial rituals influenced their thoughts on resurrection and, secondly, to show that the Egyptian god(s) might have depended on the living to raise the dead. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: The ancient Egyptians lived their lives mainly to satisfy the interests of the dead, hence their extensive burial rituals. Whilst they believed in the power of the gods to raise the dead, there seemed to be another motive behind their burial practices which suggested that the living may have had more power to raise the dead. The power was realised in the activities of the living in the form of burials, tomb designs, mummification, food offering, and in remembering the dead. This research explains that these burial activities were relevant in resurrecting the dead without which the gods alone were not able to do that. <![CDATA[<b>The ethical implications of 2 John 10-11</b>]]> The imperative in 2 John 10-11 not to receive a visitor with a false doctrine into one's house is one of the most controversial prohibitions in the New Testament, especially in light of the commandment of love, ancient hospitality conventions, and modern-day expectations of open discussion. This raises the question what this prohibition is specifically about and whether hospitality is really asked for. This question is considered in some detail in this article. A widely held view is that the prohibition in 2 John 10 is not in line with generally accepted Christian ethics, since it militates against the attitude of love, care, and hospitality. This view is dominant in commentaries. This article aims at countering this view by proposing that the issue is not hospitality but endangering the identity and tradition of the group. This should be regarded as a positive Christian value. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: I challenge theological readings of 2 John 10-11 that regard the text as unchristian in its exhortation. The results of the research show that hospitality is not the communicative centre of the text, but protection of the group, which was a common feature, not only in Christianity, but also in the ancient world in general. The future discourse should now move from focusing on moral issues related to hospitality to issues related to preserving tradition within a religion. <![CDATA[<b>Disembodied archives: The disconnectedness of records and archives management practices within the Pietermaritzburg Cluster of Theological Libraries, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa</b>]]> This article discusses the findings of a study that was conducted between February 2013 and November 2013 to determine the inter-connectedness between records and archives management practices for religious archives within the Pietermaritzburg Cluster of Theological libraries (PCTL). It is important to note that much of our national heritage is recorded in the archives of our religious institutions, hence the need to ensure that a continuum of care is provided for this Christian heritage from the point of creation to the retirement of those records with enduring value. Data for this study were obtained primarily through a self-administered questionnaire, interviews and direct observation. The study revealed that there is much disharmony with regards to records and archives management-practices, which explains why documentary records in custody were incomplete. This incompleteness threatens the corporate memory of these institutions. An important recommendation proposed is the urgent need for archivists within these establishments to adopt a proactive stance in order to ensure that records should not only be properly managed for business continuity but that a healthy and complete record should be transferred to the repository for the benefit of posterity. Furthermore, there is a need to establish a central depository to coordinate records and archives management-activities, thus ensuring best practices in records and archives management. <![CDATA[<b>How can we know the existence of God: Anselm and Aquinas?</b>]]> This article is concerned with how we can know about the existence of God. In attempting to do this, the article will single out two medieval thinkers, Anselm and Aquinas, and will examine their stances on the subject. The former holds, as exemplified in his ontological proof, that human beings can rationally know the existence of God, whilst the latter objects to the former's claim by proffering that human beings can know God's existence through effects of God's creation. Over the years these positions have appealed to people who defend either strand of the argument. Such a followership makes worthwhile my efforts to contribute to the ongoing debate. It is my intention to show the argument of each of these positions and indicate which is more plausible to human beings. It is vital to note that Anselm and Aquinas both accept the existence of God; therefore, the existence of God is not in question for them. The article will only concentrate on where the two thinkers differ in terms of how human beings can know God's existence. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: This article challenges idealists' philosophy that human beings can prove God's existence from the concept, God, as epitomised by Anselm's ontological argument. The critique of the argument through the application of Aquinas's realism exposes the limitedness of the human beings in epistemological conception of the absolute metaphysical reality. <![CDATA[<b>Overview of the shape and shaping of the Book of Psalms: The current state of scholarship</b>]]> This article is concerned with how we can know about the existence of God. In attempting to do this, the article will single out two medieval thinkers, Anselm and Aquinas, and will examine their stances on the subject. The former holds, as exemplified in his ontological proof, that human beings can rationally know the existence of God, whilst the latter objects to the former's claim by proffering that human beings can know God's existence through effects of God's creation. Over the years these positions have appealed to people who defend either strand of the argument. Such a followership makes worthwhile my efforts to contribute to the ongoing debate. It is my intention to show the argument of each of these positions and indicate which is more plausible to human beings. It is vital to note that Anselm and Aquinas both accept the existence of God; therefore, the existence of God is not in question for them. The article will only concentrate on where the two thinkers differ in terms of how human beings can know God's existence. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: This article challenges idealists' philosophy that human beings can prove God's existence from the concept, God, as epitomised by Anselm's ontological argument. The critique of the argument through the application of Aquinas's realism exposes the limitedness of the human beings in epistemological conception of the absolute metaphysical reality. <![CDATA[<b>A new approach to studying worship</b>]]> This article is concerned with how we can know about the existence of God. In attempting to do this, the article will single out two medieval thinkers, Anselm and Aquinas, and will examine their stances on the subject. The former holds, as exemplified in his ontological proof, that human beings can rationally know the existence of God, whilst the latter objects to the former's claim by proffering that human beings can know God's existence through effects of God's creation. Over the years these positions have appealed to people who defend either strand of the argument. Such a followership makes worthwhile my efforts to contribute to the ongoing debate. It is my intention to show the argument of each of these positions and indicate which is more plausible to human beings. It is vital to note that Anselm and Aquinas both accept the existence of God; therefore, the existence of God is not in question for them. The article will only concentrate on where the two thinkers differ in terms of how human beings can know God's existence. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: This article challenges idealists' philosophy that human beings can prove God's existence from the concept, God, as epitomised by Anselm's ontological argument. The critique of the argument through the application of Aquinas's realism exposes the limitedness of the human beings in epistemological conception of the absolute metaphysical reality.