Scielo RSS <![CDATA[In die Skriflig ]]> vol. 51 num. 3 lang. es <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Perspectives on the interpretation of the Gospel of Matthew</b>]]> The article focuses on the interconnectedness between the notion eschatology and the Jesus profile in the Gospel of Matthew against the background of Donald Hagner and David Sim's respective views. It consists of a discussion of Matthew's messianic interpretation of Jesus. The presumption is that the concept 'messiah' conveys an eschatological connotation. The article argues that Matthew's messianism is an allusion to Second Baruch's apocalyptic messianism. From the perspective of this implied reference, the article demonstrates the correlation between Matthew's narration of Jesus' genealogical list and Jesus' commission commandment which concludes the narration - however with an open-ended appeal to the Matthean ekklēsia to overcome hypocrisy and doubt. In the article the Matthean community is located in Syria Palestine in the midst of the parting of the ways between 'Church' and 'Synagogue'. The article's thesis concludes with the view that the relatedness between Matthew's eschatology to Jesus' life constitutes the narration's plot formed by the two sequences of the pre-Paschal and post-Paschal commissions and the connectedness between birth (genesis) and rebirth (palingenesia), i.e. genealogy and resurrection. <![CDATA[<b>Embracing obscurity: The enigmatic walk of the Son of God in Mark</b>]]> When Greco-Roman deities appeared among human beings in anthropomorphic shapes, their outward form and gait soon revealed their true identity. By contrast, the Markan Jesus has no 'inescapably divine' demeanour. His unassuming presence, his hurried walk and his interactions with people of low public standing and honour place a constant question mark over his identity. Paradoxically, his purposeful walk in obscurity, which ends on the cross, reveals his true character as the suffering Son of God who ransoms his life for many. The risen Jesus, whose divine nature Mark does not express in terms of a glorified body, continues his enigmatic walk before his disciples en route to Galilee. <![CDATA[<b>The reception of the ethics of the Letter to Philemon in three early Latin commentaries</b>]]> According to Jan van der Watt, the study of the ethics of New Testament writings should not be limited to the study of categories directly related to prescribing specific deeds. One should rather follow a broader approach by also investigating, among others, the 'implicit ethics' of a writing. In this article on the reception of the ethics of the Letter to Philemon in the commentaries of Ambrosiaster, Jerome and Pelagius, the benefit of such a broader approach to the ethics of the letter is demonstrated. The way in which each of these commentators interprets the implicit ethics of the letter, quite often by creating an 'implicit ethics' on their own part, is investigated systematically. The approach followed by each of these interpreters and the results reached by them are described in depth. <![CDATA[<b>'Son of man' in the Gospel of Mark</b>]]> What are the origin and source, as well as the meaning of the term Son of man as it appears in Mark? Is the background of the term to be found in the Old Testament, in Ezekiel and Daniel 7, or in the apocalyptic figure presented in 1 Enoch 47-71 and 4 Ezra 13? What does the intertextual reference of the term imply? Did the historical Jesus use the term as a reference to himself or to a divine (extraterrestrial) deliverer he believed was coming to save the Jewish people, or is the term a post-Easter title applied retrospectively by the Gospel writer upon the pre-Easter Jesus? Did Jesus use the title as a self-designation, or did he use it in a self-effacing way to refer to himself as a mortal in contrast with God? Did he use the title as a generic designation for all humankind? What is the essence of the Gospel writer's usage of the term? These questions are discussed in terms of the passages where Mark utilises the term. <![CDATA[<b>A public theological approach to the (im)possibility of forgiveness in Matthew 18:15-35: Reading the text through the lens of integral theory</b>]]> Some 20 years after the dawn of participative democracy, there is little noticeable or substantial change in the living conditions of the average South African. The country remains divided by race, class and economics. Poverty, inequality and racial enmity remain looming challenges to human flourishing and social transformation. Some have begun to ask whether forgiveness for the sins of colonialism and apartheid are possible. This article engages with the (im)possibility of forgiveness as it is presented in Matthew 18:15-35. In particular, it does so from the bilingual perspective of a public theological engagement with the text and its contemporary readers in South Africa. By reading the text from an integral All Quadrants All Levels (AQAL) approach this article extrapolates a textured understanding of forgiveness that 'possibilises' the (im)possiblity of forgiveness between racially and socially divided groups of readers. <![CDATA[<b>Moral transformation in the Johannine writings</b>]]> Johannine ethics is a problematic area for scholarship but recently there has been a breakthrough. In this new era of Johannine ethics, the present article examines the concept of moral transformation. The argument is that the Johannine writings present a moral narrative world where a moral God saves immoral people by bringing them into his moral world. When people live in God's moral world their character and conduct are shaped in accordance with the moral beliefs, values and norms of the divine reality. In order to model and promote the envisaged morality amongst his readers, John presents various characters, whose characteristics and behaviour might be either emulated or avoided. <![CDATA[<b>Human birth and spiritual rebirth in the theological thought of John Chrysostom</b>]]> The purpose of this article is to investigate the dynamics between human birth and spiritual rebirth in the thought of John Chrysostom (349-407 CE) and to position these dynamics in the broader scope that is salvation history. Utilising the aspects of the methodology of Van der Watt on the dynamics of metaphor in the New Testament, the article contextualised Chrysostom's understanding of spiritual rebirth within the progressive and climactic unfolding of human reproduction between prelapsarian and postlapsarian states. In the first instance, the reproductive shift from divine creation to human reproduction after the Fall of Adam and Eve was discussed. Thereafter followed a discussion of how the miraculous births of men by barren women in the Old Testament such as Sarah and Isaac, functioned as a typological device pointing towards spiritual rebirth. After this an analysis of Chrysostom's understanding of the virgin birth of Jesus by Mary was given, showing again that this birth event was yet another typological device that directed the faith of the believer towards spiritual rebirth. Finally, Chrysostom's teaching on the nature of spiritual rebirth is discussed in light of this broader typological development. The result was that the notion of spiritual rebirth in Chrysostom's thought could not be understood separately from his views on human birth and the progression back to a prelapsarian state of generation. The relevance of the article is that it presents a focused study both on Chrysostom's theology and his soteriology, in particular as well as his social thought with regards to sexual morality and issues related to reproduction and birth. <![CDATA[<b>Domestic and public violence in Chrysostom's community</b>]]> Peter Brown describes Late Antiquity as 'a world characterized by a chilling absence of legal restraints on violence in the exercise of power'. Among numerous studies investigating structural and institutional violence in the ancient world, this article, however, investigates one-on-one violence in private and public spaces in Chrysostom's community. Chrysostom advises his congregation, for example that should they hear: 'any one in the public thoroughfare, or in the midst of the forum, blaspheming God, they should go up to him, rebuke him, and should it be necessary to inflict blows, they should not spare not to do so (De stat 1.32)'. He also considers instances of spousal violence. In one specific case the neighbours came running to the house in response to the cries and wailing of a wife who was beaten by her husband (Hom. 1 Cor 26.7). Pauline Allen, Wendy Mayer and others have shown how Chrysostom's writings act as a window affording us a glimpse of social life in the fourth and the 5th century. Although scholars know that Chrysostom would sometimes make very radical comments merely for rhetorical effect, his writings nevertheless shed light upon the role of violence in his community. <![CDATA[<b>The conceptualisation of sin in the Gospel of Matthew</b>]]> This article focuses on the conceptualisation of sin in the Gospel according to Matthew. It builds on the work of Nathan Eubank who describes the sin of Israel as a debt to be repaid by analysing other Matthean metaphors of sin as a substance, stain and stumbling block. The article argues that the replacement of the conceptualisation of sin as a burden by that of a debt in Second Temple Judaism has not fully occurred in Matthew. It also argues that the metaphor of sin as a burden is not the same as that of a stain, for the latter evokes the complex relationship between sin and impurity. It is suggested that Matthew's use of specific metaphors for sin was not just due to Aramaic linguistic influences on Second Temple Judaism, but also to the socio-historical context in which his Gospel originated. In this regard it is important to note that Matthew's conceptualisation of Israel's sin as a debt not only refers to their sin in the period before the birth of Jesus, but also to their rejection of him as the Messiah. <![CDATA[<b>What's in the name? The conundrum of </b><b>ἐν τῷ ὀνόματι τούτῳ versus ἐν τῷ μέρει τούτῳ? A text-critical investigation of 1 Peter 4:16 and its implication for the Afrikaans-Greek interlinear translation</b>]]> In this article the authors investigate the Ausgangstext of 1 Peter 4:16b with regard to the latest text-critical insights based on the Editio Critica Maior's coherence based genealogical method reflected in the latest Nestle Aland 28 edition. The change in the ECM of ἐν τῷ ὀνόματι τούτῳ into ἐν τῷ μέρει τούτῳ in 1 Peter 4:16b is critically evaluated based on internal and external text-critical criteria. Lastly, a new Afrikaans translation based on the dative construction ἐν τῷ μέρει τούτῳ as Ausgangstext is proposed with relevance to the Greek-Afrikaans Bible text and translation and future revisions thereof. <![CDATA[<b>'Lived experiences' of the love of God according to 1 John 4: A spirituality of love</b>]]> This article probes to enlighten this old truth of the revelation and experience of God's love in a fresh, dynamic and different way, from the perspective of early Christian spirituality. How did the early Christians possibly experience the love of God existentially in their daily lives? Another question is, 'What did they experience when they have read this text of 1 John 4:7-21? This article looks briefly at how the author of 1 John understands the character of God which is necessary for understanding the love of God. The article continues to express how the 'love' of God (according to 1 Jn), was experienced by the Early Church through the following modes of lived faith experiences that emerged from the text and existential life situations: faith experience, relational experience and mystical experience. The article shows how the contemplative reading of sacred texts can contribute to a deeper understanding and lived faith experience of God. <![CDATA[<b>Scripture on the playground of hermeneutical ethics</b>]]> As a tribute to Jan G. van der Watt, in this article I offer a reflection on the authority of Scripture in ethics, in attempted loyalty to the motto of our theological faculty: Fides Quaerens Intellectum. The main thesis of this article is that ethics not only requires hermeneutics, but that the core task of ethics itself is interpretation. From an evangelical-reformed perspective, I will present a phenomenological and hermeneutical model, inspired by thinkers such as Gadamer and Ricoeur, defining ethics itself as a hermeneutical exercise, an act of interpretation, inherent to life itself. Defining ethics as such will influence the way in which we will integrate Scripture in our moral discourse. The playing field of hermeneutical Christian ethics is described by four points we will briefly discuss. Firstly, we will describe ethics as a philosophical and theological discipline with a hermeneutical task. Next, I offer three anchor points for the unique contribution of Scripture to this hermeneutical process: (1) faith as the entry point for interpreting Scripture as a source for Christian ethics; (2) the church in the world as the context in which one uses Scripture; and (3) in the Augustinian tradition, the double commandment of love as the ultimate rule of interpretation, the measure against which every text should be read. Despite the fact that these three anchor points all have their negative counterparts (idolatry, individualism and resentment), they are vital to the interpretation of Scripture in Christian ethics. Pastors who use Scripture for moral direction have to be aware of the characteristics of moral. <![CDATA[<b>Believers or loyalists? Identity and social responsibility of Jesus communities in the Empire</b>]]> The narrowed down translation of πίστις to [belief] skews the interpretation of the Pauline letters, where this word-group primarily denotes loyalty and fidelity, including notions of trust, confidence and conviction. These notions, if in different ways, framed the Jesus communities' relationship to God as well as to the imperial context in significant ways. In the end, rather than faithful discipleship and responsible citizenship, the Pauline letters promoted faithful citizenship. <![CDATA[<b>Not by human seed but born from above to become children of God: Johannine metaphor of the family or ancient science?</b>]]> This article provides a critical reflection on Jan van der Watt's theory of the network of the metaphor of the family in John's Gospel, taking the Johannine understanding of the seed as a case study. In his reflections on God's act of creation, Philo uses the language of impregnation and (re)birth of the natural man by his divine seed to produce children of virtue for those who open themselves to divine wisdom. His Middle-Platonic construction is unlikely to have been understood as 'absurd, irrelevant or untrue', which characterises a metaphor in Van der Watt's definition. The discourse on the relationship between seed/sperm and life reflects ancient 'scientific' understanding of the world for Philo and John's Gospel. This article analyses the connections and differences between Philo's conception and the mysticism of John's understanding of rebirth from above as contrasted with 'natural' birth. <![CDATA[<b>The Bible and ethics: Pathways for dialogue</b>]]> The potential relevance of biblical ethics for today is a contested issue. What is the significance of individual ethical texts of the Bible, and how - if at all - can they be dialogue partners for the ethical discourses of the 21st century? This article suggests and discusses a number of interpretative steps on the way towards a fruitful dialogue between the biblical text and contemporary concerns of religious-ethical life. After some introductory remarks on the use of the Bible in a Christian context, the article submits six different parameters of practical hermeneutics in two sections: 1. Text and culture; and 2. Text and canon. From the perspective of the parameter of canonical centrality, for example, it is argued that the biblical narrative of love, as it culminates in the gospel of Jesus Christ, stands out as a primus inter pares reference point for the dialogue between biblical ethics and ethics today. In the course of a nuanced discussion of these hermeneutical parameters, the article also provides a critical review of a number of alternative proposals on the relationship of the Bible and ethics. <![CDATA[<b>Purposeful repetition through chiasms in the narrative flow of the Gospel of John</b>]]> More than one meritorious contribution has already investigated the relationship between the typical Johannine style and the theological content of the Gospel according to John. Recent analyses of the Johannine style, particularly focusing on the role of variation and repetition (Bauckham 2015:3; Du Rand 1996:62; Van Belle 2009:37; and Van der Watt 2009:351) have by shedding valuable light on the problem, furthering the New Testament science in a creative way. In this contribution the emphasis falls on the powerful role of repetition, variation and the reinvented role of chiasms, possibly from Semitic influence, on the Johannine thought structures. The particular emphasis falls on the theological influence of the relation between format and content. Chiasms are also depicted in Greek literature but are dominant in John because of the strong influence of Judaistic style in his thoughts.