Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Scriptura]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/rss.php?pid=2305-445X20160001&lang=en vol. 115 num. lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/img/en/fbpelogp.gif http://www.scielo.org.za <![CDATA[<b>Euthanasia: A Muslim's perspective</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2305-445X2016000100001&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Availability of advanced medical technology has generated various new moral issues such as abortion, cloning and euthanasia. The use of medical technology, therefore, raises questions about the moral appropriateness of sustaining life versus taking life or allowing someone to die. Moreover, the world-wide discussion on euthanasia has assumed different dimensions of acceptance and rejection. The modern advanced medical technology has brought this issue under extensive focus of philosophers and religious authorities. The objective of this article is to consider the Islamic ethical position on euthanasia with a view to appreciating its com-prehensiveness and investigating how an Islamic approach to medical treatment addresses the issue. The study observes that Allah gives life and has the absolute authority of taking it. In other words, the Qur'an prohibits consenting to one's own destruction which could be related to terminally ill patients who give consent to mercy killing. The study equally revealed that death is not the final destination of human beings but the hereafter; therefore, a believer should not lose hope when facing difficulties, suffering and hardship but should instead keep hope alive. The study calls on Muslims to ensure that Islamic teachings on medical ethics are entrenched in all fabrics of human endeavour. <![CDATA[<b>The impulse toward the disadvantaged in the gospel preached by Paul: An analysis of 1 Corinthians 1:10-4:21 and 8:1-11:1</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2305-445X2016000100002&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en This article examines two major sections of 1 Corinthians, 1:10-4:21 and 8:1-11:1, arguing that we find within Paul's gospel of Christ crucified an impulse to elevate the position of the disadvantaged members of the Corinthian congregation. In both sections the gospel serves as Paul's resource for working toward just and unified relations. The study of 1 Cor. 1:10-4:21 traces the apostle's own identification with the cross and with disadvantaged members of the church. Paul's call to imitate himself becomes a means of imparting to the whole congregation a new identity as a people of power, as they embrace the way of the cross and the apostles. The reading of 1 Cor. 8:1-11:1 exhibits Paul's use of Christ's death for the 'weak' as a model for his own personal adjustments on behalf of the gospel and in deference to the vulnerable. By imitating Paul, the Corinthians can work with - not against - the gospel' s impulse to honour the disadvantaged. <![CDATA[<b><i>Hotel Rwanda: </i>Individual heroism or interconnectedness in the portrayal of Paul Rusesabagina?</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2305-445X2016000100003&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Why does the protagonist in the film 'Hotel Rwanda' (2004) shelter almost 1300 refugees and in the process risk his own life? Most critics say it is because Paul Rusesabagina is a hero. Yet heroism as an individual act of courage may not be the only answer. I argue that an inclusive enactment of interconnected, communal belonging opens up the possibility to understand facets of Rusesabagina's bravery as a spiritual choice. To fail to consider clues from the Rwandese society and its heritage may, even with the best of intentions to do the opposite, result in projections of the self that compound the tragedy of othering in the Rwandan genocide of 1994 when the world turned a blind eye to the massacre. <![CDATA[<b>The relationship between the Markan άφίημι-<i>chreia</i> and the historical Jesus</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2305-445X2016000100004&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The theme of Jesus and the forgiveness of sin has always been a contentious one within historical Jesus research. This article gives a brief overview of the debate on the authenticity of various forgiveness logia in the Jesus tradition, as well as the different criteria that have been used in the past in an attempt to validate them. It focuses on two specific forgiveness logia in the Markan tradition (2:1-12, 3:20-35) in order to assess whether the manner in which they have been crafted as chreia can provide insight into how the άφίημι logia of Jesus have been preserved in the pre-Markan tradition. <![CDATA[<b>Danger! Ingozi! Gevaar! Why reading alone can be bad for you</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2305-445X2016000100005&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en A discussion of the 1974 film, 'The Conversation', by Francis Ford Coppola serves as an introductory illustration of the dangers of interpretation in isolation. The film, starring Gene Hackman, highlights the contextual nature of communication, where the viewer becomes increasingly aware of the development of a skewed interpretation of an overheard conversation. Utterances and events are interpreted in isolation and perceived as ultimate truths. The social commentary offered by Coppola serves as an analogy for the dangers of exclusivist approaches to biblical interpretation. This article critiques these approaches and offers contextual intercultural Bible reading as a life giving, alternative approach that draws from the combined hermeneutical framework of Feminism and African hermeneutics. In this article I will explore the creative possibilities of the intercultural Bible reading process as a space with communal meaning-making possibilities. <![CDATA[<b>Penultimate perspectives on the root causes of environmental destruction in Africa</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2305-445X2016000100006&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en In Christian ecotheology in the African context the root causes of environmental destruction in Africa are rightly associated with imperialism and colonialism. In this contribution such root causes are investigated in more detail with reference to Christian discourse on sin. The argument proceeds in three steps. Firstly, some background is offered on root cause analysis as a tool for social analysis. Secondly, the root causes of global environmental destruction are traced backwards to the role of worldviews ('modernity') and religious constructions of ultimate reality with reference to the critique against Christianity by Lynn White and others. Thirdly, this analysis is then related to the form of social diagnostics found in Christian discourse on sin. How is the underlying problem perceived? This question is addressed with reference to five classic notions of sin each with a modern correlate found in environmental discourse, namely moral shortcomings (prompting alleged needs for education, economic growth and development), pride (anthropocentrism), greed (consumerism), violence (domination in the name of differences of species), and the privation of the good (alienation from the earth). The last of these resonate well with traditional African notions of land. It also suggests the possibility of ultimate perspective on such root causes of environmental destruction within a Christian context, namely in terms of a broken relationship with the triune God. <![CDATA[<b>Jesus 'the word' as creator in John 1:1-3: help for evolutionists from Philo the Hellenistic Jew</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2305-445X2016000100007&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Philo's Hellenistic Jewish background (c. 50 BCE - 30 CE) helps to clarify John's identification of Jesus as the 'Logos'. This article explores the course of the Hellenistic philosophical context in which the use of the word 'Logos' was developed from the idea that truth could only be grasped through reason. In Ionia, Heraclitus (c. 500 BCE) was the first to use the term Logos as the principle of balance, stability, and order. Philo's exegesis of Gen 1:26- 27 and Gen 2:7 develops Jewish Wisdom traditions in terms of ' Logos' as present in humanity as a mediator. Thus Philo affirms the transcendence of the creator and at the same time his accessibility to the world he has made. The fertility of John's use of the word Logos harmonises with such mysterious New Testament phrases as 'Christ in you.' <![CDATA[<b>Het universalisme Van de Bergrede in het verhaal Van Mattheüs</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2305-445X2016000100008&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Mt 5:13-16 is studied with regard to universalism and interpreted in the context of the Matthean narrative. In this passage, Jesus entrusts his disciples with a centrifugal ministry that addresses Jews and Gentiles alike and that is to be carried out immediately after the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5-7). Mt 5:13-16 thus stands in tension to the established scholarly view that the disciples carry out a universal mission only after Jesus's resurrection (cf. Mt 28:19). The universalism of Mt 5:1316 rather suggests to divide the Matthean narrative into a universalistic beginning, a particularistic interim time (cf. Mt 10:5-6), and a universalistic open end. <![CDATA[<b>A gendered critique of the Catholic Church's teaching on marriage and the family: 1965-2016</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2305-445X2016000100009&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Mt 5:13-16 is studied with regard to universalism and interpreted in the context of the Matthean narrative. In this passage, Jesus entrusts his disciples with a centrifugal ministry that addresses Jews and Gentiles alike and that is to be carried out immediately after the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5-7). Mt 5:13-16 thus stands in tension to the established scholarly view that the disciples carry out a universal mission only after Jesus's resurrection (cf. Mt 28:19). The universalism of Mt 5:1316 rather suggests to divide the Matthean narrative into a universalistic beginning, a particularistic interim time (cf. Mt 10:5-6), and a universalistic open end. <![CDATA[<b>Epistemological dialogue as prophetic: a black theological perspective on the land issue</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2305-445X2016000100010&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Land is life and land is our mother. The absence of the content of liberation for the dispossessed in theologies that seek to address the question of land is the 'original' sin of the debate about land in South Africa. The history of the church and land dispossession is a bifurcated, dichotomised discourse of annihilation and quarantine of the disposed. With the rudiments of a Contextual Theology of Land and a Black Theology of Land, the prophetic imagination of the church post-1994 must subject any epistemological views that exclude the internal logic of black Africans to a rigorous hermeneutic of suspicion. Black Africans need land to live first and not to be agents of the commodification of land, a spirit that dominates the debate today. <![CDATA[<b>Natural retreats and human well-being: reading the Song of Songs through the lens of Attention Restoration Theory</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2305-445X2016000100011&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Working within the field of environmental psychology, Rachel and Stephen Kaplan developed their Attention Restoration Theory (ART) to address the problem of directed attention fatigue. 'Involuntary' attention can put the voluntary or directed attention mechanism at rest, to enable it to function effectively again. This happens markedly (but not solely) within natural settings that are both wild (e.g. reserves) and domesticated (e.g. gardens). Notions such as 'being away,' ''soft' fascination,' ' extent' and ' compatibility' aptly describe the human nature relationship, and function as descriptive properties that natural settings require to enhance the restorative experience. ART has lately become extended to many fields to explain more than just focus, but overall human well-being and the facilitating role nature plays in this ' healing' process. Shining the light of these insights onto the Song of Songs, it was determined that this ancient book had an (intuitive) appreciation for nature's healing/restorative powers. The focus was especially on the natural retreats of which the two young lovers often avail themselves (e.g. 1:15-17; 2:8 ff.; 6:11-12; 7:11-13; 8:5; 8:13-14) to escape their inhibiting society, and on how these retreats (unknowingly) comply with the mentioned restorative requirements. <![CDATA[<b>Jesus' authority and influence in the Gospel of John: towards a Johannine model of leadership</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2305-445X2016000100012&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en This article examines Jesus' authority and influence in the Gospel of John and shows that Jesus' style of leadership is exemplary or prototypical rather than autocratic. Jesus' programme is 'to testify to the truth', that is, to proclaim the divine reality to the world. He uses influence (education and personal example) rather than authority (commands) to urge his disciples to continue his programme, so that people may believe and partake in a life-giving relationship with the Father and Son. This leadership style would be useful for contemporary models of leadership. <![CDATA[<b>What do we do when we eat? Part I - an inconclusive inquiry</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2305-445X2016000100013&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en This article examines Jesus' authority and influence in the Gospel of John and shows that Jesus' style of leadership is exemplary or prototypical rather than autocratic. Jesus' programme is 'to testify to the truth', that is, to proclaim the divine reality to the world. He uses influence (education and personal example) rather than authority (commands) to urge his disciples to continue his programme, so that people may believe and partake in a life-giving relationship with the Father and Son. This leadership style would be useful for contemporary models of leadership. <![CDATA[<b>What do we do when we eat? Part II - a theological inquiry</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2305-445X2016000100014&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en What do we do when we eat? In the second part of this contribution the fivefold typology offered in the first part is supplemented by three (more or less) theological approaches on the basis of the concepts of recycling, kenosis and superfluous joy. In an inconclusive proposal it is suggested that eating is best understood as a form of intimacy, not enmity. Indeed, one becomes what one eats. One litmus test for any adequate theological interpretation of eating is an eschatological one: would "eternal life" involve both eating and predation, eating but not predation, or no eating and therefore no predation? What kind of life would that be? Or is our last best hope merely for life on earth to continue as long as possible, if not forever? <![CDATA[<b>African Instituted Churches pneumatology and gender justice in the work of GC Oosthuizen: an African feminist pneumatological perspective</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2305-445X2016000100015&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en This article investigates how George C Oosthuizen dealt with the doctrine of the Holy Spirit in the African Instituted Churches (AICs). It argues that although Oosthuizen analysed the prominent role of the Holy Spirit in the AICs, his perspective was influenced by the missiological currents of the his time in which issues of gender justice were not recognised as missiological concerns and not perceived as problems requiring theological or missiological response. It demonstrates the significance of raising African feminist pneumatological questions in AICs studies. This perspective shows a correlation between AICs that give prominence to the doctrine of the Holy Spirit and gender justice in the ministry of women and men in most of the AICs studied by Oosthuizen. In conclusion, it is argued that the theoretical framework that a scholar is using when studying the AICs could sideline or be sensitive to power dynamics between men and women in the AICs, which is a very important element in study of African Christianity. <![CDATA[<b>GM food and collective sin: a Christian theological ethical reflection</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2305-445X2016000100016&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en While there are various ethical concerns that are raised in terms of genetically modified (GM) food, there seems to be excellent arguments both for and against most of them. In this article I will argue that ethical concern over the possible destructive socio-economic effects is, however, the area where Christian theological ethics may make the most meaningful contribution. This may also be expressed as the notion of collective sin. An understanding of sin as collective, a mutual situation that we all share and that not only refers to individuals transgressions, but also the very structures and systems that make up our world is particularly helpful in discussing GM food through the lenses of a doctrine of sin. This notion also underlines the socio-economic dangers, where large corporations hold a virtual monopoly over the production and selling of GM food, understanding power as "power over" and domination. The article intends to reflect on this understanding and how it may add value to the larger discussions on the ethical concerns surrounding GM food. <![CDATA[<b>'Theological complexity' and the blindness of theory-barbarism in a pastoral hermeneutics: towards the 'infiniscience of God' in processes of hoping and faithful knowing (epistemology)</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2305-445X2016000100017&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Theory formation in theology is often directed by the rationalistic principle of simplification. In pastoral caregiving, it leads to the tendency to offer instant answers to the very complex notion of 'meaning in suffering'. In this regard, the question surfaces whether the philosophical construct of 'theodicy', and its attempt to link God in some way or another to human suffering, should be introduced as an appropriate, paradigmatic framework for dealing with processes of caregiving and comforting. It is argued that a causative approach of rationalistic explanation and positivistic clarity (the attempt to give a logical answer and establish a direct connection between the will of God and the phenomenon of undeserved suffering) is insufficient to really comfort people in order to hope and to address the human quest for meaning. The notion of complexity and the philosophical construct of 'chaosmos' are critically assessed in order to revisit the interplay between the Godfactor and the complexity of human suffering in a pastoral hermeneutics. Instead of hope as the projection of easy solutions for the future (wishful thinking and speculative dreaming), the theological paradox of hoping despite the evidence that the future is bleak (hope against hope) is explored by means of the theopaschitic paradigm of a 'suffering God'. Instead of the omni-categories of an 'all-powerful God' (pantokrator), the pathos-category of an 'infiniscient God' is proposed in order to deal with chaosmos and complexity in theory formation for a theology of caregiving in suffering.¹ <![CDATA[<b>Pondering possibilities of the biblical critic as public intellectual, part one: problematising the public intellectual and the identity of the biblical scholar</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2305-445X2016000100018&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Is there a possibility to critically interrogate the hegemony of the type of historical approaches to the academic study of the Bible currently governing and regulating Biblical Studies? Against the background of inquiring how Biblical Studies can be effectively transformed, the biblical critic as public intellectual is submitted. The notion of public intellectual, however, is by no means an uncontested category and could replicate what its deployment would endeavour to subvert. The objective of this article is therefore primarily to problematise the notion of the public intellectual within a logic of representationalism with identity as organising principle. It is instead argued that the public intellectual be seen as a subjectivity engendered by an ethos of discursive practices emerging from difference. Utilising projects that theorise the critical rhetor and the public intellectual, I probe the possibility that the biblical critic likewise be seen as public intellectual, engendered by a peculiar ethos produced by its dispersion through discursive practices. This article constitutes a first part specifically problematising and theorising the notion of public intellectual and problematising the current identity of the biblical scholar.