Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Scriptura]]> vol. 114 num. lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Theological education in South Africa and the epistemological divide: In search of the African habitus</b>]]> The ethos of the academy in South Africa, as is the case in the West in general, has been shaped profoundly by the Enlightenment. Theological and religious studies in the secular academy have had to conform to this ethos. This has led to the anomalous situation of African students of theology being alienated from their faith at university level despite the fact that the sub-continent appears to be overwhelmingly Christian in its ethos. Theology departments need to take more seriously the epistemological divide between students of theology coming from an African background that has had little or no exposure to the critical approach that emerged within the history of the academy in the West. This does not mean that the critical approach must be abandoned but rather that it should be applied more rigorously to the secular world view of the university itself and recognition given of alternative world views that shape the African habitus. Such forms of contextualisation mean, amongst other things, that a more sympathetic articulation of the faith in African terms needs to be emphasised, the social sciences should not take the place of theology; an alternative, non-secular account of human rights needs to be found, and development discourse needs to take seriously Indigenous Knowledge Systems. <![CDATA[<b>Justice-making and the beloved community: Mapping emancipatory landscapes and the public role of theologians and religious scholars</b>]]> This article focuses on the religious world view and organizing strategies of United States activist, Joan Southgate who, at the age of 72, mapped out and completed a three-stage, 519 mile walk to North American Underground Railroad sites. Following this 2002 walk, Southgate founded Restore Cleveland Hope (RCH) in Cleveland, Ohio, to combat racism and other social ills. In their organizing efforts, Southgate and other community members envision and work to establish a "Beloved Community" of radical inclusivity that fuses Martin Luther King Jr. 's vision of the Beloved Community with notions of community found in Toni Morrison's 1987 novel Beloved. In this article, I draw upon Southgate's mapping strategies to establish a framework in which to discuss the public role religious scholars can play in giving voice to local religious activists and practitioners by mapping, analysing, and interpreting their emancipatory efforts. <![CDATA[<b>God in granite? Aesthetic-theological perspectives on the monumentalisation of religion</b>]]> In this article an introductory look is taken at the phenomenon of the monumentalisation of religion, particularly in view of its imperial expressions. The history and religious meaning of the Voortrekker Monument, situated outside Pretoria in South Africa, is outlined briefly as a case in point, followed by a number of aesthetic-theological perspectives on the notion of the monumentalisation of religion, using the keywords as lenses. The article concludes with a reflection on an art work by Argentinian born artist/architect Tomás Saraceno, entitled: 'On Space Time Foam '. <![CDATA[<b>Aspects of child evangelism and youth ministry in South Africa in the postmodern context of globalism, pluralism and current scientific knowledge</b>]]> After the demise of the Apartheid regime the Religious Instruction syllabus of the Christian National Education system was changed to 'Religious Education'. The new syllabus requires that all religions should be taught in schools. Compounding the difficulties of pluralism, the global postmodernist cultural context has promoted cognitive dissonance in young Christians in that Christianity is now only one option among other religions claiming the same character of truth and demanding the same adherence. Can traditional approaches to child evangelism and youth ministry still be relevant in the context of scientific education and pluralism in South Africa? To explore this question three recent apparently widely-diverging publications are consulted: 1) Jansen (2009), 'Knowledge in the blood. Confronting race and the Apartheid past'; 2) Claassen & Gaum (2012), 'God? Gesprekke oor die Oorsprong en Uiteinde van Alles '; 3) Gericke (2013), 'A philosophical clarification of the axiological assumptions behind the concept of goodness in Genesis 1'. <![CDATA[<b>Pentecostal hermeneutics and the marginalisation of women</b>]]> The Pentecostal movement remains one of ambivalence, tensions and paradoxes. On the surface, worship and practice appear democratic, yet research shows that women and men do not occupy the same status because the movement endorses male dominance and submission of women to men. While there is a sense that men and women are equal because both can receive the Spirit, women still remain in the margins. Sometimes women are affirmed and accepted because of the emancipatory role of the Spirit, but at other times they are marginalised through oppressive interpretative practices of the Bible. Although women are given voice, especially because of the belief within Pentecostal churches that the Holy Spirit speaks through men and women, the same voice is taken away when women are subordinated to male power. As such the Pentecostal space is ambivalent, although women are not completely silenced, they occupy a subordinate position. In this article I seek to demonstrate that the marginalisation of Pentecostal women is due to a considerable extent to the ways in which the Bible is read and interpreted within the Pentecostal tradition. I seek to demonstrate that there is a link between the marginalisation of women and Pentecostal hermeneutical strategies such as literal readings and proof-texting of the Bible. I will also highlight how the interpretation of the Trinity is also implicated in the marginalisation of women. In the final section of the article I will demonstrate how Pentecostals' openness to the work of the Holy Spirit should be a destabilising principle for all Pentecostals' oppressive activities, especially Pentecostal hermeneutics which tends to favour men over and above women. <![CDATA[<b>Attempting to define a Pentecostal hermeneutics</b>]]> What is distinctive about Pentecostals' reading of the Bible? In what way do Pentecostal people read the Bible so that they reach different conclusions than believers of other denominations? Is it possible to speak of a Pentecostal herme-neutics? In what way does it differ from the hermeneutics found in other theological traditions, such as the Catholic, Eastern and Reformed traditions? And how does their hermeneutics inform Pentecostals' practice? These questions are discussed and some preliminary conclusions reached. Pentecostals' religious consciousness expects an experience or encounter between God and human beings through his Spirit. This is supposed to happen in the worship service and also in the practice of Bible reading, whether individually or collectively. The presupposition is that the Word is revealed in the Bible only when people experience God, and the existential precondition leads to a Pentecostal emphasis of narratives describing such encounters in the Bible. <![CDATA[<b>Transforming congregational culture: Suburban leadership perspectives within a circuit of the DRC</b>]]> On 27 April 2014 we celebrated twenty years of democracy in South Africa. Celebrating this important day in our history also afforded us the opportunity to reflect on what has transpired in our country during the past two decades. From theories in theology and social sciences we learned that what is happening in the broader context in society directly influences the way we congregate in faith communities. And the way we congregate and structure faith communities once again influence the way leadership is exercised. In this contribution different theoretical constructs are used as interpretive frameworks to view the transformations that occurred in a Circuit of sub-urban congregations of the Dutch Reformed Church during the past twenty years, specifically concentrating on the leadership processes. The results of the data are also interpreted through the lenses of Mary Douglas's 'enclavement theory' and do not only open up a window on the past but also provide some clues for looking at the factors involved in the processes of transformation that is so prevalent in these congregations. The article will conclude with some theological reflection on leadership practices related to these processes of transformation. "The secret of change is to focus your energy, not on fighting the old but on building the new" - Socrates <![CDATA[<b>A white mist in the black Unisa</b>]]> The academic institutions in South Africa are systematically and structurally white. In short, shades of white ethics blight academic institutions such as Unisa. This article, therefore, aims to expose the argument that Unisa is still excluding black academics on the basis of race. Black academics are directly and indirectly subjected to institutional racism, which dramatically undermines their chances of academic success. Institutional racism, otherwise known as white ethics, positions itself as a standard or norm in the institution and at the same time places itself as the only good, and other experiences and knowledge as bad and does not meet the standard. The article will argue in contrast that blackness and black experience and knowledge should be placed as the good and whiteness as bad, thereby calling for black ethics. <![CDATA[<b>Black theology of liberation and radical democracy: A dialogue</b>]]> Radical Democracy proposes that capitalism should be theorised deeply and furthermore, that the liberal tradition must not be denounced and rejected by the Left. It is possible that what seems to be a 'confusion,' or 'confoundedness,' 'diffusion' and 'vicious' co-optation of liberation symbols since the demise of Apartheid, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union could be unravelled with this theory of Radical Democracy. More importantly, Black Theology of Liberation and its symbiosis with Black Consciousness - having assumed that socialism rather than capitalism was an appropriate historical project of obedience to the Gospel of Jesus Christ - must urgently engage Radical Democracy in order to deal with the rhetoric of liberation that is becoming increasingly sterile. This article argues that Black Theology of Liberation must move beyond reasserting, or rearticulating its core values by recommitting itself to social analysis - mokgwa wa yona (its very nature) - and relate to social theories of the reality of our current context. Radical Democracy is thus chosen as a conversant to examine our social reality post-1994 and to identify lessons that could be drawn from this theory. <![CDATA[<b>Translating cultures: The creation of sin in the public space of Batswana</b>]]> This article seeks to trace the fussy boundaries of religion and the public space in the modern colonial archive of southern Africa. It investigates how drawing such boundaries became a central strategy in translating indigenous cultures into sin and creating guilt in communities that did not observe the sacred and secular boundaries. The article uses the attestations of the 19th century letters to Mahoko a Becwana, a London Missionary Society public paper, printed from Kuruman. While the Batswana worldview kneaded religion and all spheres of individual and collective public space, modern western colonial perspectives claimed otherwise. This paper analyses the letters for the intrusion of colonial religion into the public space of Batswana; the colonial agenda to translate key cultural beliefs and activities into the realm of evil and the various responses it initiated - thereby uncovering that perhaps the separation of religion from state has always been a mythological and ideological construction. <![CDATA[<b>John Wesley as a public theologian: The case of <i>Thoughts upon Slavery</i></b>]]> Public theology has become an important mode of theological engagement in secular and pluralistic contexts yet there is debate as to the character of this engagement. This article argues that an analysis of the nascent public theology developed by John Wesley can contribute to the development of a prophetic public theology. This nascent prophetic public theology is best demonstrated in his booklet Thoughts upon Slavery. Wesley's argument is critically analysed in the context of eighteenth century Britain. On the basis of this analysis eight propositions for a prophetic public theology are developed. <![CDATA[<b>Reconceptualising eucharist as subservient ritual: A missiological response to public violence in Africa</b>]]> In this article, I argue that the church as Christ's symbolic presence in the world is a Missiological expression of God loving non-violent involvement and witnessing presence in the world permeated with violence. Through two case studies that exemplify the relationship between public speech and public violence - the 1994 Rwandan genocide and the 2015 xenophobic attacks in South Africa - the article demonstrates the potential of liminality of Eucharistic encounter to inspire and empower African Christians prophetically to respond non-violently to the plague of public violence in many African countries. <![CDATA[<b>The 'Calvinist Patriarch' Cyril Lucaris and his Bible translations</b>]]> Cyril Lucaris ' Bible translation is a curious case from the Middle Ages. This article attempts to bring to the fore Lucaris ' efforts in translating the Bible and its aftermath. We begin by unfolding a few pages from the life of Lucaris in order to situate him in the context of his so-called grand endeavour. Our article then concentrates on his teachings on the Bible. Here focus is placed on his initiatives to translate the Bible into Modern Greek, a language of the masses. This enormous task, however, could not be accomplished individually. It required assistance and collaboration - political as well as intellectual - in order to gift his flock with a translated copy of the Bible. The last part of the essay presents the corrective measures taken by the Eastern Church to condemn the erroneous teachings of Cyril Lucaris. Various anathemas silenced his voice and reaffirmed orthodox teachings on the Sacred Scriptures. <![CDATA[<b>Jeremiah 31:34, new covenant membership, and baptism</b>]]> The promise of Jeremiah 31:34 that "all of them will know me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, " has been of crucial importance for the paedo - vs. credobaptism debate. However, there has been little discussion of what the quantifier means based on Jeremiah's repeated and thematically linked uses. Throughout his prophecy, Jeremiah consistently uses this quantifier in reference to a group about which something is pervasively, though not exhaustively, true. Therefore, the quantifier in Jeremiah 31:34 should not be understood as presenting subjective knowledge of the Lord as the necessary condition of New Covenant membership to the exclusion of infant membership in that community and infant baptism as the sign of membership. <![CDATA[<b>Unbounded Christologies: The case of widows' Christology - 'Jesus Christ is breath'</b>]]> This article draws upon African widowhood for theological reflection. It shows that experiences of widowhood characterize widows in rural western Kenya as liminal individuals located at a threshold. These widows experience deep loneliness besides other hardships. Further, they feel an existential lack of appeasement of loneliness, which opens up room for the emergence of variant Christologies that are fluid and concern intermediate ('in between ') areas of experience. Thus this new dynamic of specific embodied experiences by African widows and the intermediacy they experience create the possibility for widows to see Jesus Christ in a manner which is similarly fluid, shifting, ' in between' and on the threshold. In order to capture this new Christology that is unbounded and creative, through metaphoric theology, "Jesus Christ is breath" articulates who widows in rural western Kenya say Jesus Christ is. <![CDATA[<b>Jürgen Moltmann and the theology of the cross in the Johannine priestly prayer</b>]]> Based on the cross-centred ecumenism of Moltmann, this article describes the problems of ecumenism among the churches of the global south. While acknowledging the paradigmatic shift in the centre of Christianity to these regions, it notes the problematic character of this shift for ecumenism especially in Africa. Situating Moltmann in discourse to the Johannine priestly prayer, it explicates some defining aspects of Moltmann's cross-defined ecumenism for the African church. In this regard, the paper describes the problems as well as prospects that this christocentric mapping of Moltmann' s thought provides for the unity of the churches in Africa. <![CDATA[<b>In search of a theoretical framework towards intercultural awareness and tolerance</b>]]> Even if legalised segregation (i.e. Apartheid) has ceased, individuals, groups and communities remain sensitive owing to past experiences. Furthermore communication obstacles lead to on-going misunderstandings that result in mistrust (Williams, 2002:5167). Without a process to stimulate intercultural awareness and tolerance, the legacy of the past cannot be undone. The question therefore is: How can we approach intercultural misunderstanding and mistrust so as to find a way to work towards intercultural awareness and tolerance? The aim of this contribution has been to identify a theoretical framework that could pave the way to finding practical ways of addressing the remaining misunderstandings and mistrust in present-day South Africa. The authors, working from a trans-disciplinary framework, first did a review of the literature in search of a theoretical framework. The contribution concludes with a proposed theoretical framework and some recommendations for further exploration of this topic.