Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Scriptura]]> vol. 117 num. lang. pt <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Apologetics against the devaluation of the Mosaic Law in early Judaism? An indication of an Anti-Hellenistic stance in LXX-Proverbs and the works of Philo of Alexandria</b>]]> In a time when Hellenistic culture became the predominant one, other streams of thinking, such as Judaism, were challenged by the Greek way of thinking. Due to this Hellenistic influence, some Jews tended to devaluate the Law of Moses. Jewish literature of that time often worked as apologetics against Hellenism. This pilot article analyses the role of the Mosaic Law in the LXX translation of Proverbs as well as the attestation of the Law in the works of Philo in order to determine whether or not there was an actual devaluation of the Law by Jews due to Hellenistic influence in the Early Jewish period and whether or not these works contain an anti-Hellenistic stance. <![CDATA[<b>Christian ethics in South Africa: Liberal values among the public and elites</b>]]> This article uses statistical data from the World Values Survey (WVS) and the South African Opinion Leader Survey to examine liberal values and attitudes among the following samples of South Africans: Afrikaans, English, isiXhosa and isiZulu speaking Protestants, Catholics, African Independent Church (AIC) members and non-religious people (public and parliamentarians). We find that South Africans have softened in their traditionally conservative attitudes toward homosexuality, prostitution, abortion and euthanasia (but not the death penalty). We conclude that the South African public has gradually become more accepting of the liberal values of the constitution (the product of elite-driven transition to liberal democracy). That being said, South Africans have not become liberals as such and many mainline Protestants and members of the AICs (in particular) have remained fairly conservative in their views. Additionally, elites (parliamentarians) continue to outpace the public with regards to the acceptance of liberal values and practices. <![CDATA[<b>Horizons in transformational development and transnational migration: Does hope matter?</b>]]> There is growing interest in the wellbeing of refugees and particularly the strategies they employ in their quest for improved livelihoods. This article reports on a recent study on the dynamics of the refugee phenomenon. It focuses largely on the long-term livelihood strategies that refugee migrants bring into play so as to earn their living and improve their wellbeing amid sheer vulnerability. The study reveals that the majority of African refugees in Cape Town have shifted from short-term survival mechanisms such as the dependence on relief from churches, faith-based organisations, mosques, etc., to long-term strategies. The article concludes by exploring the concept of development as hope in action. Here, it is established that although a considerable number of refugees leave their home countries with a certain level of uncertainty concerning their survival in the hosting country, they use their hope as a resource to improve their livelihoods. <![CDATA[<b>The 'upper regions' and the route of Paul's third journey from Apamea to Ephesus</b>]]> Luke's phrase ἀνωτερικὰ μέρη in Acts 19:1 has been an interpretative conundrum for scholars of Acts for centuries. How Paul came to Ephesus at the start of the third journey is the geographical issue. The article begins with a brief lexical discussion. It then examines each of the proposed routes and their variants. Recent archaeological and hodological research in western Asia Minor as well as new cartographic productions provide fresh insights into these routes. How contemporary Bible atlases portray the route of the journey is then discussed. The methodological tools of Least Cost Path Analysis, Network Analysis, and 3D modelling are next employed to evaluate these routes. Based on these data, the Meander valley route from Apamea to Ephesus is preferred. The article concludes with several insights about Paul's travel and ministry programme in Acts derived from the study. <![CDATA[<b>Glocalisation</b><b> in the service of resistant discourses: towards 'reading' with Volker Küster</b>]]> 'Talking back' in a non-confrontational way, this essay engages the German theologian Volker Küster's 'reading' of what it views as resistant discourses from the global South. In the first instance, the essay attempts to 'read', with Küster, global political and social transformations since 1990, specifically looking at possible ways they have shaped theological discourses in the global South. Moving on, is Küster's 'reading' of a selected number of the latter discourses. The essay also attempts to highlight analytically, how Küster came to the conclusion that a shift occurred from contextualisation to the so-called glocalisation. Finally, based upon an own 'reading' of the discourses and drawing on the discussants' voices themselves, an argument is made for glocalisation in the service of contextualisation. <![CDATA[<b>Ecumenical ecclesiology in the African context: towards a view of the church as <i>Ubuntu</i></b>]]> This purpose of this essay is to provide an overview of approaches to ecclesiology in the African context with specific reference to various institutional expressions of the ecumenical movement. While wider ecumenical ecclesiological debates have pondered on the distinctive nature of the church, African contributions have focused on the embeddedness of the church in the African context with its evolving cultures and social context. Decrying the split between what the church is (read: ecclesiology) and what it does (read: ethics) as a false dichotomy within the African context, I will argue for a critical appropriation of the sub-Saharan African nondualistic notion of ubuntu as apposite for articulating an ecumenical ecclesiology within the African context. This is buttressed by the connotations of communality, communion and interrelatedness that ubuntu carries in addition to its resonance with other concepts in African thought, such as vital participation and vital force. <![CDATA[<b>The spelling eye and the listening ear: oral poetics and New Testament writings</b>]]> Concepts such as orality, media criticism, manuscript culture, oral reading and performance have been introduced to New Testament scholarship since the 1980s, but their impact on and contribution to mainstream research are still in question. A resurgent interest in these socio-cultural notions is raising fundamental questions about approaches to and conclusions about early Christian texts. Some of the implications and possibilities of these developments are reviewed and briefly illustrated. Rather than emphasising another method or 'criticism' that could be 'added' to the repertoire of biblical scholarship, it is proposed that a multifaceted conceptualising of ' speaking-hearing-remembering' , an ' oral poetics' , inform NT scholarship. <![CDATA[<b>Ways of viewing an evolving world amidst ecological destruction</b>]]> In an earlier contribution on the use of the term 'worldview' in various theological discourses I commented on the confusing connotations attached to the term in neo-Calvinism, the sociology of knowledge, African theology, 'science and theology' and 'religion and ecology'.1 This contribution builds on that earlier one by raising the question whether the category of ' worldviews' can perhaps help to hold together the categories of evolution and religion - while doing justice also to an ecological awareness.2 The conclusion is a negative one, namely that this is unlikely, given the conceptual confusion over what a 'worldview' entails. Nevertheless, it at least indicates the terrain where contestation takes place. <![CDATA[<b>What diagnosis? Which remedy? Critical reflections on the <i>Diagnostic Overview </i>of South Africa's National Planning Commission</b>]]> This contribution offers some critical reflections on the Diagnostic Overview produced by the South African National Planning Commission. The argument is structured in the form of catena and commentary with main sections devoted to the assumption of the need for economic growth, factors inhibiting economic growth, the category of unemployability, and the impact of inequalities. It is suggested that Christian discourse on sin, understood as a form of social diagnostics, can contribute to an in-depth diagnosis by uncovering the root causes of the problem from an ultimate perspective. <![CDATA[<b>Examples of contemporary laments (based on biblical laments), illustrating theological insights</b>]]> Many of us do not see God in our suffering as a result of our notions of who God is and how God interacts with us. But a study of the psalms of lament can help us bring all our emotions - those emanating from pain, frustration, faith, and a need for revenge - to God. In this article, examples are given of lament poems composed by young Zulu 'pain-bearers', after they had come to understand the language of biblical lament, as seen in three psalms. A careful review of these lament psalms gave insight to the participants as to who God is and how we can approach God. They also noted that in the Bible suffering was part of the normal human condition. By composing their own personal laments, the young people were able to process their pain better, and gain a sense of agency, being able to tell their stories and be heard with respect and compassion. <![CDATA[<b>The practice and impact of divine healing in Saint John Apostolic Faith Mission: a missiological perspective</b>]]> Previous works on Saint John Apostolic Faith Mission have focused on the establishment of the church by its female founder, Christina Nku. Other works have studied the reasons that caused the church to undergo several schisms over the years. Some scholars have discussed Saint John Apostolic Faith Mission as a Pentecostal church instead of an African Independent Church. This article looks at the practice of divine healing in Saint John Apostolic Faith Mission and its impact on the growth of the church, by using a missiological lens. This shall be established by looking at the practice of divine healing in the African Independent Churches in general. The practice of divine healing in Saint John Apostolic Faith Mission shall be explored by looking at the role of the Holy Spirit, healing symbols and healing songs. The article also looks at the relationship between divine healing and western medicine. The purpose here is to demonstrate the impact of divine healing on the growth of Saint John Apostolic Faith Mission. <![CDATA[<b>Intersection of personhood and culture: a narrative approach of pastoral care to gender-based violence</b>]]> What contribution does a narrative approach make to effective care for those affected by gender-based violence? Notwithstanding the contributions of feminist theologians who take experience and identity seriously (Ackermann and Ruether), open-ended narrative includes lived experience, embodied communication, and the identity of the victim as formative community as an effective approach of care. Experience as lived experience or actual reality is not what is interpreted by the dominance of those in the centre, but it is primarily the experience of the vulnerable at the margins. The post-structuralist critique of the structuralist approach to communication and difference and the other within a fluid community will be considered within the narrative approach of care. This article will also address the intersection between gender and culture. I will use Ackermann and Ruether's feminist lens as theological framework. <![CDATA[<b>Imperialism, Christian identity and masculinity: post-colonial interpretation of Jesus' arrest and trial in the Gospel of Matthew</b>]]> The influence of the great Roman Empire on almost every facet of life in the first century Mediterranean world can hardly be ignored. It comes as no surprise therefore that the gospels, which took shape within this context, reflect the machinations of the empire which guarded, jealously, any attempt to oppose or subvert the military, economic, political and ideological imperium it enjoyed over its colonies. The presence of the governor, military and the Sanhedrin, in the gospel of Matthew, all connive to expose the pervasiveness of the empire under the dual aspects of materiality and ideology. Applying the optics ofpost-colonial, imperialist hermeneutics on the Matthean unit of Jesus' arrest and trial, this article seeks to show how 1) the imperial machinations of the first Mediterranean world shaped the collective memory of the Matthean Christians; 2) how this collective memory interfaces with the manner in which the same imperium - no matter how hybridised it may be - is kept alive in our day; 3) how the potent mix of the pervasiveness of the Roman Empire and masculinity within which it is entrenched, are prolonged in the modern day Christian society. <![CDATA[<b>The ending of the pre-Markan passion narrative</b>]]> This article argues that the pre-Markan passion narrative ended with a starkly unadorned account of the empty tomb, an account which raises as many questions about Jesus's fate as it does answers. Employing tradition and redaction criticism, I reveal that the pre-Markan empty tomb account contained no mention of an angel, Jesus's resurrection, or Galilean appearances. Rather, it straightforwardly described the women's coming to the tomb, finding the tomb empty, and fleeing from the tomb in terror and silence. The logic of the pre-Markan ending discloses that the women fled because they naturally assumed grave robbery and feared being implicated in this capital crime. Throughout this article, I interact with the views of Sakkie Spangenberg, Hansie Wolmarans, Andries van Aarde and Julian Müller, four prominent South African scholars who have commented on the empty tomb narrative. <![CDATA[<b>African religious spirituality and inculturation</b>]]> This article seeks to demonstrate the impact of community life in promoting unity from an African perspective. We use the proto-community in Acts 2:42. The aim is to encourage all Africans and other people to cultivate a sense of belonging and valuing community life in the light of Acts 2:42. Hence we shall trace this theme from a Christian history. The other section touches on the essence of community life and obstacles that hinder it. We shall offer spiritual suggestions and an integrative reflection. The nature of the article is theology in general but spiritual in particular. As a spiritual article it is guided by a foundational approach. The expected result is that freedom from all the miseries experienced is brought by living a community life. This is a life that gives greater assurance of enough food, education, health, peace, employment and increased responsibility that values human dignity. The basic presumption is that there can be no development in any society without community life. <![CDATA[<b>Jesus as brugbouer: Jesus en die buitestanders in Johannes 4:1-42 / Jesus as a bridge builder: Jesus and the outsiders in John 4:1-42</b>  ]]> This article deals with Jesus and the outsiders in John 4, with particular focus on John 4:1-42. Methodologically, the study focuses on social identity theory, and asks the question of how Jesus gets the Samaritan woman, who is a member of the outside group, into the insider group. The focus of the study is thus what the behaviour and attitude of the historical and non-conventional Jesus was toward outsiders in the strongly hierarchical social structure of his day. <![CDATA[<b>A reflection on ritual murders in the biblical text from an African perspective</b>]]> Ritual murders have recently been widespread among African societies in general. Reports of such murders have become cause for concern. African countries that are implicated in ritual killing include, but are not limited to: Botswana, Nigeria, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe. Cases have been reported of human body parts allegedly removed from the corpses. The mortiferous character of ritual killing is not unique to African communities. During ancient biblical times, it was common that a son would be offered on the altar as a sacrifice to the gods. This article is multifaceted in its form. The study problematises phenomena of ritual murders by utilising narrative research in which human sacrifice, as depicted in the Old Testament, is the focus of attention. In addition, a comparative approach is employed to demonstrate that ritual murder is not unique to Africa. The article concludes by offering some recommendations towards obliterating ritual killing. <![CDATA[<b>History of the Jewish interpretation of Genesis 1:26, 3:5, 3:22 in the Middle Ages</b>]]> The present article analyses the plural forms occurring in Genesis 1:26, 3:5 and 3:22 which might appertain to God and which acted as focal points for theological and exegetical discussion within the framework of the Jewish tradition. Furthermore, the article studies the mediaeval Jewish exegesis of these forms as recorded in the representative Jewish commentaries and situates it against the early Jewish reception of these forms. <![CDATA[<b>Beyond the rhetoric of the 'next Christendom'? An examination of the integrity of the Christian faith in Nigeria</b>]]> The growing population of Christians in Africa, Asia and Latin America is one of the success stories of the Christian faith of the modern era. The central importance of this paradigmatic shift in the gravitational centre of Christianity to Africa has been clearly represented in the writings of Jenkins, Walls and Bediako. However, this rapid growth in numbers of Christians in Africa does not often correspond with the authentic translation of the Christian faith in the daily affairs of the peoples. This incapacity of the Christian faith is seen in the inability of the growing numbers of Christians to transform the public space. The paradox of growing Christian presence and growing poverty, corruption, bad government, disease, failed service delivery and several dysfunctional states challenge the effective impact of this Christian presence. It seems the rhetoric of numbers has not translated directly into Christian practice. Unfortunately, the excitement of numbers and the euphoria of the Southward movement of the Christian faith to the region of Africa and Nigeria in particular have not resolved the problematic character of the Christian faith and practices within this region. In Nigeria, the revival of cultures and the attendant theological enterprise in inculturation have often legitimised the importance of African cultural expressions on Christian beliefs, but also with tendencies of distorting the purity and integrity of Christian faith as a result of misunderstanding. Using analytical methodology, the present article engages the religious dynamism in Nigerian culturalised ecclesiastical space, and the necessity of preserving the Christian faith against cultural expressions which challenge the integrity of the Christian faith directly. Thus, this article argues for the repositioning of the Christian faith in Nigeria in order to fulfil its destined significance as one of the most important treasure houses of the "Next Christendom". <![CDATA[<b>Paul the Jew, power of evil and Rome</b>]]> Continuing to read the Pauline letters as 'Christian ' theological treatises side-lines their author's Jewishness and life in the Roman Empire. Paul's Jewishness within Empire is important for understanding the letters' take on power and also the powers. His Jewish identity and life in Empire informed which powers Paul addressed, how he understood their nature, and how he related to them. This contribution questions the hiatus most often presupposed but at times also argued in the Pauline letters, between notions of evil and empire from the perspective of Paul's Jewishness.