Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Stellenbosch Theological Journal]]> vol. 6 num. 1 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Healing the female body: Representation of ideas about healing and the female body in Mark's gospel</b>]]> Using narrative, reader-response and social feminist approaches, the study takes a discourse analysis of looking into representations of female bodies within the Jewish-Christian healthcare and Greek Hippocratic healthcare and how such surface in the representation of female bodies in Mark's healing stories. The study finishes by looking into comparable biases found in some African communities. The gospel of Mark contains some of the early Christian memory concerning Jesus as folk healer and this study selects narratives in the gospel of Mark whereby Jesus dealt with illness pertaining female patients. Instead of dealing with all narratives whereby Jesus healed a female patient, the focus will be on the story concerning the healing of Simon's mother-in-law and the story concerning the haemorrhaging woman. The underlying question is - what were the socio-cultural ideas concerning the female body and how do such ideas surface in the healing stories? The study hypothesises that, besides being stories that reveal Jesus' Christological powers or power as folk healer, the healing stories are site to investigate social cultural frameworks concerning illness and gender. <![CDATA[<b>Masculinity and public space in the Greco-Roman period: Implications for Africa today</b>]]> This article focuses on masculinity in relation to public space during the Greco-Roman period, and implications for Africa today. The key issues addressed include: an overview on what masculinity entailed at the said period, namely the physique, the duties and the expectations of the society on the man and the expectations of the man of self; public space as manifested through patriarchy and the related responsibilities such as procreation, headship of the family, voting, being an orator, being of service to the community, commanding the peoples respect, possessing wealth and the respective status and having military prowess. In the midst of the above high expectations and stringent demands, virtue was not to be compromised. The two virtues highlighted in this article are courage and self-control. Contemporary Africa can draw several lessons on the importance of culture, socialization and virtue from aspects of masculinity and public space during the Greco-Roman period. <![CDATA[<b>The Bible and gender equality in church leadership in Tanzania</b>]]> Since the arrival of Christianity in Africa, the Bible has been received well by Africans. It has become the canon in most spheres of life. For women, especially, the Bible was and still is the book of hope and courage. It is the source of hope and courage to whatever situations women experience. Women find the message of Jesus appealing because it provides them equal status with men and new avenues of religious service. They sense that the gospel grants both women and men the opportunity to participate fully in the community of God's new people. Since the Bible carries the good news, it is expected to transform cultures of believers and enhance gender equality in church leadership as well as other spheres of life. Therefore, this paper uses the liberal feminist theory to discuss gender equality in leadership in Tanzania by examining biblical, cultural, social and ecclesiastical perspectives. <![CDATA[<b>Gender and Christology in Africa for social and political involvement</b>]]> The person, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are the central tenets of the Christian mystery. The theological reflection upon the meanings of these is summed up in Christology. This paper seeks to explore the inspiration derived from feminist Christologies by women in Africa for social and political participation. The emphasis of feminist Christologies on the African continent is how one understands the life of Jesus and how that understanding can help alter present circumstances and be empowered to fight for change. Feminist Christologies in this paper arise from its significance in women's daily lives. Using the cases of Bishop Margaret Wanjiru of Jesus is Alive Ministries (JIAM) and the late Catholic Prof. Sister Anne Nasimiyu, this paper proceeds to tease out their understanding of the life of Jesus and how from a gender perspective they found this useful for women's social and political involvement. As shall be demonstrated, feminist Christologies are compactly intertwined with women's social, political and contemporary lived realities and also serve to empower them. <![CDATA[<b>The power of silence in marriage: a gender-based reading of John 4:1-11</b>]]> Silence speaks louder than verbal speech, penetrating deeper into the hearts of those to whom it is directed. Marriage, as any other institution, is often surrounded by moments of silence between couples, which leads to thoughtful suffering. Contextualizing the theory of Spiral of Silence of Noelle-Neumann in the Bena context in Tanzania, this article provides a reading of the text in the Gospel according to John to discern the way in which it enlightens the real life situations of the church in regard to the role of silence. The article argues that the silence of Jesus in the text, as was his silence in the passion narratives, is a form of expression of his urgency and the communication of his power against the public opinion. In this case, the reading intents to look at the implication of silence within the prism of gender with specific reference to emotional abuses exerted by the church to marginalized people. <![CDATA[<b>The female body on the dance floor: Reclaiming power from the dance floor in Mark's Herodian daughter</b>]]> Using dance perspective and Homi Bhabha's postcolonial ambivalence theory, this study re-reads the events that occurred during the banquet at Herod's house. Unlike previous perspectives that focuses on the gruesome murder of John by Herod, the study focuses on the banquet that resulted in the young girl to dance to the point whereby, having been intoxicated and greatly amused, Herod asks the girl what she can have as a reward. By intersecting the female body that culturally signifies gender inferiority to its ambivalence as a subject of attraction and pleasure, I develop the hypothesis that the body through its dance regained its power by becoming a somewhat equal patron; negotiating its rights and being the source of an alternative and yet subversive power. Instead of the female body being a source merely of the male's gaze and pleasure, it attained agency and power. <![CDATA[<b>Household and gender: Interpretation in dialogue between the contexts of the New Testament and contemporary cultures</b>]]> In this paper, I will try to engage with African positions on gender and households and respond with a reading of New Testament texts from my position in a Nordic context within Europe. The terms "household" and "gender" refer to central issues in social and historical studies of societies. Household signifies a central social unit in a society whereas gender is an analytical category when discussing the social and ideological roles of men and women. The question of the forms of household and of the roles of men and women respectively, is part of the larger context of worldviews, political ideologies and ethics. The specific forms of household and gender play a large part in the societies that make up the contexts of New Testament texts, as well as in contemporary societies where these texts play important roles. In this essay, I seek a "dialogue" between the New Testament context and the church in Africa, focusing especially on the understanding of gender roles within Pentecostal churches. <![CDATA[<b>The <i>nexus </i>between church and gender: Understanding headship as servanthood</b>]]> Interface between the Bible and ideas about gender and church mission work in Africa is a phenomenon that calls for discussion within theological forums. Despite both men and women being active in church activities, the early church depicts men as being at the forefront while women quietly participated. Concerning the missionary era, men publicly were the leaders as women followed or privately served as the personal assistant or as administrators. In addition, looking now at the contemporary church, in the traditional (orthodox) churches, the so-called historical or mainstream churches, men take the top leadership roles while women deputize them. However, this position is being challenged by the new religious movements and Christian ministries movements where women are usurping the top leadership positions. This paper therefore seeks to paint a seemingly more balanced account of gender roles that would benefit men and women alike by exploring historical and theological leadership roles and gender in the church. <![CDATA[<b>The involvement of people with disabilities in church matters in relation to gender equality in Tanzania: A case of Mbeya City</b>]]> Involvement of people with disabilities in church activities, ranging from ordinary worship to resuming leadership positions, poses a great challenge to the African church. While African governments have put in place policies (Acts) regarding the involvement of people with disability in national economic development activities, findings in this paper revealed that the scenario in the church was different. This paper unfolds the real state of affairs in the church as far as involvement of people with disabilities is concerned. Even so, it appears there is a step taken that ushers in hopes for the fully-fledged engagement of the church in the near future. As a way forward, the paper appeals to the government authorities to direct and monitor the construction of church buildings to conform to inclusive standards, and that the churches should put in place policies regarding people with disabilities. <![CDATA[<b>An ethics of responsibility for our time: a proposal</b>]]> We live in a time in which the way of life characterised as "ethical" or "moral" is under stress. The challenge we face is to take up responsibility for salvaging and enhancing the exercise of moral responsibility in all spheres of life. It is argued in this article that the ethical approach to be followed in facing this challenge is the ethics of responsibility. This ethics should, however, not be conceptualised as yet another first-level normative ethical approach vying to replace existing ones, but as a second-level one. Such an approach recognises the indispensable contribution of existing normative ethical approaches to the exercise of moral responsibility. At the same time, it provides guidance to these approaches on enhancing the exercise of moral responsibility in a contextually appropriate manner. In the article, a case is made out for the ethics of responsibility that is proposed, followed by a discussion of its profile and agenda. <![CDATA[<b>Ethics of responsibility in a theological perspective</b>]]> In the article the author explicates his own view of a theological ethics of responsibility in dialogue with other proponents of such an ethics. A distinction is first made between an "ethic or responsibility" and an "ethics of responsibility". Attention is then given to the emergence of the key term of "responsibility" in Western culture and its theological origin pointed out. It is argued that responsibility as an ethical concept implies the accountability of human persons for their deeds before an ultimate instance of accountability and thus with inner necessity depends on an affirmative understanding of autonomy and self-determination. What is, however, also implied is dependence on human interaction and communication. From this follows the conclusion that the ethics of responsibility is based on a relational rather than an essentialist anthropology. This conclusion is confirmed in an extensive discussion of the views of the two most important representatives of a theological approach to the ethics of responsibility, namely Dietrich Bonhoeffer and H. Richard Niebuhr. In the last part of the article it is argued that what distinguishes theological ethics of responsibility is that contrary to a purely future-oriented ethics - as is the case with, for example, the ethics of responsibility of Max Weber and Hans Jonas - it is an ethics that intertwines the three modi of time: past, present and future. <![CDATA[<b>The ethics of responsibility: Fallibilism, futurity and phronesis</b>]]> In this article, I deal with the issue of a possible ethics of responsibility (ER) from a philosophical perspective in general, and bioethics in particular. My aim is to explore whether an ER is able to incorporate or integrate some, if not most, of the valid (and valuable) aspects of utilitarianism and deontology, without succumbing to most of the glaring shortcomings of these two famous frameworks. If such an enterprise could be successful, I would venture to infer that the ER could indeed be highly relevant for the time in which we live. I develop three central ideas of the framework of the ethics of responsibility. These three ideas are, firstly, that an appropriate framework for moral decision-making requires us to make room for the possibility of failure; secondly, we must see the implications of Jonas' emphasis on the need for an ethics of futurity for taking cognisance of the consequences of acts, and, thirdly, that although consequences of actions may be important, as utilitarianism has always insisted, consequences are not enough. Moral actions are also of necessity guided by rules and principles when making moral decisions. It is particularly in this respect that I shall, at the end, draw on the insights of Aristotle in respect of his notion of phronesis. The crux of my argument is to be found in what Aristotle identifies as the essence of moral knowledge. Moral knowledge respects and often builds upon the norms and action guides that pervade social life. However, merely drawing on deep-seated norms and conventions is not enough. These norms and conventions require application in a host of practical situations. Exactly how they are to be applied, is far from self-evident. That is something that we learn in the practice of daily life by the deliberation that essentially characterises phronesis or prudence (practical wisdom). <![CDATA[<b>The do's and don'ts: A theological inquiry into the <i>Kpim </i>of <i>Ori Oke </i>in Ilorin metropolis</b>]]> It is an interesting and refreshing fact that every human society is conventionally structured and subsequently sustained by certain rules and regulations whether written or unwritten by which both social and religious life is regulated. In the religious arena, the holy writ or tradition serves as a functional apparatus in order to attain and guarantee religious order, righteousness, and holiness. Conceptually, Ori Oke means Prayer Mountain, one which is secluded from interruption for the purpose of solitary prayer and worship of the transcendental God. Thus, every Ori Oke (prayer mountain) in Ilorin metropolis is identified and associated with rules and practices which have been a sine-qua non for orderliness, harmony, purity, and security. However, noncompliance with the rules and regulations has been a major problem confronting some attendees and as well as a source of worry to insiders. This, as a matter of fact, elicits lots of concern from troubled members who are alarmed at the extent of violations at odd hours and in unexpected places thereby leading to a critical question of the roles of instruction in Ori Oke. The thrust of the paper is, therefore, to examine the theological and historical aspects to show the indispensable role of Christian traditions or holy writ in the sustainability of peace, orderliness, purity, inclusion, and continuity. The paper adopts a historical-liturgical and expository approach leading to the fact that vigilance and extra care must be employed by Ori Oke caretakers in order to get rid of unholy practices in the holy land. <![CDATA[<b>Prosperity Theology and African Traditional Religion: Assessing their resonance through a case study</b>]]> Studies of Prosperity Theology in Africa have increased as research into Pentecostalism has burgeoned, but few theological analyses have explored the significance of African Traditional Religions and their role in shaping Prosperity Theology. While some studies have explored the resonance of Prosperity Theology and African Traditional Religions, they tend to do so briefly, or with a focus on sociology rather than theology. Through a case study of Nigerian Pastor Chris Oyakhilome, this research tests the thesis that many have intuited: Prosperity Theology resonates with traditional African religion, and these resonances contribute to an explanation of the expression and proliferation of Prosperity Theology in Africa. Evaluating the resonance of Oyakhilome's teaching with African Traditional Religions (relying especially on John S. Mbiti's work) demonstrates that Oyakhilome's emphasis on accessing blessing, spiritual enemies, and activating power draws heavily on the resources of the typical African religious worldview. <![CDATA[<b>The rhetorical purpose of the battle between protagonist and antagonist in 2 Maccabees 9</b>]]> The main theme in 2 Maccabees seems to be the use and abuse of "power". The very striking battle for power, as presented in 2 Maccabees 9, is the focus of this article. The research questions are: Who are the protagonist and the antagonist in 2 Maccabees 9? How does this chapter describe these characters? What is the nature of the struggle between the protagonist and antagonist? What is/are the rhetorical function(s) of the struggle in 2 Maccabees 9? What is the rhetorical purpose of 2 Maccabees 9? As 2 Maccabees is a narrative, written in a world where rhetoric played an important role in communication, the text is interpreted with the help of rhetorical criticism and narrative criticism. Attention will be given to specifically the text's description of the antagonist and protagonist and the rhetorical function(s) of these descriptions will be interpreted. As the use and abuse of power play such an important role in the description of these characters, the phenomenon of power will be interpreted by using definitions and discussions by sociologists and psychologists where relevant. It is concluded that the text of 2 Maccabees 9 aims at moving the reader from an attitude of doubt and distrust in God, because of the bad things that happened, to an attitude of trust and obedience in God, who is just and powerful. God is presented as the supernatural power, with the implicit warning that no human being can ever affect this power. It is a message of hope for the victims of power abuse. It is a piece of advice and a warning to be spiritually intelligent and to hold on to the almighty power of God, with the promise that God will always be there, listen to the prayers of believers and act in love towards them. It is also a warning to never oppose God. The reader is persuaded in 2 Maccabees, especially in Chapter 9, of the advantages of a spiritual intelligence. It clearly demonstrates that no abuse of power by humankind, can ever limit the power of God. <![CDATA[<b>Scaffolding leadership dispositions for being radically truthful in the <i>civitas dei </i>and the <i>civitas mundi: </i>An imaginative educative ethical-justice praxis</b>]]> Societies across the globe need a new kind of leadership education characterised with a disposition for radical truth-telling. This ideal should go beyond generalised and familiarised ethical leadership formation. Contemporary leaders should become truth tellers and truth seekers for justice. Attaining such a disposition calls us towards an imaginative ethical-educative praxis for justice. Scaffolding leadership-ethical-presences towards being human may proof indispensable. The rediscovery of a vocation for an ethically re-envisioned educational revolution is called for. <![CDATA[<b>Preaching the Trinity today</b>]]> While the twentieth century has witnessed renewed interest in the doctrine of the Trinity, in their daily lives Christians are mostly unaffected by it. The reason for this lack of knowledge and the negligence of this vital Christian doctrine could be blamed partly on a lack of preaching the doctrine of the Trinity. Considering the fact that the doctrine of the Trinity is the distinguishing doctrine of the Christian faith, such neglect in the homiletical ministry of the church is truly lamentable. This article is aimed at discussing some of the possible reasons for this regrettable situation and offering some guidelines for preaching the Trinity. Considering the practical implications of this foundational Christian doctrine for the ecclesial community, as well as for society at large, the church can no longer afford the neglect of the preaching of the Trinity. While I am writing from within the South African context, the issues raised here are relevant to the church internationally. <![CDATA[<b>Intolerance before and after the 1517 Reformation and the Kenyan context: A theo-historical review</b>]]> The article sets out to demonstrate that theo-social intolerance in both colonial and post-colonial Kenya, a phenomenon which reminisces other forms of intolerance during and after the 1517 reformation and the persecutions in the early Church, can be overcome. In Kenya, theo-social intolerance was evident when both the missionaries and the colonial authorities blocked any room for dialogue with the practitioners of African religion. It reached its climax when African Instituted Churches and their founded schools were closed down in 1952 by the colonial authorities. Intolerance also manifests itself through the tensions that are evident among Christians and Muslims, afro-Pentecostals versus mainline Churches and so on. As we mark over 500 years of reformation (1517-2019), are there lessons that can inform our theo-social discourses in the 21st century, especially in regard to theo-social tolerance? How can this Ubulwane/Unyama (beastly) behaviour be avoided in our future socio-ecclesial discourses? Despite borrowing broadly in order to build the case for religious tolerance, the article has cited the case of St Andrew's Kabare, an Anglican Mission centre that was established in 1910, where Rev. Edmund Crawford demonstrated that dialogue between African culture and the Gospel has a positive impact on the society being evangelized. <![CDATA[<b>The anhypostasis <i>and </i>enhypostasis: Barth's Christological method in view of Chalcedon - its nuance and complexity</b>]]> Karl Barth departs from historical Protestant orthodoxy in his unique adoption of the dual formula anhypostasis and enhypostasis to explain the union of divine and human natures in the person of Jesus Christ. For Barth, these concepts help explain why the person of Jesus Christ must not be viewed statically in his being as the God-man, but dynamically in the event of God's movement of grace towards humanity. As such, Barth applies these concepts in his analysis of the Chalcedon definition of the Jesus Christ who exists as one person with two natures. In so doing, Barth further develops Chalcedon's definition of the two natures of Christ based upon the hypostatica unio. Not only must Chalcedon be interpreted through the revelation of God in Jesus Christ as event, but also event in the union of this human essence as the Son of Man as it participates in the divine essence.1 For Barth, the emphasis is not the combining of divine and human essence into one being, but that the eternal Christ has taken to himself human essence as the one Reconciler. <![CDATA[<b>John de Gruchy: A Reformed mystic?</b>]]> In this essay the life and some of the writings of John de Gruchy are revisited in light of a retrieval of an understanding of mysticism rooted in the Early Church. In revisiting the concept of mysticism through the work of different scholars the question is posed whether the work of John de Gruchy reflects this understanding of mysticism and if he can be seen as a Reformed Mystic. <![CDATA[<b>A missional appropriation of human trafficking for the sex-work industry</b>]]> This article explores the possibility of the involvement of the ecumenical church in addressing the complex issue of sex trafficking. It is done through a glocal theological theory built on missional theology and social ethics as human trafficking is reinterpreted to be a theological issue which could lead to a life-giving mission. Research takes place within the transformative paradigm using a mixed-methods approach, and the theory and praxis are examined with the fullness of life, human dignity, hope, justice and healing in mind. As a destination for sex trafficking, empirical research was done in Rustenburg, South Africa, among victims and survivors, missional workers and church leaders, and experts in the field. This assisted the investigation into the viability and content of this theory. It is then argued that a missional appropriation based on hope, liberation and justice adds a new dimension to being church and leads to a transformative mission to victims. <![CDATA[<b>The rediscovery of spiritual practices within Protestantism</b>]]> In a first part this article investigates the older negative view of spiritual practices especially in Protestant contexts. It then spells out the reasons for the growing interest in and reappraisal of spiritual practices in recent times. This development reflects and confirms a special awareness of their powerful role in spiritual life and illuminates their nature and meaning. It further analyses how the growing interest in spiritual practices is a result of recognising their role in the spiritual heritage that empowered faith communities from earliest times and that are not restricted by and to confessional boundaries. The article, on the other hand, concludes with a discussion of the dynamic way in which spiritual practices are embedded in particular contexts within faith communities and, therefore, are also expressed in and through particular confessional characteristics. <![CDATA[<b>Pastoral response to unemployment: Hermeneutics of hope and work</b>]]> Pastoral work is about assisting people to live their lives to the full. A great deal of scholarship has accumulated around the employment challenges precipitated by a variety of socio-political and economic factors. The all-encompassing challenge with which we are presented is to create and sustain a community of care, promoting hope, personal agency and self-determination to earn a living, in a life-giving environment This paper rests on the concept of "Hope in Action" as the mission of the church and examines the hermeneutics of hope and work, as mandatory for a meaningful life. The paper suggests a structure for an intervention that could be useful for those who work with young people to awaken hope, as a unique foundation, and make plans to find work so that they can earn a sustainable livelihood and live life to the full. <![CDATA[<b>A study of speaking in tongues in Acts and 1 Corinthians and its use and abuse in some selected contemporary churches in Nigeria</b>]]> There are much confusion and controversy in our churches today about the phenomenon known as speaking in tongues. Some claim that the gift of speaking in tongues continues in our time as the Holy Spirit miraculously moves persons to speak in a language they had never learned. Other believers are convinced that the Scriptures leave no room for the continuation of that special gift beyond the founding era of the Apostolic church. To worsen it all pagans abound in such ecstatic utterances and are convinced they are from God. The objective of this paper is to investigate both the use and abuse of speaking in tongues. Historical and exegetical methods were used. Data were gathered through primary and secondary sources. The paper found out that speaking in tongues was miraculously used by God at Pentecost and in the earliest churches in the apostolic era. But there were distinguishing features that marked it out from the psychological phenomenon found among pagans. In our contemporary church in Nigeria, the only way to test the source is by comparison with what God explains in his word about the purpose and occasion for the legitimate manifestation. <![CDATA[<b>The nature of human nature: Christ's resurrected body as the theological response to the mind/brain problem</b>]]> This article will argue from a Scriptural viewpoint that human nature is not reducible to a set of individual physical characteristics but is embodied and all the qualities of being human are mutually dependent. The substance for this statement is rooted in the biblical confession about the characteristics of the resurrected Body of Christ. This premise could assist the sciences in their quest to define human nature, specifically relating to the mind/brain problem. In addition, it could contribute to the need for consilience and lead scientific research into a more comprehensive understanding of the human mind and brain and its embedded nature. <![CDATA[<b>The importance of early Christian thought for theology today. The church in the world</b>]]> Early Christianity is not only a source of historical interest, it also challenges the systematic theology and Christian ethics of today. Early Christians saw themselves as a community of life with the Eucharist at its centre. Because they participated in eternal life, they were willing to sacrifice their earthly lives in times of persecution and in the care for those who were in mortal danger. As a community of life, they rejected killing any human being, and thus also rejected abortion and military service. They were not an alternative community marked by their diet, dress or emancipation. In such issues they adapted to their environment. They made a difference by their love for those who were in need and by their faithfulness to Christ - though their message was sometimes better than their praxis.