The Reinterpretation of the law in Matthew’s sermon on the Mount : exploring its contextual interpretation among the Ewes of Ghana

Amevenku, Frederick Mawusi (2019-04)

Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Theology. Dept. of Old and New Testament.

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2019.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Many scholars believe that the Sermon on the Mount (SOM) in Matthew’s gospel deals with the reinterpretation of the Mosaic Law and its applicability to disciples of Jesus. Most Patristic scholars focused on how the ethics of the SOM might apply to believers. The dominant medieval view was that the SOM was a higher ethic reserved for the clergy. Reformation and modern era scholarship on the SOM was/is intense. Luther thought it was an impossible demand just like the Law; Anabaptists applied it literally; Liberalists derived their Social Gospel from it and existentialists claimed the SOM was a challenge to decision. Weiss and Schweitzer said it was an interim ethic of Jesus’ mistaken notion of imminent eschatology; Dispensationalists viewed it as ethics of the millennial kingdom. Other scholars think it is ideal ethics to aspire to. Most of these scholars studied the text using the historical critical method (HCM). Is the SOM simply “difficult ethics”? From the 1970s, many scholars applied narrative criticism (NC) to study the SOM. Others used social-scientific methods (SSMs). An attempt to merge the benefits of NC and SSM, led to Vernon K. Robbins’ socio-rhetorical interpretation (SRI). Using Robbins’ SRI, this dissertation explored the contextual application of the SOM among the Ghana-Ewe, and concluded that the SOM can be viewed as Jesus’ new Kingdom Gospel, which is his reinterpretation of the Mosaic Law. Viewed this way, the SOM teaches not just ethics, but above all, kingdom-appropriate righteousness for theological and ethical renewal. This righteousness is natured through daily beneficial exchanges with God, leading to habitual forgiveness and subsequent divine perfection of love for God, and one’s enemies. Kingdom-appropriate righteousness offers an antidote to the monster which this dissertation calls “compulsory-wealth Christianity” being promoted in Ghanaian Christianity today.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Baie geleerdes glo dat die bergpredikasie (SOM) in die Matteus evangelie handel oor die herinterpretasie van die Mosaïese wet en die toepaslikheid daarvan op Jesus se dissipels. Die meeste patristiese geleerdes het gefokus op hoe die etiek van die SOM op gelowiges van toepassing kan wees. Die oorheersende siening in die Middeleeue was dat die SOM 'n hoër etiek vir die geestelikes was. Hervorming- en moderne era-studie op die SOM was intens. Luther het gedink dit was 'n onmoontlike uitdaging, net soos die Wet; Anabaptiste het dit letterlik toegepas; Liberaliste het hul sosiale evangelie daaruit afgelei en eksistensialiste beweer die SOM was 'n uitdaging om besluite te neem. Weiss en Schweitzer het gesê dit was 'n tussentydse etiek van Jesus se verkeerde idee van naderende eskatologie; Dispensasionaliste beskou dit as etiek van die duisendjarige koninkryk. Ander geleerdes dink dit is geïdealiseerde etiek om te streef. Die meeste van hierdie geleerdes het die teks bestudeer aan die hand van die historiese kritiese metode (HKM). Is die SOM eenvoudig "moeilike etiek"? Vanaf die 1970's het baie geleerdes narratiewe kritiek (NK) begin toepas om die SOM te studeer. Ander weer het sosiaal-wetenskaplike metodes (SSMs) gebruik. 'n Poging om die voordele van NK en SSM saam te voeg, het gelei tot Vernon K. Robbins se sosio-retoriese interpretasie (SRI). Met behulp van Robbins se SRI het hierdie proefskrif die kontekstuele toepassing van die SOM onder die Ghana-Ewe ondersoek, en tot die gevolgtrekking gekom dat die SOM as Jesus se nuwe Koninkryk evangelie beskou kan word, wat sy herinterpretasie van die Mosaïese wet is. Op hierdie manier leer die SOM nie net etiek nie, maar bowenal, koninkryk-gepaste geregtigheid vir teologiese en etiese vernuwing. Hierdie geregtigheid word deur die daaglikse voordelige uitwisseling met God bepaal, wat lei tot gewone vergifnis en die daaropvolgende goddelike volmaaktheid van liefde vir God en die vyande. Koninkryk-gepaste geregtigheid is die beste oplossing vir die monster wat hierdie verhandeling noem "verpligte rykdom-Christendom" wat vandag in die Ghanese Christendom bevorder word.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/105951
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