Playing the system, not the man: a rhetorical investigation of masculinities in its social context in 1 Peter

Visser, Jacobie M. Helena (2015-03)

Thesis (MTh)--Stellenbosch University, 2015.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Men and masculinities have become so apparent and normative within the course of history and the social structuring of society, that they almost have become the invisible gender. Ubiquitous in positions of power everywhere, the paradox regarding men is becoming more evident by the day. This investigation aims to explore the notion of masculinity, as expressed in the text 1 Peter by means of its well-proportioned rhetorical structure and argument. The argument of the thesis will focus on 1 Peter 2: 11-4: 11 since this larger portion of the letter forms a textual unit. The investigation, Playing the system, not the man, consists of six chapters. Chapter 1 provides a brief synopsis of the basic aim, research problems and questions as well as hypothesis of this thesis, in conjunction with the clarification of methodology and basic core concepts used in the investigation. In Chapter 2 the text of 1 Peter 2:11-4:11 is exegetically analysed by means of a close reading of the text with a focus on core concepts which functions within the text but which are also deemed crucial for the ensuing discussion of masculinity in 1 Peter within the context of the 1st century social world. Chapter 3 continues the discussion by elucidating the 1st century social context, that constitutes the life setting of 1 Peter, in terms of the central ideological concepts of the Roman Empire, and the honour and shame culture, and in particular how these played out in terms of social structures such as the family or household. In Chapter 4 the emphasis shifts back to the text of 1 Peter, keeping with the aim of the investigation to both retain the focus on this letter but also to evaluate the text rhetorically, that is, to consider how the text construes and constructs masculinity. The discussion in the chapter focusses on the text’s construal of the community that is addressed as the οἶκος of God, and with attention to family language and brotherhood. Chapter 5 addresses masculinity according to a prominent theorist’s taxonomy of social masculine patterns. This interpretive model is then applied to 1 Peter, and used as lens with which to delineate varying constitutive forms of masculinity in the text. The concluding Chapter 6 ties the above discussion together and briefly elaborates on the possible value and impact of masculine patterns suggested in the text, and their possible influence and impact on Christianity today. Using an adequate and accountable hermeneutic, the text of 1 Peter can be enlisted in efforts to allow all men, the “man on the street” in all his various guises, to play within the system. Rather than blaming the system on the man, men are challenged to live in freedom not apart from the system as it is impossible, but free nevertheless and notwithstanding the system. In other words, the interpretation of 1 Peter in this thesis invite all men to assume the identity of “foreigners and exiles” regarding the system of male patriarchy!

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Mans en manlikheid het binne die verloop van die geskiedenis en die sosiale strukture van die samelewing so normatief en onsigbaar geword, dat hulle byna die onsigbare gender word. Alomteenwoordig in posisies van mag orals, is die paradoks rakende mans deurgaans vandag nog meer duidelik te word. Hierdie ondersoek het ten doel om die idee van manlikheid te verken, soos uitgedruk in die 1 Petrus-teks met die netjiese retoriese struktuur en argument. Die argument van die tesis sal fokus op 1 Petrus 2: 11-4: 11 want die groter gedeelte van die brief vorm 'n tekseenheid. Die ondersoek Playing the System not the man bestaan uit ses hoofstukke. Die 1ste hoofstuk voorsien ’n kort opsomming wat die basiese doelstelling, navorsingsprobleme en vrae sowel as die hipotese van die tesis. Dít word dan in verband met die metodologie en basiese kern konsepte wat in die ondersoek gebruik word, opgevolg. In hoofstuk 2 word die Griekse teks van 1 Petrus 2:11-4:11 eksegeties geanaliseer deur ’n retoriese noukeurige-leesmetode op die teks toe te pas. Dié retoriese noukeurige-lees metode word gevolglik gebruik om die kern konsepte rakende manlikheid binne die 1ste-eeuse sosiale konteks na vore te bring. Die kern konsepte word in hoofstuk 3 verder binne die algemene sosio-historiese konteks van die 1ste-eeuse Mediterreense wêreld, bespreek. Aangesien die Mediterreense wêreld kompleks is, word die bespreking van die temas aangaande manlikheid binne die twee sentrale ideologiese sfere naamlik die Romeinse Ryk en die eer- en skande kultuur, beperk. Die fokus van hoofstuk 3 is om die sentrale manlikheidstemas byvoorbeeld die familie en huishouding in gesprek met die sosiale strukture van die 1ste-eeuse konteks, te bring. In Hoofstuk 4 word die klem weer op 1 Petrus geplaas deur te bespreek hoe die teks retories manlikheid vorm en saamstel. Die ondersoek fokus hoofsaaklik op hoe die teks die gemeenskap as οἶκος van God, aanspreek en hoe die retoriese konstruksie van manlikheid deur familie-en broederskapstaal daargestel word. In hoofstuk 5 word manlikheid vanuit ’n prominente teoretikus se klassifikasie van sosiale manlikheidspatrone aangespreek. Die interpretasiemodel word as lens op 1 Petrus toegepas deur aan te dui hoe die teks afwyk en bydra tot die ideale hegemoniese manlikhede van die 1ste eeu. In hoofstuk 6 word die bogenoemde gesprek opgesom en word daar kortliks op die moontlike waarde en effek van die manlikheidspatrone, soos dit vanuit die teks in hoofstuk 4-5 geïdentifiseer is, uitgebrei. Daar word gevolglik ook na die moontlike invloed en effek van dié manlikheidspatrone op hedendaagse Christenskap verwys. Die ondersoek maak van ’n toepaslike en verantwoordbare hermeneutiek gebruik. Die 1 Petrus-teks kan gevolglik van hulp wees om aan alle mans, die spreekwoordelike “man-op-die-straat” in al die verskillende vorms waarin hy voorkom, die geleentheid te bied om binne die sisteem te speel. Eerder as om die sisteem te blameer, word mans eerder uitgedaag om in die vryheid te leef, alhoewel nie apart van die sisteem is nie, maar eerder om vry te leef ten spyte van die sisteem. Met ander woorde, die interpretasie van 1 Petrus in hierdie tesis wil aan mans die ruimte te gee om hulself te identifiseer as “vreemdelinge en bywoners”, met betrekking tot manlike patriargie.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/96822
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