Browsing by Author "Punt, Jeremy"
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- Item1 Corinthians 7:17–24 : identity and human dignity amidst power and liminality(AOSIS OpenJournal, 2012-04) Punt, JeremyPaul’s concern with identity, and in particular the identity of the believer in relation to Jesus Christ, is an important concern in his writings. In the midst of an important section dedicated to advice and instruction on marriage in his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul encouraged his audience in 1 Corinthians 7:17–24 to remain in the calling by, or position in, which they were called. Concerning these circumstances he refers to circumcision (1 Cor 7:18–19) and slavery (1 Cor 7:21–23) by name. These Pauline instructions are investigated against the backdrop of both the 1st century CE context and post-apartheid South Africa, where issues of identity and marginality rub shoulders with claims to ownership and entitlement, on the one hand, and issues of human dignity, on the other
- ItemThe accusation of world disturbers’ (Acts 17:6) in socio-political context(AOSIS Publishing, 2016) Punt, JeremyActs 17:1–9 presents a narrative of the consequences of Paul’s engagements in Thessalonica’s synagogue. Following Paul and Silas’ reported successful 3-week mission, some Jews hauled Paul and Silas’ host, Jason, and a number of Jesus followers before the authorities. The threefold accusation was that Paul and Silas turned the world upside down, acted against Caesar’s decrees and claimed another king, Jesus. This incident is investigated from the perspective of Acts’ presentation of competing missions, in the context of the intersectionality of religion and politics in the 1st century CE. The article challenges a narrow theological interpretation of Acts 17, insisting on the need for and value of a socio-political interpretive lens to make sense of the rhetoric of this chapter.
- ItemAn Apocalyptic Womb? The Great Harlot of Revelation 17-18(2020-12) Punt, Jeremy; Punt JeremyThe depiction of the literary figure of the Great Harlotin Revelation17and 18is a poignant expression of the wider New Testamentapocalyptic concern withGod’s power over humanity and creation. The depiction portrays what is deemedrequisite social control through and over women’s bodies,andin a particularly poignant way,inthat of the Great Harlot.This essayexplores how a neglected element, namely the Harlot’s womb is tenuously present and,alongsidedivine power,is eschatologically positioned and apocalyptically framed in Revelation17-18, while exploring its intersections with the violence generated within a gendered context andthrough the posturing of authorita-rian political and social regimes.
- ItemAn Apocalyptic Womb? The Great Harlot of Revelation 17-18(2020-12) Punt, JeremyThe depiction of the literary figure of the Great Harlotin Revelation17and 18is a poignant expression of the wider New Testamentapocalyptic concern withGod’s power over humanity and creation. The depiction portrays what is deemedrequisite social control through and over women’s bodies,andin a particularly poignant way,inthat of the Great Harlot.This essayexplores how a neglected element, namely the Harlot’s womb is tenuously present and,alongsidedivine power,is eschatologically positioned and apocalyptically framed in Revelation17-18, while exploring its intersections with the violence generated within a gendered context andthrough the posturing of authorita-rian political and social regimes
- ItemApostolic folly : Pauline foolishness discourse in socio-historical context(Pieter de Waal Neethling Trust, 2019) Punt, JeremyFoolishness discourse is prominent in the Pauline letters, not only because of its statistical prevalence but also because of its centrality to the argumentation in the letters. Paul’s arguments on wisdom and foolishness are mostly done in close proximity to the associated notions of strength and weakness, and together reverberate within the context of the all-pervasive, all-powerful Roman Empire, as both the reflection and distillate of it, as well as the fabricator and promotor of similar notions and values. The focus of this contribution is to understand the importance of Paul’s self-portrayal as fool for the discourse he constructs in 1 Corinthians 1–4, and in particular, for his apostolic self-understanding and the portrayal and presentation of his message within this foolishness discourse.
- ItemThe aqedah in the New Testament : sacrifice, violence and human dignity(Stellenbosch University, Faculty of Theology, 2009) Punt, JeremyThis paper examines the relationship between violence and human dignity in a religious context where sacrifice, even if only at discursive level, is common. The New Testament has two direct references to Gen 22, known as the Aqedah (binding of Isaac), in Heb 11:17-19 and Jas 2:23, but possibly also various other allusions to the Aqedah. In both direct references, and in line with the biblical and most of the Christian (and also Jewish and Islam) tradition, the Aqedah is taken as positive indication of Abraham’s faith. A brief investigation of the reception of the Aqedah in the New Testament, leads to the consideration of its wider reach, particularly to what extent sacrifice generally informs the relationship between violence and human dignity in the New Testament. In doing so, the explicit and implicit consequences of this narrative and sacrificial practices are shown to be multi-fold, wide-ranging and ambiguous.
- ItemBelievers or loyalists? : identity and social responsibility of Jesus communities in the Empire(AOSIS Publishing, 2017) Punt, JeremyThe narrowed down translation of πίστις to [belief] skews the interpretation of the Pauline letters, where this word-group primarily denotes loyalty and fidelity, including notions of trust, confidence and conviction. These notions, if in different ways, framed the Jesus communities’ relationship to God as well as to the imperial context in significant ways. In the end, rather than faithful discipleship and responsible citizenship, the Pauline letters promoted faithful citizenship.
- ItemThe Bible and the dignity of human sexuality : compromised sexual selves and violated orientations(Stellenbosch University, Faculty of Theology, 2007) Punt, JeremyThe new South Africa is still haunted by its past, which was informed not only by racism, exploitation and political disenfranchisement, but also by legally regulated heteronormativity which led to - amongst others - the exclusion and demonisation of the homosexual other. Human dignity, it is argued, cannot be restored in piecemeal way but only when - amidst gender concerns - human sexuality is addressed. This paper revolves around two important considerations, namely the importance of biblical hermeneutics amidst interpretative ambiguity and, in particular, the need for an alternative vocabulary with which to address human sexuality in SA today, for which Queer theory proves helpful.
- ItemThe bible in the gay-debate in South Africa : towards an ethics of interpretation(Stellenbosch University, Faculty of Theology, 2006) Punt, JeremyThe Bible has been accorded an important role in the recent (and current) debate about homosexuality and gay people in South African churches, such as the Dutch Reformed, Anglican, Presbyterian and Methodist churches. The context is often one of high-charged emotions, and an existential experience of the hermeneutical results and biblical texts which are interpreted in different ways - although in every instance with considerable socio-political impact. In general, with the high stakes and ambiguity which are involved, reflection on the ethics of biblical interpretation is important. The ethics of interpretation concerns various facets and areas of biblical hermeneutical theory and practices, including contemplation of the status and use of the Bible in faith communities and broader society in South Africa.
- ItemA biblical death-wish : Paul celebrating dying in Phil 1:21(AOSIS OpenJournals, 2009-01) Punt, JeremyDeath features as an important concept in the Pauline writings in the New Testament for a number of reasons. However, the intriguing way in which the apostle at times addressed death as positive notion in itself, was traditionally related to Paul’s theological convictions and his understanding of the death of Christ in particular. The remarkably pointed way in which Paul positively celebrated death in Philippians 1:21 borders on invoking a martyrological paradigm, and raises questions about his convictions regarding life, and bodily existence in particular. Interesting analogies emerge when Paul’s celebration of death is compared in a concluding section with contemporary, popular instances where death is – even if for different reasons – presented as “gain”.
- Item(Con)figuring gender in Bible translation : cultural, translational and gender critical intersections(AOSIS OpenJournals, 2014-06) Punt, JeremyThe gendered intersection of cultural studies and Bible translation is under acknowledged. Accounting for gender criticism in translation work requires, besides responsible theory and practice of translation, also attention to interwoven gender critical aspects. After a brief investigation of the intersections between biblical, translation and gender studies, translation in a few Pauline texts with bearing on gender and sexuality are investigated.
- ItemCountervailing missionary forces : empire and church in Acts(Stellenbosch University, Faculty of Theology, 2010) Punt, JeremyScholarly consensus has long held that Acts was intended as some sort of Christian apology to the ruling authorities, serving to allay the fears of the imperial forces and their collaborators that the followers of Jesus posed no political threat. This scholarly edifice has been eroded somewhat, among others by the position that the source and direction of the apology were the reverse of the consensus position – a promotion of the imperial regime among followers of Jesus. Given these and other understandings of the imperial setting portrayed in Acts, the relationship between Acts and Empire clearly remains an unfinished and important discussion. Such interpretative positions regarding the relationship between Acts and Empire are briefly reviewed amidst first-century conceptions and positions of power, before highlighting a number of instances in Acts where this relationship comes to a head, suggesting also four possible avenues for further investigation.
- ItemCross-pursposes in Paul? : violence of the cross, Galatians and human dignity(Stellenbosch University, Faculty of Theology, 2009) Punt, JeremyThe cross of Jesus is an important theme in Paul’s letters, identified by him as the focus and content of his message: Christ crucified (e.g. 1 Cor 1:23; 2:5). In Paul’s understanding the death of Jesus was the result of victimisation and violence (e.g. Gal 3:13), complete with its accompanying terror and ultimate destruction of human life and dignity. Moreover, and beyond his candid treatment of the cross, it became in Paul’s writings on the one hand the unmasking of imperial (and other) powers and terror, and on the other hand the subversion (disruption) of prevailing perceptions and structures – particularly in the simultaneous association of Jesus with cross and slavery. The emphasis on the cross with slavery as the backdrop is as suggestive of the implicit socio-political context of Pauline letters like Galatians, as the continued use of the symbols of cross and slavery in modern times require further consideration for their impact on the perception and construction of human dignity.
- ItemA cultural turn in New Testament studies?(AOSIS Publishing, 2016) Punt, JeremyThis article considers intersections between cultural studies and New Testament studies. It ponders and focuses on possible approaches to the bearing of the ‘cultural turn’ on biblical studies. Following a brief consideration of cultural studies and its potential value for New Testament studies, four promising developments in cultural studies approaches to the New Testament are noted.
- ItemEmpire and new testament texts : theorising the imperial, in subversion and attraction(AOSIS OpenJournals, 2012-05) Punt, Jeremy; Crasis Ancient World SeminarConsidering the overt or sublime connections biblical scholars increasingly indicate between biblical texts and empires, this contribution engages the need for the theorisation of empire beyond material depiction. It is suggested that empire is primarily of conceptual nature and a negotiated notion, a constantly constructed entity by both the powerful and the subjugated, to which the concomitant responses of subversion and attraction to empire attest. The discussion is primarily related to the first-century CE context, arguing also that postcolonial analysis provides a useful approach to deal with (at least, some of) the complexities of such research.
- ItemEmpire as material setting and heuristic grid for New Testament interpretation : comments on the value of postcolonial criticism(AOSIS Publishing, 2010-06) Punt, JeremyUsing postcolonial analysis to account for the Roman Empire’s pervasive presence in and influence on early Jesus-follower communities (early Christians), as depicted in New Testament texts, is both evident (given its usefulness for analysing situations of unequal power relationships) and complicated. The complications are due partly to the material and conceptual potential and constraints inherent in postcolonial biblical studies, as well as to the complexities involved in dealing with empire and imperialism. The study of the Roman Empire, as far as its impact on early Christianity and (in this article) on the letters of Paul is concerned, requires attention to Empire’s material manifestation, ideological support for Empire, and religious aspects – issues that are identified and briefly discussed. Empire can be understood in many different ways, but it was also constantly constructed and negotiated by both the powerful and the subjugated and therefore attention is required for its possible reach, uses and the purposeful application of discursive power in New Testament texts that were contemporary with Empire.
- ItemFraming human dignity through domination and submission? : negotiating borders and loyalties (of power) in the New Testament(OASIS Publishing, 2013) Punt, JeremyNetworks of power characterised by domination and submission in a hierarchically and imperially inscribed context constituted the original context of the New Testament documents. This article in the first instance explores the extent to which domination and submission generated or contributed to specific loyalties as well as borders in NT texts. Secondly, the impact and lasting influence of fixed patterns of domination and submission on rhetorical, ideological and theological levels are considered – in connection with the extent to which NT documents interacted with and counteracted against such loyalties and possible border-crossings are eva-luated. Finally, strategies are suggested for using texts born from domination and submission, as normative scriptures in discussions of human dignity.
- ItemGender studies and biblical interpretation : (how) does theory matter?(Desmond Tutu Centre for Religion and Social Justice, University of the Western Cape, 2018-12) Punt, JeremyInvestigations of gender in biblical texts have increased over the last decade or two, also on the African continent. However, the deployment of theoretical and methodological approaches among biblical scholars often still betray conventional alignments, invoking identity-political stances and popularised notions of gender. Biblical studies can benefit much from cross-disciplinary theoretical work on gender, especially from the ancient Hellenistic and Roman contexts, as well as gender critical appropriation informed by modern sociological and anthropological work. Accountable gender theory and related responsible methodologies engender responsible engagements with the complexities involved in gendercritical biblical studies. The argument that gender theory matter in biblical interpretation is briefly demonstrated with reference to 1 Timothy 2:8-15.
- ItemHermeneutics in identity formation : Paul's use of Genesis in Galatians 4(AOSIS OpenJournals, 2011-04) Punt, JeremyPaul’s hermeneutics, in dealing with the scriptures and traditions of Israel and his concern for a specific identity for the communities he interacted with, require attention for the reciprocal, interrelationship between hermeneutics and identity in his letters. Paul’s quotations from and allusions to the scriptures of Israel but also his argument which was a re-interpretation of the traditions of Israel, functions in Galatians 4:21–5:1 at one level as counter-argument to the position of his opponents in Galatia but, at another deeper level, also as a forceful attempt to (re)establish and reinforce the identity of the community of followers of Jesus. His appropriation of the scriptures, his revisionist interpretation of the Abraham narrative and in particular his construal of its lasting implications provided the interpretative map on which Paul plotted an emerging ‘Christian’ identity. But, reciprocally, Paul’s sense of a new or renewed identity in Christ also determined the contours of his hermeneutics.
- ItemIdentity claims, texts, Rome and Galatians(University of the Free State, 2014) Punt, JeremyThis contribution explores the interplay between Paul's use of the Scriptures of Israel and the imperial setting in claims about Abraham and the negotiation of identity in the Galatians letter. The letter, from Paul's perspective, is testimony to fierce contestation of identity and finds him engaged in describing, defining and scripting insiders and outsiders in and around the community. In his efforts to argue for a certain identity, Paul not only enlisted the Scriptures of Israel but also availed himself of frameworks reminiscent of contemporary socio-political notions, and of imperial posturing in particular.