Suffering, submission, silence? rereading 1 Peter through a lens of trauma

De Kock-Malan, Annemarie Susan (2019-12)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2019.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: For many years, First Peter has had the reputation of being an “exegetical stepchild” in New Testament studies. It is typically associated with the terms “suffering”, “submission” and “silence”, as suggested in the main title of the dissertation. The argument of the study is that there is another prevalent dimension regarding 1 Peter, namely the presence of trauma. This dissertation examines the deeper embeddedness of these three associations with the letter by means of multidimensional exegesis as methodology and trauma theory, as developed by Shelly Rambo, as theoretical (hermeneutical) framework. Rambo’s point of departure is that trauma distorts memory and concept of time, it causes a loss for words and communication about trauma and that trauma distorts the relationship of an individual to their physical body, as well as social networks. The methodology and theoretical framework serve as conversation partners in the dissertation in an attempt to answer the main research question: How can 1 Peter be read from a 21st century perspective, to respect its nature and purpose as an ancient canonised text? The methodology and theoretical framework are appropriated in the first place to examine whether 1 Peter can be read as a text that reflects a situation of trauma. This is done by means of studying literary, socio-historical and rhetorical aspects of the text to see if and how trauma shattered the lives of 1st century CE Jesus followers. The core of this leans towards the rhetorical situation that the author sees or anticipates – an exigence that probably motivated him to write this letter. Secondly, with the help of multidimensional exegesis and trauma theory, this study examines alternative perspectives or coping strategies that the author probably suggests to the audience for them to cope with their trauma and to live life beyond it. Here, the suffering and death of Jesus Christ, God’s story with Israel as found in the Hebrew Scriptures and the emphasis on identity and ethos (especially in terms of temple metaphors, family and household language), stand central. This leads to possible coping strategies for present-day South African believers to cope with their trauma (with the focus on community), namely the sacraments of baptism and the Eucharist. This study does not suggest that 1 Peter gives easy answers to the realities of trauma. Journeying with trauma is complex in nature and the possibility to be traumatised over and over again is a reality. However, the study wishes to communicate that there is more to 1 Peter than has typically been assigned to the letter and that the author seems to focus on encouraging the audience (1st century CE and present-day) to perceive their trauma differently, and even offers the possibility of life after trauma.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: 1 Petrus het lank reeds die reputasie as ‘n “eksegetiese stiefkind” in Nuwe Testamentiese Bybelwetenskap. Dit is ook ‘n brief wat tipies met die terme “lyding”, “onderdanigheid” en “stilte” verbind word, soos die hooftitel van hierdie proefskrif veronderstel. Die argument van die studie is dat daar ‘n ander dimensie, naamlik die teenwoordigheid van trauma, in hierdie brief teenwoordig is. Die proefskrif ondersoek die dieperliggende gesetelheid van hierdie drie terme deur multidimensionele eksegese as metodologie in te span terwyl trauma teorie, soos deur Shelly Rambo ontwikkel, as teoretiese (hermeneutiese) raamwerk vir die studie dien. Rambo se uitgangspunt is dat trauma mense se geheue en konsep van tyd versteur, dat trauma veroorsaak dat kommunikasie oor die trauma ontbreek, en dat dit sosiale verhoudinge met ander en met die individu self beïnvloed. Dié metodologie en teoretiese raamwerk dien as gespreksgenote in ‘n poging om die hoof-navorsingsvraag van die studie te beantwoord, naamlik: Op watter maniere kan 1 Petrus vanuit ‘n 21ste eeuse perspektief gelees word, om sodoende die aard en doel van hierdie antieke gekanoniseerde teks te respekteer? Die metodologie en teoretiese raamwerk word eerstens ingespan om te ondersoek of 1 Petrus as ‘n teks gelees kan word wat ‘n situasie van trauma reflekteer. Dit word gedoen deur middel van ‘n ondersoek na literêre, sosio-historiese en retoriese aspekte van die teks om te sien op watter maniere trauma die lewens van eerste eeuse Jesus-volgelinge in skerwe laat spat. Die swaartepunt hiervan leun na die retoriese situasie wat die skrywer gesien of verwag het – die noodsaaklikheid wat hom waarskynlik aangespoor het om die brief te skryf. Tweedens, met behulp van multidimensionele eksegese en trauma teorie, ondersoek die studie alternatiewe perspektiewe of oorlewingstrategieë wat die skrywer waarskynlik aan sy gehoor gee sodat hulle hulle trauma kan oorleef en die lewe ná trauma kan beleef. Hier staan die lyding en sterwe van Jesus Christus, die verhaal van God met Israel soos deur die Hebreeuse geskrifte weergegee en die klem op identiteit en etos (veral in terme van tempelmetafore, familie- en huishoudingtaal), sentraal. Dit gee aanleiding tot moontlike oorlewingstrategieë wat hedendaagse Suid-Afrikaanse gelowiges kan gebruik om hulle trauma (in gemeenskap) te oorleef, naamlik die sakramente van die doop en die nagmaal. Hierdie studie veronderstel nie dat 1 Petrus maklike antwoorde op die werklikheid van trauma gee nie. Die pad met trauma is kompleks van aard en die moontlikheid om weer en weer getraumatiseer te word, is teenwoordig. Tog wil die studie kommunikeer dat daar meer aan die eerste Petrus-brief is as waarmee dit tipies verbind word en dat die skrywer waarskynlik daarop fokus om die gehoor (eerste eeus en vandag) aan te moedig om anders na hulle trauma te kyk en die moontlikheid van lewe ná trauma beklemtoon.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/107087
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