Research Articles (Old and New Testament)

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    The (ir)relevance of biblical scholarship? : a challenge, and an opportunity
    (Department of Old and New Testament, Stellenbosch University, 2021-10-28) Giffone, Benjamin D.
    Has biblical scholarship become irrelevant to modern secular societies? Are the threats to the viability of biblical scholarship of the same nature as the threats to other areas of the humanities (history, philosophy, literature), or is there a qualitative difference? What about the role of technology in biblical research and biblical education? What is the future of the institutions of biblical scholarship such as universities, seminaries, journals, and academic presses? What is the role of biblical scholars in secular and post-secular societies, as contrasted with scholars in/from emerging communities? This essay argues that the problem of “validation” lies at the heart of biblical scholarship’s irrelevancy within the broader secularity of modern world and that this problem is even more evident in the scholarly discourse coming from regions like Eastern Europe and South Africa. However, the loss of authority of biblical scholarship more generally represents an opportunity for these communities. Rather than becoming enamoured of validation from the North Atlantic world, Bible-reading communities must cultivate their own forms of validation based in their unique histories with the Bible, and the affinities between their own histories/cultures and the cultures that produced the Old and New Testament texts.
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    Reading the New Testament stereoscopically
    (Department of Old and New Testament, Stellenbosch University, 2021-09) Nel, Marius Johannes
    This article investigates how the reading of the Bible in the segregated spheres of church, society and academy has been institutionalised in the way Biblical Studies is taught at most state universities and seminaries in South Africa. It proposes that the way students are trained for ministry should be restructured so that they are encouraged to intentionally use the hermeneutical insights they have obtained in their biblical studies to create stereoscopic readings of the Bible for use in ecclesiological settings. A stereoscopic reading of the Bible directly challenges the clear distinction that is often made between the way in which the Bible is read in the sphere of the church in contrast to that of the academic sphere. Students must not only be taught the theory of source criticism, redaction criticism, tradition criticism, narrative criticism and other approaches to the study the Bible; they must also be taught how to create material with which to help others gain a deeper understanding of the biblical text by reflecting on its inter- and intra-texts, as well as the various pre-texts, final-texts and post-texts that all form part of what the church considers to be scripture.
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    Polish Catholic biblical scholarship : development and perspectives
    (Department of Old and New Testament, Stellenbosch University, 2021) Chrostowski, Waldemar; Adamczewski, Bartosz
    The article analyses the recent history and development of Catholic biblical scholarship in Poland. It points to the role of the pastoral situation and activity of the Catholic Church in this development. It presents the current situation of Catholic biblical scholarship in Poland. It describes notable recent achievements of Polish Catholic biblical scholars, especially those published in English. It also presents some innovative hypotheses, put forward by Polish Catholic biblical scholars.
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    Crossing boundaries : the transformative potential of intercultural Bible reading in secular/post-secular contexts
    (Department of Old and New Testament, Stellenbosch University, 2021-11) Jonker, Louis C.
    Intercultural biblical hermeneutics is a fairly recent development in biblical scholarship in general. It emphasises that biblical interpretation almost always takes place in contexts where an array of cultural values and beliefs determine the outcome of the interpretative process. Although this branch of biblical hermeneutics emerged from the need to reflect theoretically on how Christians from different socio-cultural and socio-economic contexts engage the biblical texts, and one another on account of those texts, this approach may also be widened to include the interpretation of the Bible in non-Christian contexts (including the contexts of other religions and secular contexts) or even to engage in discourse on the interpretation of authoritative texts of different traditions (such as the Qur’an in Islam, in addition to the Tenakh of Judaism, and the Old and New Testament of Christianity). In research on intercultural biblical hermeneutics, it has been noticed that intercultural interpretation holds enormous transformative potential. My paper will examine how this could be of use in engagements between religious, secular and post-secular contexts.
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    The African Church's application of anointing oil : an expression of Christian spirituality or a display of fetish ancestral religion?
    (AOSIS, 2021-01-28) Biwul, Joel K. T.
    The content of Christian spirituality that made waves since the inception of the early church soon took on different contours as the faith got adapted to different gentile contexts. The expression of this faith, along with its liturgical symbolism and sacramental observances, is still gaining momentum in African Christianity. The emerging practice of the use of ‘anointing oil’ in its religious expression is receiving more attention than the Christ of the Gospel. In this article, we argue that against its primitive intent, the use of the ‘anointing oil’ by the African Church is a mere display of fetish ancestral religion that expresses its unique African traditional religious root rather than a true expression of Christian spirituality. Our thesis is framed on the basis that the manner in which some African churches apply the purported ‘anointing oil’ is discriminatory vis-à-vis its ancient understanding and purpose. In our attempt to address this damaging practice to true Christian spirituality, also standing as a huge challenge for pastoral theology, we undertook a careful historical–theological analysis of the extant biblical data and its contextual interpretation vis-à-vis its distortion today. We concluded that what pastoral theologians have to deal with within the Christian community in Africa is offering the right biblical perspective against the distorted mode of the application of the contemporary purported ‘anointing oil’ that is falsely projecting the Christian faith and belief in a bad light.