As an academic journal HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies (HTS) disseminates the results of the theological research of national and international scholars.


The library contains articles of HTS Teologiese Studies /Theological Studies as of vol. 1(1943) to current.

Recent Submissions

  • Interactional leadership: Jesus’ model of leadership – A case of Mark 7:25–29

    John K. Addo Jnr; Zorodzai Dube (AOSIS, 2020-05-01)
    Inspired by Goffman and Mead Social Interactionism theory and Ghanaian traditional leadership model, this article interprets Mark 7:24–30 as text that re-imagines alternative leadership practice. The study suggest that social interactionism theory tenants of ritual making, people processing, characterisation, frame making and dramaturgy provide a alternative heuristic tools to understand Jesus’ view of leadership. Seemingly and for Jesus, leadership is a product of social interaction derived from the manner one interacts with various people. This study proposes that the Ghanaian Akan traditional notion of leadership based on social interaction provides analogical model that complements social interactionism theory in interpreting Jesus’ leadership practices. Therefore, the study explains social interactionism theory and then illustrated it through Akan leadership model analogue. The story of the Syrophoenician woman in Mark 7:24–30 gives the social interaction, people processing, characterisation, frame making and dramaturgy that informs Jesus’ leadership model to be modelled by the Church.
  • Developing pastoral therapy as a professional qualification in South Africa: Rationale and motivation

    Juanita Meyer (AOSIS, 2020-05-01)
    The professional training of pastoral therapists has been a topic of controversy for many years in South Africa. Up to date, the training of pastoral workers has been limited to the study of ministry and as such is limited by the primary aims and outcomes of this curriculum. In a post-apartheid, post-colonial South Africa, the need for pastoral workers is intensified by the needs of community- and faith-based organisations for trained and registered therapists to alleviate the counselling needs of their beneficiaries on all social levels. This article discusses the current state of affairs of the training and curriculum related to the profession of pastoral therapy in the context of South Africa, the various sociopolitical and religious needs that are still left unanswered in the field, and makes recommendations for the registration and accreditation of the profession with a specific curriculum focused on multicultural, multi-spiritual and post-modern nuances. The author argues that such a curriculum, accredited by a statutory body, can operate as a national health resource, will be more cost-effective than other related health services and may transform the social justice landscape related to both the providers and beneficiaries of this type of care.
  • Character education for public leadership: The continuing relevance of Martin Buber’s ‘Hebrew humanism’

    Bernhard Ott (AOSIS, 2020-05-01)
    The need for character education for those in public leadership is of unquestionable importance. Professor Christoph Stückelberger (University of Basel, founder of Globethics) has recently argued that ‘structural ethics’ (constitutions, policies and standards) have their merits, and that ‘there are no virtuous institutions, there are only virtuous people’. Stückelberger calls for the cultivation of virtues, especially the virtue of integrity. In recent decades, character education has received new attention. Those who call for character education most often draw from Greek traditions, especially from Aristotle. This article will explore a different source for the discussion of virtues and character. About 80 years ago, the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber proposed character education, based on what he called ‘Hebrew humanism’, as the foundation of nation-building. I will explore the continuing relevance of Buber’s view of character and character formation, taking his famous Tel Aviv speech on ‘The Education of Character’ of 1939 as a point of departure.
  • Africanisation of theological education: An exploration of a hybrid epistemology

    Kasebwe T.L. Kabongo (AOSIS, 2020-05-01)
    This article explores the concept of hybrid epistemology in relation with the author’s theological teaching of his neighbours from the northern townships of Pretoria and the students of the University of Pretoria. It is written from the perspective of a black African mission practitioner who values with equal footing the diverse ways human beings can acquire knowledge. He longs to see a symbiotic relationship between different epistemologies and be prioritised in the theological training of Africans. He stresses that the value in authenticity would allow the diversity of epistemologies to weave together in a symbiotic way. This article is a case study that reflects on the symbiotic relationship between different epistemologies using the five human senses as a multi-sensory approach to knowing. It discusses the experiences with students from InnerCHANGE and the University of Pretoria.
  • The Trinitarian and Christological Minnemystik of the Flemish beguine Hadewijch of Antwerp (fl. 1240)

    Johann Beukes (AOSIS, 2020-05-01)
    This article provides an original reappraisal of the notion of Minnemystik in the work of the 13th-century Flemish beguine Hadewijch of Antwerp (fl. 1240), with specific reference to its Trinitarian and Christological orientations. After an introduction to the nature and origins of Hadewijch’s work, relating to the discovery of four extant manuscripts (MS.A [2879–2880], MS.B [2877–2878], BS.C and the incomplete MS.D [385 II]) in Belgium in 1838, followed by an elucidation of the experience-driven epistemology of the Victorians Richard of St Victor (d. 1173) and Hugo of St Victor (1079–1141) as her key early scholastic influences, Hadewijch’s Minnemystik is distinguished from Wesenmystik, as encountered in the mystical work of her French contemporary and beguine counterpart, Marguerite Porete (1250–1310). From this discursive basis, Hadewijch’s Minnemystik is reassessed and represented as pertinently Trinitarian and Christological in orientation, and therefore as a theological (and not merely an enticing ‘mystical-sexual’) presentation from the 13th century.
  • The Matthean characterisation of Jesus by angels

    Francois P. Viljoen (AOSIS, 2020-05-01)
    Angels play a significant role in the characterisation of the Matthean Jesus. The Gospel of Matthew displays particular interest in angels. This article focuses on passages in Matthew that relate the role of angels directly to Jesus. Matthew distinguishes between the angel of the Lord and angels in general. This article examines the latter group keeping in view their support of Jesus. It shows that Matthew assumes knowledge of Jewish angelic traditions among his readers. He adds new perspectives to their knowledge about the relation of angels with Jesus. He is depicted as meek and humble, refraining from using his authority to call on the assistance of angels for his own benefit. Yet angels come with reverence to serve him. In humility, he fully submits to the will of the Father by entering his passion. On the other hand, he is also depicted with eschatological glory as being accompanied by all the angels. Heavens are emptied to attend to the Son of Man on his glorious throne. With an entourage of all heavenly angels he will return as the eschatological judge not only to judge all the nations, but also the devil and his angels.
  • Church history is dead, long live historical theology!

    Peter Houston (AOSIS, 2020-05-01)
    Church history is dead, long live historical theology! This restatement of the monarchical law of le mort saisit le vif is at once a statement of irreparable discontinuity and assumed continuity. The old monarch is no more, yet a new and different monarch ascends to fill the same vacant throne. This is the paradox of church history becoming historical theology. Reviewing the work of W.A Dreyer and J. Pillay on the re-imagining of church history as historical theology, this article explores the tension between the demise of church history as a subject in South Africa and the emerging understanding and application of historical theology, arguing that more can be made of trans-disciplinary dialogues.
  • Searching for shalom: Transformation in the mission of God and the Bible translation movement

    Kirk J. Franklin (AOSIS, 2020-05-01)
    The background of this study was to explore the Old Testament vision of shalom and determine how it was relevant to its holistic mission, Bible translation, transformational development and the world’s challenges and trends. The aim of this research was to create a framework to serve practitioners and theorists associated with the Bible translation movement and its intersection with transformational development. The setting for the study was the consideration of factors affecting Bible translation and transformational development in the context of global challenges and trends. The methodology of the study included literature surveys integrated with analysis of data from global sources. Results from the study included an understanding of the relevance of shalom, and integration with holistic mission, including integral mission, and intersection with transformational development. Analysis of global challenges and trends was combined with an existing framework for transformational development that included Bible translation as a mission. The conclusion was that the church was called to be faithful stewards of knowledge and resources. This included an understanding of the relevance of the vision for shalom, integrated with holistic mission, transformational development and Bible translation that addressed in full or in part global challenges and trends that resulted in the framework produced by this study.
  • Transformational diaconia as educative praxis in care within the present poverty-stricken South African context

    Smith F.K. Tettey; Malan Nel (AOSIS, 2020-06-01)
    This article explores how ministerial and leadership formation could be enabled to adopt transformational diaconia in addressing poverty in South Africa, engaging in ways in which pastoral care and leadership formation can respond to the addressing of poverty. The fact that transformation aims at changing the worldviews, paradigms and approaches to life and problem solving informs the author’s concept of transformational diaconia, which was proposed as an aspect of spiritual leadership capital (SLC), defined as, ‘The inner virtues afforded individuals by their spirituality in formulating their leadership paradigms which contributes to social capital formation for addressing social problems’. Spiritual leadership capital is hereby argued to be a transformative spirituality that can enable an understanding and sustainable responses to poverty and other social problems. This is needed for Africa and particularly for the present day South Africa, seemingly a country with the best infrastructure in Africa; yet its poverty seems pronounced because the dregs of apartheid still lurk in the social fibre, where poor people blame rich people for their plight and vice versa. Bowers Du Toit’s view that ‘[m]ost congregations respond to poverty by providing relief and not empowerment’, re-echoes here. From a mixed-methods research, SLC is a theory recently advanced as a congregational development paradigm and a theology of poverty, which views public theology as an educative praxis that can respond to transformational needs in poverty-related contexts. The authors suggest that for a Church that is responsive to the plight of society, fresh empowerment approaches to address poverty are needed.
  • Socially just pedagogies and social justice: The intersection of teaching ethics at higher education level and social justice

    John S. Klaasen (AOSIS, 2020-05-01)
    This article is part of a longer term project between the Department of Religion and Theology at the University of the Western Cape and Umea University in Sweden. At both the institutions the teaching of ethics as a module within social science curricula has been an important focus area. The critical investigation of the growth of the ethics modules in the Department of Religion and Theology addresses questions of the growth in the number of students taking ethics as a module that have been escalated in the last few years. This research seeks to explore social justice as a pedagogy to teach ethics. The article investigates the relationship between socially just pedagogies and social justice as a means of knowledge production. The ethics modules and students at the Department of Religion and Theology at the University of the Western Cape are the context of the study, and different socially just pedagogies will be investigated as relevant and significant pedagogies for teaching ethics for social change. Particular attention is given to the interaction between the lecturer, student and non-human phenomena as means of knowledge production. The nature of the interaction determines the effectiveness of pedagogies for a social justice agency.
  • Does the Christian church have any guidance to offer in solving the global problems we are faced with today?

    D. Etienne de Villiers (AOSIS, 2020-06-01)
    In his book, 21 Lessons for the 21st century, the historian Yuval Noah Harari devoted a chapter to the question of whether traditional religions could provide any guidance in solving the momentous global problems confronting us today. He drew the rather negative conclusion that they do not have any constructive contribution to make in solving these problems. This article made an original contribution to scholarly research by, from the perspective of Christian Ethics, subjecting this recently expressed view of Harari to critical scrutiny and by exploring the guidance the Christian church could offer in solving global problems we are faced with today, such as nuclear war, ecological collapse and technological disruption. These research objectives were realised by addressing four questions: (1) does the church have a responsibility to provide guidance in this regard? (2) What is the nature of the guidance the church ought to provide? (3) What are the factors hindering the church in providing such guidance? (4) Which conditions need to be fulfilled for the church to provide meaningful guidance? The answers provided to these questions were substantiated by drawing on the findings of published Christian ethical and social scientific research. The conclusion drawn from the article is that the church could today provide meaningful moral guidance in solving global problems. It should then, however, depart from an unbiased understanding of the message of the Bible and effectively deal with certain hindrances preventing it from providing adequate moral guidance.
  • Cosmogonic or creation myths A mythical, philosophical and theological interpretation of the diverse cosmogonic myths: In conversation with Charles Long

    Johan A. van Rooyen (AOSIS, 2020-04-01)
    Cosmogonic myths, also referred to as creation myths, are theological and philosophical explanations of ancient myths of creation within a religious Homo sapien hamlet. In the context of this article, the word myth is attributed to the extravagant quixotic interpretation in anecdote (in both visionary and narrative sense) of what is accomplished or ceased as a key or essential phenomenon. The terms or language concepts of cosmogonic or creation invoke the start of things, whether by the desire and action of a surpass Actuality, by emergence from some eventful Actuality or by an additional alternative process. Mystics, scientists, philosophers and theologians of today set forward a method, to my mind, of pluralistic interpretation of the whole understanding and interpretation of a cosmogonic and creation myth that includes a variety of Actualities (deities or gods), in the world, according to basic Western and Eastern religious and rational classifications. These rational classifications have a phenomenological epistemic impact and even a certain righteousness of whoever wants to believe whatever of creation. Let it be …, as it should be ontological (showing the relations between the concepts [myths] and categories [criterion of these myths] in a subject area [a variety of philosophies or religions] or domain [places where these myths are experienced]) and epistemological (relating to the theory of knowledge [how these myths evolved in the thought processes of sapiens], especially with regard to its methods [e.g. sacramental], validity [the genuineness and lawfulness of these myth’s], scope [the extend thereof] and the distinction between justified belief and opinion) and be positive for theologians as objects and religious sapiens as subjects.
  • The pronunciation of identical consecutive letters in the Yemenite Jewish tradition

    Uri Zur (AOSIS, 2020-04-01)
    This article examines the pronunciation of identical consecutive letters in the Yemenite Jewish tradition, with a basic comparison with the pronunciation of identical letters in other present-day traditions. It is notable that in the Yemenite tradition also there are differences of opinion as to the pronunciation of these letters as a result of the effect of their pronunciation in other present-day traditions. In this article, we present the fundamental views with regard to the pronunciation of identical consecutive letters as well as their possible pronunciations in light of the grammar rules evident from the grammarians. The article does not purport to provide a historical, developmental or chronological investigation of the grammar rules; rather, it focuses on one specific topic involving the pronunciation of identical consecutive letters in the Yemenite tradition.
  • Faith envy

    Hermen Kroesbergen (AOSIS, 2020-04-01)
    With this article, I wish to introduce the concept of ‘faith envy’. From time to time, both believers and non-believers envy those who have faith or more faith. People envy, for example, Muslims or Charismatics for the significance and certainty of their convictions in their lives. I propose using ‘faith envy’ as an angle to investigate faith and religious language. This perspective opens up important new questions about faith. If we look at faith from this angle, we see aspects of faith that remain obscure in many debates on religion, aspects beyond historical or factual matters. Firstly, I explore what it is exactly that is envied in faith envy. Secondly, I argue for the use of the concept ‘envy’ rather than ‘jealousy’ or ‘admiration’ in this context. Thirdly, I indicate how using the concept of faith envy may open up new theoretical perspectives on faith and in particular the nature of religious language. I show how the lives and works of Sören Kierkegaard, Ludwig Wittgenstein and Simone Weil are illuminated by looking at them as people who envy faith. I conclude this article by providing some impressions of what novel perspectives using the concept of faith envy may bring to light.
  • The trauma of Nineveh’s demise and downfall: Nahum 2:2–11

    Wilhelm J. Wessels; Elizabeth Esterhuizen (AOSIS, 2020-04-01)
    Trauma is left, right and centre in the whole book of Nahum. The book reflects the oppression and hardship that Judah had experienced at the hands of the imperial power Assyria. For many a reader, the violent and derogative content of this book is in itself a traumatic experience. In this article, the focus is on Nahum 2:2–11 (Masoretic Text [MT]), which depicts the downfall of Nineveh and its traumatic effects on its citizens. Besides the analysis of the text, a reading from trauma theory is made to enhance insights into the text. It is argued that the text served the purpose of offering hope to the people of Judah who relied on Yahweh for relief from their own traumatic experiences.
  • Die triomf van ‘n post-skolastieke mistiek oor skolastieke lojalisme: Gersonius versus Ruusbroec (postuum), 1399

    Johann Beukes (AOSIS, 2020-04-01)
    The triumph of a post-scholastic mysticism over scholastic loyalism:Gerson versus Ruusbroec (posth.), 1399. This article provides an introduction to the thought of the Flemish-Brabant 14th-century mystical thinker, Jan van Ruusbroec, with special attention to the explosion in the niche research from 1981 (with the publication of the first volume of the Ruusbroec Opera Omnia) to 2017 (regarding the specialised outputs of the Ruusbroec Institute at the University of Antwerp). Ruusbroec is presented as a ‘post-scholastic’ thinker, who in an idiosyncratic way, transcended the high-scholastic aspirations of absolute clarity and certainty about God and human existence. His thought is contextualised within a polemical, posthumous context, namely the attempt of the chancellor of the University of Paris at the time, John Gerson, to get Ruusbroec’s text‘, ‘Die geestelike brulocht’ declared as heresy and Ruusbroec himself as a heretic in the year 1399 AD, 18 years after Ruusbroec’s death. The attempts of Ruusbroec’s young colleagues at the modest monastery of Groenendaal, confronting and rearguing Gerson on this issue, are thoroughly explored. The fact that neither ‘Die geestelike brulocht’ nor Ruusbroec himself could eventually be effectively challenged by the high-powered Gerson, is presented as an example of the inherent potential of ‘post-scholasticism’ to contribute to the progression that eventually manifested itself as the ‘new world’, the Renaissance. No one won or lost this posthumous battle: but Gerson certainly did not win it. This is a remarkable note in, even a ‘triumph’ for, the archives of the small Augustinian monastery in Groenendaal, consisting of subtle ‘Augustinian’ monks, who had little more than a dedicated passion for Ruusbroec’s mysticism (and an undergraduate in theology at the University of Paris) on their side. A hermeneutic interpretation of the events of 1399 is henceforth presented, to indicate that within the socio-political turmoil of European societies in the 14th century, there were still places (and thinkers, such as Ruusbroec), where people were able to find ‘rest in God’ – as there should be today.
  • The additional phrases on a Genizah fragment of Bavli Eruvin 4b–5a

    Uri Zur (AOSIS, 2020-04-01)
    This article deals with the additional phrases found in the Cairo Genizah fragment related to Bavli, Tractate Eruvin 4b–5a, identified as Cambridge UL T-S F1 (1) 44. FGP No. C 96446. Some of these additional phrases have not been found in any version of the various manuscripts and printed versions, and some were found in only one version. The purpose of the article was to examine whether these additional phrases preserve an ancient version that was only preserved in this Genizah fragment or whether they are a type of errors in the fragment. The conclusions of the article with regard to these additional phrases are varied; some of the phrases preserve an ancient version and some do not.
  • Ritual, myth and transnational giving within the Zimbabwe Assemblies of God Africa in Johannesburg, South Africa

    John Ringson; Admire Chereni (AOSIS, 2020-04-01)
    This article interrogates how rituals and myths may reshape Pentecostal ideology and practice in ways that resonate with the practical concerns of born-again congregants in an exclusive foreign labour market. It draws on a series of field observations conducted in Johannesburg, at two congregations of the Zimbabwe Assemblies of God Africa (ZAOGA) – a born-again movement with roots in Zimbabwe – between 2009 and 2016. The authors critically examine the shifting architecture of the ritual of Working Talents and its contradictory use of myths. The authors consider the intended consequences of both the ritual of Working Talents and often contradictory myths used to bolster it, for the transnational growth of the church and its involvement in the development of the nation. A phenomenological observation qualitative research was utilised to establish the experiences, feelings and behaviours of the ZAOGA congregants regarding the gospel of Working Talents at two of their assemblies in Johannesburg. A key finding was that Working Talents contains ethical action and empowerment narratives, and it aspires to create Pentecostal congregants with collective cultural identities, disposed to give money to support the causes of the church. In doing so, myths and rituals have reshaped the ZAOGA Pentecostal ideology into a nuanced version of the Prosperity Gospel, one that emphasises notions of indigenisation, empowerment and self-propagation.
  • Controversial and paradoxical theological approaches to the issue of ‘Descent of the Qur’ān’

    Hüseyin Halil (AOSIS, 2020-04-01)
    In Islam, there is a belief that Allah has a ‘throne’ [al-ʿArsh, the highest level of the heavens] in the sky and that Allah sent the Qurʾān directly from that throne or through an angel. According to this belief, the Qurʾān descended from the seventh level of the heavens to the first level and then completed its descent to the earth in pieces over 23 years. Accordingly, the Qurʾān descended from a certain place with determined borders, namely from the throne [al-ʿArsh] of Allah. However, theological books [the literature and sources of ʿılm al-Kalām] contend that Allah is free from space and time and that a specific space cannot be attributed to Allah. The verses of the Qurʾān even suggest that Allah is not only above in the heavens but everywhere. Therefore, the main question of our article is why Allah wanted to send the Qurʾān specifically from the heavens if Allah is free from space. We show that the descent of the Qurʾān from the heavens to the earth is not realistic but is a symbolic and metaphorical narrative.
  • Age does not determine influence: A consideration for children in ministerial service

    Garth Aziz (AOSIS, 2020-04-01)
    Leadership and areas of influence are often reserved for the adult community. The youth are mostly regarded as developing beings, with insufficient knowledge and experience to take on leadership roles where influence can be exercised. It is often considered – especially in the context of the church – that the youth do not have the capacity to lead, while evidence from society and research studies points to the contrary. The author of this article argues that the ability to influence does not depend on age or in an accumulation of experience. Instead, the ability of the youth to make a difference is attributed to their desire to do so. The author draws attention to why we need to focus on the youth and their ability to make a difference. The article presents an argument based on scriptural evidence and a theology of childhood as to why it is indeed possible and beneficial for the youth to exert their influence across various sectors of society.

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