Scriptura : Journal for Biblical, Theological and Contextual Hermeneutics is an independent journal which publishes contributions in the fields of Bible, Religion and Theology refereed by peers. It is international in scope but special attention is given to topics and issues emerging from or relevant to Southern Africa. Scriptura publishes contributions in English but also in other languages relevant to the Southern African region (such as Afrikaans, Xhosa, Sesotho, Zulu, French and German).

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The Globethics.net library contains articles of Scriptura as of 1986 ; 62(1997) to current.

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  • HISTORY OF THE JEWISH INTERPRETATION OF GENESIS 1:26, 3:5, 3:22 IN THE MIDDLE AGES

    Oseka, Matthew (Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Theology., 2018-10-22)
    The present paper examines the plural forms found in Genesis 1:26, 3:5 and 3:22 which might appertain to the Divine and which acted as focal points for theological and exegetical discussion within the framework of the Jewish tradition. Thus, the paper studies the mediaeval Jewish exegesis of these plural forms as perpetuated in the representative Jewish commentaries and situates it against the early Jewish reception of these forms which was mirrored in the ancient Jewish Aramaic and Greek translations of the Scripture and reflected in the Midrashic and Talmudic literature. The mediaeval Jewish tradition, on the one hand, relied on the earlier exposition of such phenomena, on the other hand, it enriched and advanced the trajectory of the interpretations accepted within the limits of Judaism.
  • ABRAHAM HALEVI’S COMPENDIUM ON THE GENERIC NAME OF GOD IN THE TANAKH

    Oseka, Matthew; Concordia Theological Seminary, Hong Kong (Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Theology., 2018-01-16)
    The present paper analyses the study of the grammatical and lexical features of God’s generic name contained in the classic Jewish compendium authored by Abraham ben Daud Halevi and situates it against the disquisitions of Judah Halevi, Maimonides and Joseph Albo. These mediaeval compendia were comprehensive presentations of the Jewish tradition devised as instruments for cultivating the Jewish identity. In the Hebrew Bible both אלוה and אלוהים could denote not only God of Israel but also different agents of power such as judges, leaders, nobles, the mighty, angels or idols, depending on the context. Therefore, this topic merited examination within the framework of the Jewish tradition.
  • THE RECOGNITION OF HUMAN DIGNITY IN AFRICA: A CHRISTIAN ETHICS OF RESPONSIBILITY PERSPECTIVE

    de Villiers , Etienne; Dogmatics and Christian Ethics University of Pretoria (Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Theology., 2013-06-12)
    This article attempts, first of all, to define the concept of human dignity in tandem with a Christian ethics of responsibility. The views on human dignity, held by some proponents of a Christian ethics of responsibility, and a number of South African and Dutch theologians who participated in two joint consultations, are discussed and critically evaluated. Second, this article addresses the following question: �What does taking responsibility for the recognition and effective enhancement of human dignity in Africa entail?� The question is answered by drawing out the implications of four principles of a Christian ethics of responsibility, for the recognition and effective enhancement of human dignity in Africa.
  • ALTERNATIVE RELIGION IN PRETORIA PART II: EAST COMES SOUTH

    Clasquin, Michel; University of South Africa (Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Theology., 2016-10-19)
  • ECOLOGICAL ACTIVISM AND AN INTERRELIGIOUS DIALOGUE OF LIFE – A CASE STUDY OF THE SOUTHERN AFRICAN FAITH COMMUNITIES ENVIRONMENTAL INSTITUTE

    van Schalkwyk, Annalet; University of South Africa (Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Theology., 2014-01-30)
     An important theological dimension which unfolds from the Christian Faith and the Earth project is that of interreligious dialogue in relation to the ecology and the ecological crisis. A global responsibility for the earth community – and a global ethics of – care for humanity and the earth may indeed form the basis – or the common ground – for interreligious dialogue. In this article, I use an ‘encounterology’ approach to investigate the dialogue of life, religious experience, theology, and action, that takes place in the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (SAFCEI). I conclude that the establishment of SAFCEI and its work creates space and impetus for interreligious earth dialogue as prophetic witness in Southern Africa.
  • GODSDIENSONDERWYS EN DIE VEREDELING VAN DIE SUID-AFRIKAANSE SAMELEWING

    van Niekerk, JG; Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education; Henning, IJ; Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education; van Rensberg, Fika J; Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education (Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Theology., 2016-10-20)
  • PATTERNS OF VIOLENCE: RELIGION AND THE FRAMING OF DIFFERENCES

    van Liere, Lucien; IIMO, Department of Theology Faculty of Humanities Utrecht University (Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Theology., 2013-06-12)
    This article seeks to understand three motives that are closely linked with violence: distance, impersonality and reciprocity. These three general human features contribute highly to the persistence of violence in different contexts. Analyzing religion-related violence means understanding the human preconditions for the appearance of violence. These preconditions are not religious per se, but can be inaugurated, conserved or enhanced by faiths or religions, resulting into a higher complexity of the violent conflict. The aim of this article is to show how this process works, how different and complex influences from local faiths to globalization(s) can change or even transform a conflict into religion-related violence. To do this, the three motives will be discussed to the background op de so-called Kuta bombing in 2002. Finally, this article will emphasize the notion that religion-related conflicts need a religious perspective to work towards a possible solution.
  • BEYOND THE RHETORIC OF THE ‘NEXT CHRISTENDOM’? AN EXAMINATION OF THE INTEGRITY OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH IN NIGERIA

    none; Otonko, Jake (Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Theology., 2019-01-24)
     The growing population of Christians in Africa, Asia and Latin America is one of the success stories of the Christian faith of the modern era. The central importance of this paradigmatic shift in the gravitational centre of Christianity to Africa has been clearly represented in the writings of Jenkins, Walls and Bediako. However, this rapid growth in numbers of Christians in Africa does not often correspond with the authentic translation of the Christian faith in the daily affairs of the peoples. This incapacity of the Christian faith is seen in the inability of the growing numbers of Christians to transform the public space. The paradox of growing Christian presence and growing poverty, corruption, bad government, disease, failed service delivery and several dysfunctional states challenge the effective impact of this Christian presence. It seems the rhetoric of numbers has not translated directly into Christian practice. Unfortunately, the excitement of numbers and the euphoria of the Southward movement of the Christian faith to the region of Africa and Nigeria in particular have not resolved the problematic character of the Christian faith and practices within this region. In Nigeria, the revival of cultures and the attendant theological enterprise in inculturation have often legitimised the importance of African cultural expressions on Christian beliefs, but also with tendencies of dis-torting the purity and integrity of Christian faith as a result of misunderstanding. Using analytical methodology, the present article engages the religious dynamism in Nigerian culturalised ecclesiastical space, and the necessity of preserving the Christian faith against cultural expressions which challenge the integrity of the Christian faith directly. Thus, this article argues for the repositioning of the Christian faith in Nigeria in order to fulfil its destined significance as one of the most important treasure houses of the "Next Christendom".
  • THE PRACTICE AND IMPACT OF DIVINE HEALING IN SAINT JOHN APOSTOLIC FAITH MISSION: A MISSIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE

    University of South Africa; Kgatle, Mookgo Solomon (Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Theology., 2018-12-10)
    Previous works on Saint John Apostolic Faith Mission have focused on the establishment of the church by its female founder, Christina Nku. Other works have studied the reasons that caused the church to undergo several schisms over the years. Some scholars have discussed Saint John Apostolic Faith Mission as a Pentecostal church instead of an African Independent Church. This article looks at the practice of divine healing in Saint John Apostolic Faith Mission and its impact on the growth of the church, by using a missiological lens. This shall be established by looking at the practice of divine healing in the African Independent Churches in general. The practice of divine healing in Saint John Apostolic Faith Mission shall be explored by looking at the role of the Holy Spirit, healing symbols and healing songs. The article also looks at the relationship between divine healing and western medicine. The purpose here is to demonstrate the impact of divine healing on the growth of Saint John Apostolic Faith Mission.
  • AFRICAN PENTECOSTALISM: THE CHRISTIANITY OF ELIAS LETWABA FROM EARLY YEARS UNTIL HIS DEATH IN 1959

    University of Pretoria, Ernest van Eck; Kgatle, Mookgo Solomon; University of Pretoria (Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Theology., 2018-01-15)
     An enormous body of research has been done on Pentecostal Christianity examining different branches such as classical, African and charismatic Pentecostalism. Most of these studies concentrate on classical Pentecostalism and western personalities. This article makes an important contribution to the ongoing research on Pentecostalism by studying African Pentecostalism, by looking at the life, calling and ministry of Elias Letwaba. The article argues that the Christianity of Elias Letwaba was an African Pentecostalism. In order to achieve this, the article studies the early life of Elias Letwaba to understand his family background. The article also establishes the fundamental teachings of African Pentecostalism and later compares them with the Christianity of Elias Letwaba. The purpose of this article is to demonstrate that Elias Letwaba was sanctified by faith; believed in the life of holiness; baptised in the Holy Spirit as evidenced by speaking in tongues; practised divine healing and founded a Bible College to teach these fundamental teachings of Pentecostalism.
  • FEMINIST CRITIQUE OF THE EDUCATION MODEL OF MABEL SHAW GIRLS BOARDING MISSION SCHOOL IN ZAMBIA 1915-1940 AND ITS EFFECT ON GIRL-CHILD EDUCATION

    Siwila, Lilian Cheelo; University of KwaZulu Natal (Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Theology., 2018-01-23)
      Missionaries that came to southern Africa had much to offer to the local people of this part of the continent. One of the tasks of the missionaries in the mission field was to introduce mission schools. In central Africa the London Mission Society emerged as one of the main mission bodies that introduced mission schools to young African boys and girls. This study provides a critical analysis of the education model that was introduced at Mable Shaw Girls' Boarding School in Mbereshi, Zambia. The study used a textual analysis approach and religio-cultural feminist lens to argue that missionaries such as Mable Shaw misrepresented the African model of girl-child education in their attempt to incorporate African education systems into the western form of education. The study found that Shaw’s approach to women emancipation as a feminist was ambivalent in that while she fought for white women’s rights in her school, she failed to promote the empowerment of the girls. Instead, she encouraged patriarchal ideologies that perpetuated the oppression of girls through the promotion of child marriage. This study concludes that in as much as feminism aims at fighting for the liberation of women from all forms of oppression, there is need to take into cognisance the power dynamics at play between western feminism and third world feminism.  
  • (VHO) ABEL MPHAGI – THE BAREFOOTED NATIVE 'PROPHET' AND 'EVANGELIST' OF VENDALAND: A TRANSITION OF INDIGENOUS BELIEF SYSTEMS AND CHRISTIANITY

    N/A; Mafukata, Mavhungu Abel; Vhutali Leadership and Management Institute (Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Theology., 2017-09-19)
    This paper details the life and ministry exploits of prophet Abel Mphagi. Snowballing was used in identifying Key Informants. Key Informant Interviews (KIIs) were employed to gather data for this paper. Abel Mphagi was a powerful religious personality in the class of many other national religious figures who performed many outstanding miracles and fulfilled prophesies in South Africa in general. Despite Abel Mphagi's influence and exploits, he could not have received any interest or recognition from the various European missionary bodies which operated in the former Vendaland where he operated, because, first, Mphagi never was affiliated to any such organisations. Secondly, Mphagi was never a convert of the missionaries. Thirdly, Mphagi's practices were considered barbaric, unchristian and pagan with weird theology which the missionaries had associated with African witchcraft rather than Christianity. Although Mphagi was to stay celibate for most of his life, he ended up eloping a woman called Miriam who took him to Duthuni Village. Mphagi stopped his work as a result. Mphagi's grave site has been located at Ha-Mphego Village, Thulamela municipality, Vhembe District of Limpopo Province. Mphagi's grave site could be protected and proclaimed a heritage site, at least by the church.  
  • MISSIO DEI AND ETHNIC DIVERSITY IN AFRICA: A REFLECTION ON THE METAPHOR OF COMMUNITY

    Onwunta, Uma A; Department of Practical Theology & Missiology Stellenbosch University; Hendriks, H Jurgens; Department of Practical Theology & Missiology Stellenbosch University (Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Theology., 2013-06-12)
    This article explores the concept of the missio Dei as it affects the Christian missionary enterprise in Africa. It offers a brief overview of the theocentric understanding of mission as a holistic approach that does not dichotomize between humanity and creation but rather affirms the wholeness of existence in the African primal world view. Secondly, the implication of the missio Dei for the ethno-religious diversity in Africa and the Nigerian nation in particular, is explored. Thirdly, a call for a new missional hermeneutics, especially on the metaphor of community, is advocated. The essay argues that the way to proceed is by focusing on Jesus, the heartbeat of whose ministry was reconciliation, compassionate response to human needs, and whose actions show forth the horizon of the coming world of shalom – justice, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.
  • MODELS FOR MISSIONAL CHURCHES IN ACTS

    du Plessis , Johann; Old & New Testament Stellenbosch University (Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Theology., 2013-06-12)
    In the first part of the article the issue of identity is briefly defined and discussed. Several facets of the church's identity in Luke-Acts are identified as elements of a comparative grid. These are: the relationship with Jesus, inclusiveness, vulnerability vs. power, and movements of the Spirit. In the second and third parts the proposed grid is applied to the missional actions and communities in Luke and Acts respectively. The fourth part deals with a possible shift of paradigms from Luke to Acts and also within Acts itself. The paper closes with a few conclusions and gives indications for further investigation.
  • MISSIO DEI AND COMPASSIO DEI: MINORITY CHRISTIANS EXPERIENCING GOD'S ACTS IN THE FACE OF HOSTILITY

    Sauer, Christof; Missiology and Practical Theology Stellenbosch University (Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Theology., 2013-06-12)
    This article examines what we can learn about being a 'missional church' from reading the book of Acts, with a minority Christian community experiencing God's acts in the face of hostility. Romanian theologian Josef Ton discovers three lessons on suffering and martyrdom in the book of Acts: understanding the sovereignty of God, regarding suffering for Christ as a privilege and honour, and trusting the leading and empowering of the Holy Spirit.
  • MISSIO DEI AND COMPASSIO DEI: MINORITY CHRISTIANS EXPERIENCING GOD’S ACTS IN THE FACE OF HOSTILITY

    Sauer, Christof; Department of Practical Theology University of South Africa (Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Theology., 2013-06-12)
    This article examines what we can learn about being a ‘missional church’ from reading the book of Acts with minority Christians experiencing God’s acts in the face of hostility. Romanian theologian Josef Ton discovers three lessons on suffering and martyrdom in the book of Acts: understanding the sovereignty of God, regarding suffering for Christ as a privilege and an honour, and trusting the leading and empowering of the Holy Spirit.
  • MISSION AS FRONTIER-CROSSING AND IDENTITY FORMATION: AN INTEGRATING CONTEXTUAL MISSIOLOGY

    Simon, Xolile; Stellenbosch University (Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Theology., 2013-06-12)
    This paper introduces preliminary parameters of an integrating contextual missiology (ICM). It develops the thematic and methodological aspects of cultural, ethnic and religious frontiers and identities in mission and missiology: mission as frontier-crossing (MCF) and mission as identity formation (MIF). The themes and methods have evolved in classical, contextual and ecumenical mission orientations and praxes under one or more of the four sub-fields of missiology. ICM proposes a three-fold shift to describe and map MCF and MIF, connect the sub-fields, and allude to the integration of aspects from other disciplines. The first shift is from a ‘missional theology’, which tends to be all encompassing, a-contextual and pragmatic, to a missional ‘theology-crossing frontiers.’ The approach is grounded on, amongst others, (1) a theology of mission and (2) a theology of religion. Both subfields wrestle with the tension among mission Dei, MFC and MIF. The second shift is from a history of mission which duplicates themes from church history and focuses exclusively on missionary or denominational histories to (3) a missional hermeneutic as a critical mission historiography. It can be applied to delineate and analyse historical and contemporary case studies of MFC and MIF in three important phases of a historical theology of mission: ‘mission history’, ‘World Christianity’ and ‘Global Christianity.’ The last shift is from general theories of mission practices and pragmatic strategies of congregations to (4) theologicalhermeneutical and empirical-missiological approach. It focuses on the patterns of events and narratives in mission praxes of social, ethnic and religious strangers (e.g. indigenous or migrant witnesses) in local and global contexts. New directions from this approach, an integral part of the ICM of the future, have emerged from the past and current patterns of MFC and MIF – the hubs of missional education and formation of individuals and congregations.
  • RECONCEPTUALISING EUCHARIST AS SUBSERVIENT RITUAL: A MISSIOLOGICAL RESPONSE TO PUBLIC VIOLENCE IN AFRICA

    Kaunda, Chammah J; UNISA (Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Theology., 2016-01-13)
     In this article, I argue that the church as Christ’s symbolic presence in the world is a Missiological expression of God loving non-violent involvement and witnessing presence in the world permeated with violence. Through two case studies that exemplify the relationship between public speech and public violence – the 1994 Rwandan genocide and the 2015 xenophobic attacks in South Africa – the article demonstrates the potential of liminality of Eucharistic encounter to inspire and empower African Christians prophetically to respond non-violently to the plague of public violence in many African countries.
  • MISSIOLOGICAL RESEARCH IN THE CONTEXT OF GLOBALIZATION

    Mugambi, JNK; Stellenbosch University (Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Theology., 2016-10-19)
  • GLOCALISATION IN THE SERVICE OF RESISTANT DISCOURSES: TOWARDS ‘READING’ WITH VOLKER KÜSTER

    Akper, Godwin; Stellenbosch University (Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Theology., 2018-06-21)
     ‘Talking back’ in a non-confrontational way, this essay engages the German theologian Volker Küster’s ‘reading’ of what it views as resistant discourses from the global South. In the first instance, the essay attempts to ‘read’, with Küster, global political and social transformations since 1990, specifically looking at possible ways they have shaped theological discourses in the global South. Moving on, is Küster’s ‘reading’ of a selected number of the latter discourses. The essay also attempts to highlight analytically, how Küster came to the conclusion that a shift occurred from contextualisation to the so-called glocalisation. Finally, based upon an own ‘reading’ of the discourses and drawing on the discussants’ voices themselves, an argument is made for glocalisation in the service of contextualisation.

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