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).


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

Recent Submissions

  • Performance of the story of Ruth to promote healing from "Township Trauma"

    Dickie, June F. (Stellenbosch University, Faculty of Theology, 2021-01-01)
    Many children in South Africa grow up in townships, where they are exposed to violence, drugs, gangs, and poverty. Difficulties in their home situations result in many of them lacking soft skills that enable a person to thrive (such as self-esteem, self-confidence, and the ability to communicate well). This chronic deprivation is an ongoing trauma which requires intervention to promote healing. Using the arts and sport to provide such intervention has been found to be successful, but theorists posit that drama could have value for social and emotional learning. This study tests that hypothesis: two groups (a group of grade 7 learners and a group of adults from a Bible-study fellowship) participate in a dramatic presentation of the biblical story of Ruth. Over a period of six months, the participants meet weekly (in their respective groups) for an hour to learn the story andfind their way of expressing it. Three performances before various audiences are presented. To highlight emotional issues in the story, a jester is included in the cast, with the role of interrupting the story at appropriate places and asking the audience questions as to the motivations and moods of the characters. This prompts the audience to reflect on their own emotional responses to various difficult situations with which they readily identify. By considering their own viewpoints, and those of others, audience members are stretched in their social and emotional learning. Moreover, it is apparent that, through the drama experience, the actors gain significantly in self-esteem, self-confidence, and their ability to speak in public before an audience (even adult strangers). This article provides a stimulus for using performance of a biblical text to explore options for dealing with traumatic situations.
  • Moltmann speaking at the eco-environmentalists conference: ecology and theology in dialogue

    Resane, Kelebogile Thomas (Stellenbosch University, Faculty of Theology, 2021-01-01)
    This article explains Moltmann's doctrine of ecology as applied by ecotheologians to address the ecological crisis. Ecotheology is highlighted as a critical role-player in the harmonisation of theology and ecology. The role of ecotheology is defined within the ecological crisis in South Africa. The emergence of ecotheology assists scholars to balance and maintain a stable and theologically sensible mode of stewardship, taking a command from the perichoretical example for us to dwell together with God and creation as partners towards creation fulfilment. Moltmann's response to ecological abuse is to provide a Trinitarian theology of the environment that encompasses creation, redemption and anthropology. His theology of the environment attempts to widen its eschatological focus by stressing that humanity and the environment are being redeemed in the coming of God's Kingdom. Moltmann's trinitarian theology, especially from the perichoretical inter-relationship of the triune God, pneumatological application in creation, and humanity's pivotal position and role are all elaborated to support ecological understanding. Humanity as imago Dei are encouraged to move from the traditional view of dominating the earth towards that of becoming partners with God in the eschatological replenishment of the earth. Humans need to take a gigantic leap of acquiring knowledge of the trinitarian creation model suggested by Moltmann's ecological doctrine i.e. God-Creation-Humanity. Human beings must find out what their God-given meaning for the creation is, and when they have done so, their sense of responsibility will be ignited.
  • An Exodus (2:11-22) before Exodus (6:2f): rendering of two events in early biblical versions (MT and Arabic), compared with the Qur'anic (Surah 28:14f) account

    Dockrat, Muhammad Ashraf E (Stellenbosch University, Faculty of Theology, 2021-01-01)
    Exodus is the Latinised form of the Greek word, exodos (going out). Two departures of Moses are reported in the Bible. They are firstly his fleeing from Egypt described in Exodus 2:11-22, and secondly, his departure as member of a mass exodus (Ex. 6:2f). The focus in the article will be on the events leading to his initial leaving of Egypt, and his eventual sojourn in the country of Midian (Ex. 2:11-22). However, it will be shown that certain expressions in Ex. 2:11-22 also feature in the later description of the exodus proper (e.g., Exodus 18 and Numbers 20). Furthermore, parallels will be drawn between the narrations of events in Ex. 2:11-22 and the Qur'anic surah 28:14-28. Similarities will be pointed out, but also differences relating to the imbedding, structure, and theology of the respective accounts. Finally, affinities between the Biblical exodus of Moses and the later hijra of Muhammad will be indicated. As source text for Ex. 3:11-22, the Masoretic version (Leningrad manuscript) will be used. In addition, reference will be made to two 13th century Arabic manuscripts (Sinai Arab 2 and 4) where there is a direct correspondence between their readings and those of the 7th century Qur 'anic Arabic text (e.g., Ex. 2:17 and surah 28:24).
  • Polish Catholic biblical scholarship : development and perspectives

    Chrostowski, Waldemar; Adamczewski, Bartosz (Stellenbosch University, Faculty of Theology, 2021-01-01)
    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.
  • Law and faith in ancient Israel and in modern democratic statehood as search for socio-political wellbeing

    Lombaard, Christo (Stellenbosch University, Faculty of Theology, 2021-01-01)
    In this contribution, the argument pits two cultural reflexes against one another. In modern democracies, religion is removed from the socio-political sphere; in ancient Israel, religion was inserted into the socio-political sphere. In both cases, the intention was the same: the socio-political wellbeing of the citizenry. Such a cultural comparison puts to question the false assumption in modern democracies, that a public sphere emptied of religion constitutes greater freedom.
  • Augustine and Pelagius as a cameo of the dilemma between original sin and free will

    Evans, Annette H.M. (Stellenbosch University, Faculty of Theology, 2021-01-01)
    According to St. Augustine's (354-430) literal reading of the myth of Adam's "fall", sin is transmitted to all humanity and leaves an uncontrollable inclination to sin. Salvation from this "original sin" can be achieved only by the grace of God, but the grace of God was mediated exclusively by the orthodox Roman church through the administration of the sacraments. One of the so-called "heretics" who was prepared to speak out against this authoritarian form of church "orthodoxy" was the Celtic monk Pelagius (360-c.420). He denied that sin is transmitted at birth. He claimed that sin was the result of an act of the will, choosing evil over good - and that divine grace cannot perfect humankind's sanctity without the exercise of one's own free will. Even though science and biblical textual criticism have prompted a new search for coherence between modernity and the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, some or other form of the doctrine of original sin is still being propounded in most Christian denominations today. In view of the tragic baggage that Christianity must bear, the question is raised regarding whether Pelagius's insistence on the choice to exercise free will for good through a Christ-like life would not have led to a more psychologically healthy and effective Christianity? This article employs a History-of-Religion's methodology to probe the politico-cultural historical context during St. Augustine's lifetime to understand how it came about that the doctrine of original sin was established. This article hypothesizes that the possibility (as claimed by Rowan Williams) of a "normative" Christianity containing "an interwoven plurality of perspectives on what was transacted in Jerusalem " is only achievable if the pre-Darwinian doctrine of inborn sin is relinquished in favour of Pelagius's insistence on accountability through an effort of will for good sustained by the grace of God.
  • Luke's use of a Departure-Arrival Formula in the Book of Acts

    Wilson, Mark (Stellenbosch University, Faculty of Theology, 2022-01-01)
    When Saul began to persecute the believers in Jerusalem after Stephen's martyrdom, everyone except the apostles was scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. Among those who began to preach the word was Philip, who went to Samaria proclaiming Christ. Significant to the opening verses of this pericope is Luke's first use of a departure-arrival formula in Acts. This formula, featuring verbal doublets with stock elements, also introduces several other journeys that involve other characters in later chapters. This article will discuss the characteristics of this formula and the texts in Acts where it is used. It will suggest literary precedents for the formula in the Septuagint. Finally, it will discuss other pericopae in Acts where travel is divinely directed and why the formula is not used in them.
  • Convivencia Loading When People of the Way Read Authoritative Scriptures Together

    Mapfeka, Tsaurayi Kudakwashe (Stellenbosch University, Faculty of Theology, 2022-01-01)
    This paper is a preliminary submission of the insights gained from the CIAS Conference (11-13 September 2019) pilot scriptural reading sessions. The empirical component of the CIAS postdoctoral research project includes observing and interacting with groups of active adherents of the three Abrahamic faiths, taking note of how people of faith appropriate meaning to their own authoritative scriptures and those of others. As a precursor to that exercise, a related protocol was rolled out at the event of the 2019 CIAS conference to pilot the exercise. This paper aims to offer a summative view of the notations from these sessions and to show how these are of value going forward. Three texts have been selected, one from each scriptural tradition of the three faiths, namely the Hebrew Bible, the Christian Bible, and the Qur 'an.
  • Performing psalms of lament: does God (off-stage) respond to the complainant's cry?

    Dickie, June F (Stellenbosch University, Faculty of Theology, 2020-01-01)
    The underlying complaint in the psalms of lament is God's apparent silence or lack of intervention in a difficult situation. However, performing a psalm of lament suggests that this might not be the case. Performing any psalm requires one to identify the various speakers and addressees at different points. In the case of psalms of lament, the possibility arises of a representative of God's voice entering the dialogue. There are several clues within the text that suggest this interpretation, the main one being the dramatic change in mood evident in many lament psalms. Another one is comparison with lament psalms where the voice of God is cited. Also, the nature of poetry allows hearers to draw on their own experience to make sense of "gaps" in the text, and for different voices in literary text to speak without the use of speech introducers. Further clues emerge from a study of speech-act theory and the way that conversation-partners use language in relating to one another. If one discerns that the voice of God is represented in some form in lament psalms, this has important theological, hermeneutical, liturgical, and pastoral implications. A performance or liturgical reading of a lament psalm (sensitive to the different voices and indicating the possibility of a conversation taking place) can help hearers discern that a voice representing God does respond to the complainant's cry. This encourages contemporary sufferers as they identify with the lamenter and hear some response to help them in their situations.
  • Towards a new understading of the curse of Eve: female sexual pain in Genesis 3:16 and other ancient texts

    van Dijk-Coombes, Renate Marian (Stellenbosch University, Faculty of Theology, 2020-01-01)
    Painful sexual intercourse is the lived experience of many women, but little research has been done on the condition, and it is seldom discussed, either in private conversations or in the media. This appears to also have been true in ancient society, where few texts mention pain associated with sexual intercourse. Three ancient sources may reference or address the condition, these being Ramesseum Medical Papyrus IV, dating from the 13th Dynasty of Egypt during the 18th century BCE, Enki and Ninhursaga, a Sumerian mythical narrative, and Gen 3:16, the so-called Curse of Eve. This article will examine these three sources, analysing the translations of specific words and how these affect the understanding of the relevant passages. The paper will further investigate specifically the message which Gen 3:16 gives to women suffering from painful sexual intercourse, and how religious orthodoxy and a strict upbringing can be both a factor in the development of painful sexual intercourse, as well as an inhibiting factor in the treatment thereof
  • The enfolding of one organisation into another: a conflict of identity and a quest for meaning

    Kabongo, Kasebwe Timothee Luc (Stellenbosch University, Faculty of Theology, 2020-01-01)
    This research investigates the enfolding of InnerCHANGE into Novo. These are two organisations with distinct identities that joined forces in 1985, and InnerCHANGE became one of the collectives under Novo. When they came together, they agreed to prioritise the evangelistic mandate of the church. They fleshed out their agreement into a hybrid model encompassing four areas of growth. These areas of growth are quantitative, qualitative, organic and incarnational. When these have been put to good use, they have contributed positively to their common purpose. However, this hybrid model seems to be a compromise that neither of these organisations fully adhere to. They do not focus equally on the four areas of growth. Sometimes an area of growth is portrayed as the best expression of their common purpose at the expense of others, which has stirred up some tensions in the organisations. This article reflects on the fruitfulness of the cohabitation of Novo and InnerCHANGE, and how this plays out on the local team level of InnerCHANGE South Africa. It also engages the existing tensions around the agreed upon four areas of growth to bring reconciliation and draw wisdom from it. The article is structured around how the cohabitation between Novo and InnerCHANGE started, cross-fertilisation, interaction with internal tensions and how the four areas of growth play out at a local InnerCHANGE level. It concludes that an intentional implementation of the four areas of growth by both Novo and InnerCHANGE could generate much wisdom and effectiveness in terms of their common purpose.
  • Past, present and future of biblical scholarship in Latvia

    Petrenko, Ester; Balode, Dace (Stellenbosch University, Faculty of Theology, 2021-01-01)
    How did geo-politics and history influence the development of biblical scholarship in Latvia in the last one hundred years (1920-present)? This essay explores the three major periods of Latvia's recent history - the first period of Latvian independence (1920-1940), the Soviet occupation (1940-1990), and the second period of Latvian independence (from 1990 onwards) - and it shows that a constant throughout these three periods is how German scholarship and the historical-critical method have shaped biblical studies in Latvia. The first period of independence was considered the 'golden age ' of biblical exegesis in contrast with the period of Soviet occupation, when there was a stagnation of biblical scholarship and a disconnect with the progressive scholarly debate in the West, as well as a distorted hermeneutical framework. The revived hope of a robust biblical scholarship in the second period of independence also resurrected the long-standing dispute between the perceived liberal and conservative approaches to biblical studies and theology, and re-established the divide between the Faculty of Theology and other theological institutions. This has weakened the relationship between academic theological education and church life, and limited cooperation and biblical debate between scholars and institutions. Furthermore, longstanding German influence in biblical scholarship has been slowly giving way to a wider international scholarly community. This paper concludes that the future of biblical scholarship in Latvia needs to develop on a national and international level. Scholars and institutions need to learn how to cooperate towards robust biblical research and establish a dialogue with not just the German-speaking world but also the wider international (English-speaking) community. This will bring Latvian scholars to an environment where they can engage with and contribute to the international biblical debate.
  • Crossing Boundaries. The transformative potential of intercultural bible reading in secular / post-secular contexts

    Jonker, Louis C. (Stellenbosch University, Faculty of Theology, 2021-01-01)
    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.
  • Reading the New Testament stereoscopically

    Nel, Marius J (Stellenbosch University, Faculty of Theology, 2021-01-01)
    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.
  • "We are forgotten": the plight of persons with disability in youth ministry

    Amenyedzi, Seyram (Stellenbosch University, Faculty of Theology, 2021-01-01)
    Why are many churches in Africa inaccessible to persons with disability? This question has informed missiological qualitative research on the accessibility for persons with disability in churches in Ghana. Swinton (2002:29) coins the phrase the '"forgotten dimension' of spirituality", which depicts the way persons with disability have been neglected in the ministry of many churches. Research in Ghana has proven that accessibility for persons with disability in churches is an afterthought reflecting exclusion from youth ministry as well. This article proposes to address the issue of inclusion/exclusion from a missio Dei perspective, challenging youth ministries to take deliberate steps to include persons with disability in their praxis.
  • The (ir)relevance of biblical scholarship ? A challenge, and an opportunity

    Giffone, Benjamin D (Stellenbosch University, Faculty of Theology, 2021-01-01)
    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.
  • God of the dead and the living: understanding Romans 14:9 in terms of its intertextual relationships

    Du Toit, Philip (Stellenbosch University, Faculty of Theology, 2021-01-01)
    In this article, Paul's reference to Christ being the Lord of both the dead and the living in Romans 14:9 is interpreted in terms of a well-established tradition in the early church that Christ descended into the realm of the dead to proclaim his victory and judgement over evil as well as to announce and accomplish the salvation of historical Israel. This tradition can be related to various NT texts, especially Jesus ' reference to God being the God not of the dead but the living (Mt 22:23-33; Mk 12:18-27; Lk 20:27-50), the notion that God (1 Pt 4:3-6) or Jesus is the judge of the living and the dead (Ac 10:42; 2 Tm 4:1), texts alluding to the underworld (Lk 16:19-31) or Jesus ' descent to the realm of the dead (Rm 10:7; 1 Pt 3:18-20:4:6; Eph 4:9), texts that point to the patriarchs being alive (Heb 11:13-16) as well as texts that point to the resurrection of OT saints (Jn 5:25-29; Mt 27:51-53). The interpretative tradition of Christ's descent to the underworld and his salvation of historical Israel is also clearly identified in the writings of the early church. These intertextual relationships that Romans 14:9 shares with many other texts in the early church paint the broader picture of an early Christian tradition about Christ's reign over the dead against which this text is to be interpreted, which in turn has profound implications for the significance of Christ's death and resurrection in Paul's theology.
  • Tithing in Deuteronomy 14:22-29 and its implications to Pentecostal churches in Nigeria

    Uroko, Favour C. (Stellenbosch University, Faculty of Theology, 2021-01-01)
    Although Deuteronomy 14:22-29 is understood traditionally in Pentecostal churches in Nigeria to be a call for members of the church to bring their tithes for the pastor's sustenance, this article argues that the theology of Deuteronomy 14:22-29 also includes care and support for widows, orphans, and strangers. It demonstrates that tithing in Deuteronomy 14:22-29 was to be used to improve the life of the poor and needy in ancient Israel. Literature has focused on the reality of paying tithes in Pentecostal churches in Nigeria, but research is scanty on why the number of poor people in Pentecostal churches continue to increase despite that they pay their tithes. It is assumed that understanding tithing in Deuteronomy 14:22-29 will speak anew to the challenge of the neglect of the poor and needy in Pentecostal churches in Nigeria. The pericope reveals that God has a special concern for the poor and that all are called to provide for the poor and the needy.
  • The bible as book of beauty: on the role of biblical aesthetics in secularised times and contexts

    de Villlers, Pieter G.R. (Stellenbosch University, Faculty of Theology, 2021-01-01)
    This article investigates reasons for the decline in relevance of the Bible in social and religious discourse as a result of secularisation in contemporary times. It firstly analyses how a particular scientific ideal in the religious discourse has contributed to this decline, as well as ecclesiastical dogmatism, anti-intellectualism and the weaponising of religion that promoted and resulted in Bible-fatigue. In the second major section, a turn in the state of affairs is analysed, with attention to the contribution of contextual theologies to theoretical reflection about reductionist intellectualism and more recently, the promotion of aesthetic insights. In a third section, the article investigates more fully the aesthetic nature of the Bible that has often contributed to a reinvigorating of the Bible. The article concludes with the proposal that it is a spiritual reading that is explicitly approached from an aesthetical perspective that will create consciousness and knowledge of the Bible's beauty and mediate its transformative potential, and this will help counter the secularising trend that marginalised the Bible.
  • The relationship between the Markan άφίημι-chreia and the historical Jesus

    Nel, Marius Johannes (Stellenbosch University, Faculty of Theology, 2016-01-01)
    The theme of Jesus and the forgiveness of sin has always been a contentious one within historical Jesus research. This article gives a brief overview of the debate on the authenticity of various forgiveness logia in the Jesus tradition, as well as the different criteria that have been used in the past in an attempt to validate them. It focuses on two specific forgiveness logia in the Markan tradition (2:1-12, 3:20-35) in order to assess whether the manner in which they have been crafted as chreia can provide insight into how the άφίημι logia of Jesus have been preserved in the pre-Markan tradition.

View more