Verbum et Ecclesia is a theological research journal that challenges traditional discourses within and between the fields of biblical, religious, social and human sciences as well as the constructive engagement with the natural sciences. It is an instrument of engagement between theological disciplines, on the one hand, and theology and other disciplines, on the other. This periodical is juridically connected to the Centre for Ministerial Development (Excelsus), located at the Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria. English, Afrikaans and Sepedi are the languages of publication which makes the journal unique.

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The Globethics library contains articles of Verbum et Ecclesia as of vol. 2(1981) to current.

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  • On traumatised mothers and children? Re-reading Lamentations through the lens of trauma

    Zukile Ngqeza (AOSIS, 2024-06-01)
    Lamentations 2:20 and 4:10 are biblical texts described as ‘texts of terror’ as well as traumatic biblical texts where ‘tender-hearted women have eaten their children’ (NLT). As Lamentations 2:20 and 4:10 mention a traumatic event, a trauma biblical approach will be utilised to read these biblical texts. The biblical trauma hermeneutics challenges the traditional and judgemental reading of traumatic events as well as the social, cultural and intellectual power of those who tell the stories of the traumatised victims in the Bible and contemporary society. This study will demonstrate the ways in which trauma theory when applied to reading these biblical texts, challenges and subverts the narrator’s version of these biblical texts. Ultimately, the mothers in these biblical texts will be presented as victims of biblical collective trauma rather than as mere murderers and eaters of their children. Transdisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: This study displays intersections between Psychology and Biblical Studies. In this article, Trauma Theory is used to read and interpret Lamentations 2:20 and 4:10. This study is interdisciplinary because I make use of psychology and trauma scholars to read Old Testament texts.
  • Decolonising theological education in the eyes of African Theologians: Lessons for the church

    Peter Masvotore (AOSIS, 2024-06-01)
    Sub-Saharan African countries including Zimbabwe taught and continue to teach students in ministerial formation Western theology using pedagogy that is not contextual to address African concerns. The quality of education and the methods used do not prepare students to encounter the challenges of the dynamic global, social, economic and technological environmental advancement. The definition of theology as the study of God needs to be rethought because theology is not only the study of God. Instead, it involves the study of how God interacts with His creation. This expanded definition has allowed some theologians the likes of Canaan Banana and others to scratch where Africa itches in the bid to meet the goals of Agenda 2063 of the Africa we want. Using desk research, this article seeks to explore decolonisation in theological education in the spectacles of some African theologians in order to draw lessons for the church in Zimbabwe. Through their insights that deal with aspirations and passion of the African continent, the article concludes by suggesting African teaching methods that are contemporary to the needs of Africans for sustainable development as a way to decolonise theology. Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: A call to decolonise theological education in the spectacles of African theological giants brings insights for the church to be relevant in Africa, in line with achieving Agenda 2030 and 2063 goals. This subject matter is informed from the discipline of theology, political theology, political science, education as well as sociology.
  • Inclusivity in youth ministry praxis and the challenge of mainline church attrition

    Michael W. Droege; Malan Nel (AOSIS, 2024-06-01)
    Despite a century of professional development in youth ministry, the American church continues to face generational attrition. This article explores this paradox, employing practical theology to scrutinise the historical praxis and philosophies shaping 20th-century youth ministry. I have taken Nel’s work on inclusive missional ecclesiology as my basic point of departure, analysing four interconnected ‘texts’: Ecclesiological perspective, a historical review of youth ministry evolution, adolescents’ developmental locus within congregations, and a qualitative study featuring interviews with members from seven American churches involved in youth ministry. The investigation highlights the necessity for a paradigm shift in youth ministry from an exclusive programme to a more inclusive missional approach. It urges recognising adolescents as equals in congregational life, fostering an environment that not only retains but also nurtures them as indispensable community members. By adhering to this reformed vision, the church can address the persistent crisis of generational attrition effectively, encouraging the collaborative growth of the American church with the active participation of its adolescent members. It suggests a path forward that sees youth not as future church, but active contributors to the contemporary church ecosystem. Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: This research guides churches in considering the theological, sociological, and developmental implications of adolescent inclusion through the lens of missional ecclesiology, suggesting adolescent inclusion is critical to contextual missional praxis.
  • Table of Contents Vol 44, No 1 (2023)

    Editorial Office (AOSIS, 2024-06-01)
  • Augustine on theosis and divine illumination as the theologic framework for decolonisation

    Godfrey T. Baleng (AOSIS, 2024-06-01)
    This study examined the plausibility and role of theosis in Augustine’s theory of divine illumination as a theologic framework for decolonising theology. Theologic refers to God’s revelation about himself and his nature. Therefore, through an analysis of Augustine’s dogmatic treatise concerning the nature of the Holy Trinity, this article argues that Augustine’s theory of divine illumination is a precedent for God to speak about himself. Moreover, this theory of divine illumination is useful in developing a non-biased theoretical framework for decolonialism in theology today. At the centre of this theory is the inability of human beings to possess and command true knowledge as a result of inherent sin. However, in contrast, this highlights the graceful nature of God as he assists us in partaking in his glory and wisdom through theosis. Therefore, by incorporating Augustine’s philosophical analyses into empirical studies, the purpose of this study was to discuss the following: (1) The theologic of Augustine’s theory of divine illumination in the process of decolonising theology; (2) Augustine’s comprehension and use of divine procession through a triadic function of the human mind in his treatise De Trinitate; and (3) the role and plausibility of theosis because of God’s love in the process of learning and teaching. Through critical analysis of Augustine’s philosophical thought, this study develops an ethical theoretical framework for decolonising theology. Thus, the key contention is to succinctly present Augustine’s dogmatic thought rationally and logically in the process of his pragmatic stance. Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: This article develops an ethical theoretical framework for decolonising theology based on Augustine’s theory of divine illumination. The theologic of his divine illumination theory posits the pragmatic stance of his inner teacher concept, which he argued was the one true teacher in his philosophical treaties. Conversely, the study of decolonisation advocates for the inculturation of knowledge as an inclusive praxis that does not perpetuate a Eurocentric worldview. Thus, the authority of Augustine’s inner teacher concept in his theory of divine illumination becomes ideal and fundamental in developing ethical hermeneutical praxis because of God’s love.
  • ’n Teologie van Hoop vir die NG Kerk: ’n Vergete versugting?

    Pieter Kruger (AOSIS, 2024-06-01)
    A theology of hope for the Dutch Reformed Church. A forgotten yearning? During Prof. Piet Meiring’s discussion of the Dutch Reformed Church’s ‘Year of Hope’ in 2001, he argued that the societal issues of reconciliation, poverty and moral regeneration on which the church focused that year, necessitated a theology of hope towards which theologians of different disciplines should contribute. In this article is explored whether to pursue such an endeavour more than two decades since the Year of Hope. Therefore, from a church historiographic viewpoint, aspects of Jürgen Moltmann’s ideas on a theology of hope within a context of injustices are revisited to assert their current relevance. In addition, more recent theological developments concerning the horizontal dimension of Christological hope within society are considered as well. In this regard reference is made to relevant ideas of the Emergent Church movement and its historical continuance. Reflecting on the current South African context and its socio-political, economic and environmental challenges, the need for a theology of hope is considered relevant to the church in order to establish credible relationships and engage strategically with society in need of hope itself. Interdisciplinary implications: This article contains reviewed material of historical relevance and is, therefore, conducted within the field of Church Historiography. In further consideration of a Theology of Hope the opportunity arises for interdisciplinary collaboration of theological disciplines such as Systematic Theology and Practical Theology.
  • Examining corruption in biblical texts through deontological and virtue ethical codes

    Mlamli Diko (AOSIS, 2024-06-01)
    In contemporary contexts, the understanding of corruption is different from what is illustrated in biblical narratives. Conversely, some of the ways in which corruption is contested and addressed in biblical narratives prove to be applicable in contemporary contexts, particularly in the jurisdictions of leadership and governance, politics and community service. Therefore, this article aims to critique how corruption is (re)produced in the Bible. The objective is to underline that whereas the Bible is a primordial narrative, it mirrors some challenges that adversely affect the contemporary contexts, with special reference to corruption. To advance the aim of this article, deontological and virtue ethical codes are applied as theoretical frameworks to uncover corruption within the Bible. This article makes three notable findings. Firstly, corruption undermines public trust, while it erodes self-reliance in the rule of law. Secondly, corruption is depicted as a moral and spiritual decomposition that erodes the foundational values of morality and conformity to God. Thirdly, the Bible depicts corruption as a transgression of the commandments and moral ethos. Nevertheless, in response to corruption, there are instances in which God pronounces verdicts and imposes retribution. The conclusion underlines that the comprehension of corruption is intricately interwoven and requires scholarly dialogues to unmask any covert denotations. Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: This article is interdisciplinary as it elicits discernments from the theological discipline and ethical codes that are interlaced in social, economic and political dimensions. The integration of perceptions from philosophy, ethics and literary critique warrants a worthy discourse that forms juxtaposition.
  • Ecological crisis and the church: A proposal for biblical stewardship as a nexus for environmental protection

    Christopher Magezi (AOSIS, 2024-06-01)
    There is a growing global concern for environmental issues, and stakeholders, including governments, are trying to address the situation in various ways. However, not many churches are involved in climate change endeavours, regardless of the prevalence of eco-theologies that challenge them to act as responsible custodians of God’s creation. Given this, the aim of this article was to propose and discuss biblical stewardship as a nexus for environmental protection. This literature-based study reviewed existing studies on the current ecological concerns. The study investigated how various stakeholders, including the World Council of Churches (WCC), as a representative voice of many churches, were combating environmental degradation. Further, the article discussed stewardship from a biblical redemptive historical approach, so as to challenge the Church and, consequently, Christians to start partaking in environmental protection initiatives, or continue to do so. The article concluded by advancing that if the Church adheres to its holistic mission, instead of solely focussing on evangelism, it would be possible for society to practise sustainable environmental management. Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: The article focussed on current ecological crisis and Church responses. It discussed the concept of biblical stewardship from systematic and missional theological perspectives, so as to stimulate the Church to join other stakeholders in seeking ways to address the pervasive environmental concerns. The article contributed to environmental discourse by examining the existing literature on the current ecological concerns and evaluating various stakeholders’ efforts in combating related disaster.
  • A political theology for the Ghanaian context from Christ’s perspective

    Isaac Boaheng (AOSIS, 2024-05-01)
    One of the key challenges facing contemporary Ghana is ineffective political structures and leadership. Leadership failure is the main reason why Ghana continues to experience socio-economic challenges such as poverty, hunger, poor education system, poor road networks, injustice, high unemployment rate, human right abuse, and local currency depreciation despite the country’s vast natural resources. Ghana’s socio-economic problems continue to attract scholarly attention and yet, the problems persist. As a predominantly Christian nation, the church has a major responsibility to engage the country’s political space by analysing and scrutinising political structures with the effect of chatting a new path of socio-economic and political developments. This research was, therefore, conducted to contribute to the ongoing discussion by exploring how a contextual application of political and leadership lessons embedded in Jesus’s teaching in Mark 10:35–45 might address the Ghana’s political needs. The article is a qualitative research that analysed data collected from books, Bible commentaries, journal articles, and dissertations. Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: This research involves systematic and/or political theology, New Testament studies, and leadership and/or governance. It argues that for Ghana to overcome her political challenges, leadership must be seen as a position of service rather than an opportunity to amass wealth at the expense of others. The article contributes to the field of political theology in the Ghanaian setting.
  • Kerklike tug: Verleentheid of nuwe geleentheid?

    Johan M. van der Merwe; Bianca R. Van Graan (AOSIS, 2024-05-01)
    Church discipline: embarrassment or a new opportunity? In 2004, 2007 and 2011 the General Synod of the Dutch Reformed Church decided that the way in which church discipline functions in the church, should be researched and investigated. This article is based on the doctoral study of the co-author, who tragically died of COVID-19 during the pandemic of 2020-2021. She investigated the development of church discipline in the Dutch Reformed Church from 1652 to the present day, to determine why church discipline has become an embarrassment to the church. This article is based on a part of the outcome of her research. The article discusses the purpose, nature of and need for church discipline, and states that the way in which members of the church understand discipline in the church, should change. The authors emphasise that church discipline must be built on the foundation of brotherly love within the framework of tolerant care. This will not only help to change the understanding of informal and formal church discipline but will also challenge the church to create a safe space for confession, forgiveness, and reconciliation. By doing so, church discipline as tolerant care will become part of the spiritual journey of members of the church. As such, it will change from being an embarrassment to becoming a huge opportunity for spiritual growth. Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: The article focuses on church discipline as tolerant care. In doing so, church discipline does not only function as part of the study field of Church Polity, but it also incorporates Practical Theology. The most important implication is that discipline is understood as care.
  • The selection of narrative information in John 6:1–14 and 22–71: On focalisation

    Risimati S. Hobyane (AOSIS, 2024-05-01)
    The article is part of a series of investigations into the Johannine text, specifically focussing on the performative nature of focalisation. Previous contributions by the researcher posited and illustrated that the construction of a narrative involves a deliberate intention by the author to prompt the reader to take action based on their reading. The present article continues to explore the pragmatic power of the narrative of John 6:1–14 and 22–71, utilising focalisation as an analytical tool. The analysis underscores what the narrative strives to teach, revealing Jesus as the bread of life, crucial for satisfying the hunger of the soul, that is salvation leading to eternal life. The careful selection of narrative materials in this passage aligns with the overarching purpose of the Fourth Gospel, as outlined in 20:30–31, and is deemed to have a performative function towards the reader. Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary: The article’s unique contribution lies in demonstrating that traditional exegetical methods, for example, grammatical-historical approach and others, can be supplemented by literary critical methods such as focalisation to expound or extract meaning from biblical narratives. In this article, the field of (traditional) hermeneutics is supplemented by a literary critical approach to get the better of what the text can offer to the reader.
  • Tertullian and Montanism: Ancient Sabbath and its implications for Pentecostalism

    Gernaida K. R. Pakpahan; Anggi M. Hasiholan (AOSIS, 2024-05-01)
    The Sabbath is widely observed differently among Christians, including Pentecostals. Different interpretations of the Sabbath cause this difference. According to Pentecostals, it is necessary to trace the history of the ancient Church to find the meaning of the Sabbath. This article explores Tertullian’s thoughts on the Sabbath before and after joining Montanism. The research method used in this article is descriptive qualitative with a historical approach. The research results show significant differences in Tertullian’s understanding of the Sabbath before and after joining Montanism. Montanism changed Tertullian’s view of the Sabbath in the context of respect and the essence of honouring the Sabbath. However, both of Tertullian’s understandings have contributed to the Pentecostal understanding of the Sabbath. Pentecostals understand the Sabbath as a relationship with Christ that leads to eternity because it has eschatological meaning. Towards eternity, it must be maintained while still in the world. Honouring the Sabbath changed from the seventh day to the eighth day because it aims to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus. Intradisciplinary and interdisciplinary implications: The Sabbath is a time of rest and joy associated with Jesus’s Resurrection. The concept of the Sabbath originates from Tertullian’s thoughts before and after joining Montanism, which provides a broad dimension to the theme of the Sabbath in Creation theology. This research has implications for studying the history of Christianity and the concept of the Sabbath in the Pentecostal Church in Indonesia.
  • Election violence in Africa: Using John 1:1 ‘Eν ἀρχῇ’ as a remedial solution

    Canisius Mwandayi; Martin Mukole (AOSIS, 2024-05-01)
    Whilst the term ‘elections’ insinuates some democratic space within a given electorate, elections on the African continent have often displayed an opposite trajectory as they tend to thwart that democratic space. Many a time, they have been characterised by sharp divisions leading thus to violence and atrocities of every kind. It is a great concern for unity in our motherland, Africa, which generates interest in this article to proffer a roadmap that can help address challenges that threaten to swirl the continent into a state of constant chaos and locus known for manslaughter. Using a hermeneutic of identification or cultural hermeneutics whereby readers identify themselves with the biblical characters and culture, we make reference to John 1:1 ἐν ἀρχῇ, which speaks unity in the Godhead as our roadmap. The text shows that unity is one of the intrinsic values of the community born out of their ontological unity. In the same way, disciples of the community of God must be characterized by unity while they are still in the world. It is thus our argument that Africans in their interpersonal relationships, including their political interactions, need to mirror the oneness of the Trinity and not follow the dictates of their societies plagued by social classifications. Interdisciplinary implications: The issue of violence is by definition of multi-disciplinary interest. This contribution addresses the ever-recurring problem of election violence in Africa, which is also of significance within multiple disciplines including biblical studies, gender studies, political theology as well as even history.
  • Memories of Zion in Exile: A contextual reading of the Ironical ‘Bitter Beatitudes’ of Psalm 137

    Blessing O. Boloje (AOSIS, 2024-05-01)
    While one’s memory might not always be flawless, possibly because of forgetfulness, memory loss, or selective recall, there are certain memories that demand to be remembered. These memories can flow through people’s lives like rivers. Psalm 137 depicts a compelling backdrop and scenario that closely mirrors the actual experiences of individuals and their recollections. This Psalm is regarded as the most direct and poignant recollection of the Babylonian exile in the entire Psalter. Although some may find the desires expressed in the Psalm troubling and unsuitable for New Testament believers, it aligns with Israel’s theological and liturgical response to undeserved or unavoidable suffering. It serves as an entreaty to Yahweh (YHWH), the ultimate source of strength amid powerlessness and hope amid hopelessness. Consequently, Psalm 137 represents a substantial theological statement with contemporary relevance. This article draws a parallel between the emotional anguish experienced by the psalmist, stemming from their unfavourable socioeconomic circumstances, and the similarly oppressive socioeconomic, and psychological conditions faced by many in contemporary times. Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: This article employs the principle of contemporaneity while engaging with the biblical, literary, and exegetical scope of Psalm 137 to establish a theological rationale and contextual adaptation for this retaliatory Psalm attributed to David. The theological assertion is that in a society marked by violence and abuse, where there exists a sinister conspiracy of brutality, invoking YHWH’s intervention by breaking the silence indeed has the potential to effect change. This theological datum makes Psalms 137 resonates in the memory of many today.
  • Enhancing youth involvement in community development: A pragmatic strategy for local churche

    Mawethu Msebi; Jacques W. Beukes (AOSIS, 2024-05-01)
    This article reports on the findings of the Christian youth ministry involvement in community development in the Mayibuye community of Tembisa, in the Gauteng province of South Africa. The article employed Richard Osmer’s model of the four tasks of practical theological interpretation. These tasks have been used to understand better what is happening in youth ministry and community development contexts in the Mayibuye community by utilising documentary analysis and in-depth semi-structured interviews. The findings divulged that the Mayibuye community faces several socio-economic challenges. Most importantly, young people are the most affected. Furthermore, the findings exposed that youth involvement is limited in community development processes within local communities. As a result, the article proposes implementing a pragmatic strategy to enhance the youth ministry’s involvement in community development. Various principles of the youth ministry have been presented in the study as the essential principles that need youth leaders’ attention for functional youth ministry, and to achieve developmental outcomes. The study also recommended further empirical studies on youth culture, the importance of young people’s inclusion in leadership roles and the use of young people as catalysts for community transformation. Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: The anticipated outcomes of this research endeavour are poised to make a valuable contribution to the current corpus of knowledge in various academic domains, including Practical Theology, Youth Ministry, Theology and Development, Community Development, Congregational Studies, Missiology, Anthropology, and Sociology. This contribution suggests that adopting a pragmatic strategy is likely to yield positive outcomes for local churches, youth ministry, and community development as a whole.
  • Evolving belief and being human: The emergence of religion in science and theology

    Bernice Serfontein (AOSIS, 2024-05-01)
    Every human society as well as almost all human life is infused with ethics. There is common acknowledgement that morality and ethics are indispensable in addressing the serious global challenges humanity is faced with today. However, we seemed to have lost our grip on what morality is. How do we best understand human morality and ethics? This research argues that responsible ethics rests on a credible understanding of what it means to be human. The following exploration of the emergence of religion within the science and religion discourse formed part of a series of three seminars that have as their main objective to address a giant void regarding ethical and moral reflection within our society. This research was part of the discourse of the first seminar with the following main research question: What do we learn from the empirical study of morality (in the evolutionary sciences, the neurosciences, cultural anthropology, sociology, and moral psychology) about the sources, functions and characteristics of morality, and its relation to religion? This study offers an exploration of our capacity for religious awareness and belief against the background of niche construction theory. The capacity for imagination seems to have contributed to human evolutionary success and consequently our religious disposition. This transdisciplinary study combines perspectives of some of the most prominent interlocutors in the contemporary discourse on the emergence of religious awareness. By integrating the numerous perspectives evident in this study, this research explores how evolutionary thought can be constructively appropriated to interdisciplinary theology and ethics. Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: This article explores the origin of religious awareness and belief as part of a larger discourse on morality in history. The interdisciplinary conversation covers the fields of evolutionary anthropology and theology within the contemporary science-theology discourses.
  • Promoting family well-being: A practical and eco-theological engagement

    Fazel E. Freeks (AOSIS, 2024-05-01)
    The importance of family well-being relates to the eco-theological discourse, ecology and family. Father absence, gender-based violence (GBV), and moral and values quandaries are social ills in society and are linked with eco-theology by shared values. Ecological issues are pressing concerns in the modern world. This article asserts that eco-theology, a form of constructive theology, focuses on the intricate connections among religion, nature, society, the church, and, notably, the ‘family’ as a vital social unit. From a theological perspective, human beings and the relationships in which they function, are grounded in the very Being of God. However, societal perspectives often depict families as afflicted, fractured entities marred by violence. Disruptions in family life reverberate throughout society, undermining its foundational moral fabric. Amid significant shifts in family structures, South Africa is observing a growing prevalence of fractured relationships, further exacerbating societal challenges. Scriptural teachings, part of the intervention, offer guidance for navigating life’s complexities, including within the family, faith communities and broader society (2 Tim 3:16). Thus, this article aims to contribute insights to this critical discourse. Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: This article underscores the role of pastoral care within practical theology, particularly in addressing prevalent social challenges encountered by families. These challenges encompass issues such as father absence, divorce, erosion of values and immoral behaviour. The imperative for developing pastoral care strategies to tackle these issues is evident. These strategies may involve equipping families with necessary skills and support.
  • Decolonial thinking and Europe: Decolonisation between particularity and universalism

    Johann-Albrecht Meylahn (AOSIS, 2024-05-01)
    Colonisation continues to have a tremendous impact on large parts of the globe and not only on previously colonised countries. Many of the current geopolitical, economic and environmental challenges that the globe faces cannot be thought of without taking decolonial thinking into consideration. In his Preface to Fanon’s book, The Wretched of the Earth, Jean-Paul Sartre argues that this book is not written for Europeans, yet he challenges Europeans to read it. It is between such particularism and universalism that this article will engage with decolonial thinking in the context of the globe’s various geopolitical, environmental and political challenges. Europe’s colonial claim to universalism cannot be separated from Christendom. In this article, this Christian colonial universalism will be brought into conversation with an attempt at a decolonial theology. Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: The article is an interdisciplinary conversation between philosophy and theology.
  • A holistic ubuntu artificial intelligence ethics approach in South Africa

    Katleho K. Mokoena (AOSIS, 2024-05-01)
    Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the most spoken-about topics in the media, academia, government and other platforms. One of the aspects that is often discussed is the ethical implications of AI and approaches to mitigate the risks. Artificial intelligence has an undeniable impact on industries as well as socio-economic structures; however, this article focusses on the impact of AI on three concerns mainly, humanity, spirituality and the environment. This article is an interdisciplinary study of African theological ethics and the philosophy of technology. It discusses the theological implications (doctrinal issues) of emerging technologies, particularly AI. It discusses technology as power which has impacted Africa since the first industrial revolution and emphasises the importance of African ethics in the context of AI in Africa. This article critically discusses ubuntu ethics and its critique. It focuses on AI and its impact on humanity, spirituality and the environment, and proposes a holistic ubuntu AI ethics approach in South Africa. Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: This article is an interdisciplinary study of African theological ethics and the philosophy of technology. Ubuntu ethics in this article derives from African Theology and African Philosophy. Ubuntu AI ethics is important for various disciplines such as theology, law, social sciences, computer sciences and information technology (especially designers and developers).
  • The pragmatic nature of focalisation in John 4:1–42: Reading John as a performative text

    Risimati S. Hobyane (AOSIS, 2024-04-01)
    This article suggests that the process of crafting a narrative reflects the author’s intentional introduction of bias to guide the reader towards taking specific actions based on their reading. The reader is intentionally steered towards a particular cognitive and pragmatic engagement with the text through the author’s selection, organisation and presentation of narrative materials. This claim forms the impetus for the current exploration. The article explores the pragmatic nature and/or power of the author’s selection of narrative material in John 4:1–42 on the reader. It seeks to demonstrate that the selection and presentation of narrative material are not neutral in their pragmatic intent. While acknowledging a few insightful contributions to this topic, this article contends that certain pragmatic dynamics related to narrative material selection have not been extensively explored by scholars, particularly in the context of utilising focalisation as an analytical tool. Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary: The distinctive contribution of the article lies in its demonstration that focalisation, when employed as an analytical tool, particularly in the context of John 4:1–42, exerts pragmatic effects on the implied reader of the text.

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