What is the relation between ethical discernment and liturgy? Do Christian rituals provide enough space for ethical thinking? What is the nature of the certainty that discernment in ritual is correct? This study explores these questions in the context of the recent debate on the relationship between liturgy and ethics. It proceeds in five steps. Firstly, it briefly outlines the question of the foundation of Christian ethics with the help of the theology of Karl Barth. Secondly, it presents the joint task of ethics and liturgy, which teach us to see the world sub specie Christi. Thirdly, following Gordon Lathrop, it treats the problem of ritual constructing false worldviews: the hierarchical distortion, the distortion of the closed circle, and spiritual consumerism. In the next part, it explores how different ritual strategies open the space for actual ethical thinking in liturgy. The last part focuses on the role of biblical narrative, images, and symbols that represent the crucial source of the discerning worldview. The concluding reflection returns to the opening questions arguing that our discernment must be always aware of its particularity and perspective. The unbroken certainty of seeing can only be placed on the eschatological horizon.
Acta Universitatis Carolinae Theologica, Vol 1, Iss 1, Pp 37-51 (2020)
christian social ethics, bible, biblical hermeneutics, Christianity, and BR1-1725
The aim of the article is to present the relationship between Christian social ethics and the Bible as well as the related methodological approaches and limits. A correct handling of the biblical texts in theological ethics implies a differentiated approach. This includes fi rst the knowledge of the complexity that arises when applying biblical texts to the ethical refl ection of contemporary problems, secondly the familiarity with biblical hermeneutics, and thirdly the interdisciplinary cooperation with theological as well as non-theological sciences. The presented thoughts should contribute to a better understanding of Christian social ethics as a theological discipline as well as its methodological procedure.
Acta Universitatis Carolinae Theologica, Vol 1, Iss 1, Pp 99-117 (2020)
czech biblical work, editions of the czech bible, slovene bible translation, Christianity, and BR1-1725
The article presents an initiative arisen in the milieu of a small evangelical church Unity of Czech Brethren (Brethren Church since 1967). It was a Czech Biblical Work in the town of Kutna Hora which in a short period developed a remarkable activity in publishing bibles and in propagating the Gospel in the Czech lands and partly also abroad.
Graham Greene, Monsignor Quixote, Spanish Catholic Church, Bible intertextuality, Spain’s transition to democracy, Literature (General), and PN1-6790
When Graham Greene wrote Monsignor Quixote (published in 1982), one of his aims was to reflect critically on the role of the Catholic Church in the Spain of the late 1970s, as well as on the support this institution offered to the former dictatorship of Franco within the so called ‘National Catholicism.’ In this novel, the reader witnesses the evolution of the protagonist, Father Quixote, from a religious living a complacent life in a small village in La Mancha to a priest in rebellion against the conservative hierarchy of the Catholic Church in Spain. Drawing upon Gerard Genette’s theory of transtextuality, I will examine Greene’s use of different religious texts to fight a model of conservative Catholic Church that he rejects. I will focus my analysis especially on the intertextual and metatextual references to the Gospels that the Bishop of La Mancha/Father Herrera and Father Quixote make in their dialogic interactions, references that portray their different vision of the role that the Church should have in society.
Im masoretischen Esterbuch wird Gott kein einziges Mal direkt erwähnt, im Buch Rut steht das Handeln der menschlichen ProtagonistInnen im Vordergrund. Von Gott bzw. JHWH wird im Buch Rut mehrfach gesprochen, aber er selbst spricht an keiner Stelle und sein Handeln kommt nur in 4,13 hinsichtlich der Schwangerschaft Ruts in den Blick. Dennoch ist Gott in beiden Erzählungen keineswegs abwesend. Seine Wirksamkeit ist in den handelnden Personen präsent. Nur durch ihr Handeln und im Kontext des Glaubens und der religiösen Traditionen Israels sind JHWHs Rettungshandeln und seine Güte erkennbar.
Septuagint, Qohelet, Pessimism, Translation technique, The Bible, and BS1-2970
The Book of Ecclesiastes is one of the most debated Books of the “Ketubim” according to its image of God on the one hand and its human inner mood on the other hand. This paper tries to show that the translation into Greek caused most of the negative stimulations and pessimistic views of the future often connoted with this scripture. The diaspora or minority experience may have led the translator(s) to such a critical outlook into nearer future. The Hebrew “Vorlage” was critical as well, but not so much to future as such, as more to the question about validity of traditional values. This paper shows how comparatively moderate linguistic adaptions were strong enough to lend a pessimistic overtone to a fascinating piece of literature, to theology and to the inner feeling of a great Hebrew sage, thinker and believer.
Die Theorie des „Conceptual Blending“ erlaubt es, miteinander verbundene Metaphern als Netzwerke zu verstehen und so die Tiefenstrukturen bilderreicher poetischer Texte, wie etwa der biblischen Psalmen, freizulegen. Ps 102 spricht in ausdrucksstarken Bildern nicht nur vom betenden Ich, sondern auch von Gott. Dabei steht das vordergründig nicht gleich sichtbare Motiv von JHWH als König hinter anderen Metaphern und zieht sich so durch den gesamten Psalm. Nicht nur die Rede von Gott in Bildern des menschlichen Körpers, sondern auch räumliche Metaphern, besonders die Todesmetaphorik in V. 21, verbinden sich mit der Königsanalogie zu neuen und komplexen Sinngebilden. Die Analyse derselben mithilfe der Blending-Theorie erfordert eine sehr genaue Untersuchung des Textes bis in die Bedeutungsnuancen der einzelnen Wörter und ermöglicht unerwartete Entdeckungen.
Die Aussage אֵין אֱלֹהִים „Es gibt keinen Gott“, die in Ps 9/10; 14; 53 als gegnerisches Zitat eingeführt wird, wird gewöhnlich als sogenannter „praktischer Atheismus“ verstanden, d. h. sie betreffe lediglich das erlebbare Wirken Gottes. Eine Leugnung seiner Existenz sei damit nicht gemeint. Analoge syntaktische Konstruktionen legen jedoch nahe, dass אֵין hier eine wirkliche Existenzleugnung Gottes ausdrückt, die auch religionsgeschichtlich zu plausibilisieren ist. Das stellt eine massive Anfrage an das Gottesbild dar, die von den drei Psalmen nachdrücklich beantwortet wird.
Georg Fischer, Genesis 1–11, Herders Theologischer Kommentar zum Alten Testament, Freiburg i. Br.: Herder, 2018, 752 pages, hardcover, € 115.00, ISBN 978-3-451-26801-4. https://doi.org/10.17159/2312-3621/2020/v33n1a11
Book of the Twelve, Malachi, שוב, cult, Yahweh’s Torah, restoration, The Bible, and BS1-2970
This article examines aspects of שׁוּב in the book of Malachi against the background of an obvious complementary and inadequate pattern of Israel/Judah’s repentance and incomplete restoration. As people whose history is characterised by covenant failure and refusal to repent, the book of Malachi present a robust conglomeration of persistent noncompliance and rebellion of the postexilic Yehudite community, thus making her guilty of unfaithfulness and unworthy of Yahweh’s restoration. The article surveys aspects of שׁוּב in three relative books of the Book of the Twelve and then examines three seemingly connected aspects; namely, Torah compliance, return to the right cult and Yahweh’s return in the book of Malachi. What emerges at the end of this article is that Israel/Judah’s hope of spiritual revitalisation, and complete restoration, is her faithful and wholehearted return to the right cult and to Yahweh’s Torah. https://doi.org/10.17159/2312-3621/2020/v33n1a9
The Handmaid’s Tale, Rachel, Leah, Bilhah, Zilpah, Trauma Narratives, The Bible, and BS1-2970
This article investigates the notion of insidious trauma as a helpful means of interpreting the story of Rachel, Leah, Bilhah and Zilpah as told in Genesis 29-30 that has found its way into the haunting trauma narrative of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. In the first instance, this article outlines the category of insidious trauma as it is situated in terms of the broader field of trauma hermeneutics, as well as the way in which it relates to the related disciplines of feminist and womanist biblical interpretation. This article will then continue to show how insidious trauma features in two very different, though intrinsically connected trauma narratives, i.e., the world imagined by Atwood in The Handmaid’s Tale, and the biblical narrative regarding the four women through whose reproductive efforts the house of Israel had been built that served as the inspiration for Atwood’s novel. This article argues that these trauma narratives, on the one hand, reflect the ongoing effects of systemic violation in terms of gender, race and class, but also how, embedded in these narratives there are signs of resistance that serve as the basis of survival of the self and also of others. https://doi.org/10.17159/2312-3621/2020/v33n1a3
Empty Land, Exiles, Land, Land ideology, Remainees, The Bible, and BS1-2970
This article examines Jeremiah 32, a chapter closely linked to the purchase of a field in Anathoth by the prophet Jeremiah at a time when the fall of Jerusalem in 587 B.C.E. was imminent. Jeremiah 32 is a multi-layered text presenting evidence of the adaptation of Jeremiah’s sign-act by various groups. While it is likely that the oldest core, verses 6b-15, presents the perspective of the people remaining in Judah after 587 B.C.E., in its final form the chapter promotes the interests of the Babylonian exiles. Although the uncovering of conflicting perceptions with regard to the land demonstrates that the use of Jeremiah 32 in present-day reflections on the land question is risky, the chapter highlights the importance of land issues. It furthermore demonstrates that biblical texts, applied in contemporary land issues, should be subjected to exhaustive redactional analyses. The different redactional stages of the texts may reveal conflicting ideologies. https://doi.org/10.17159/2312-3621/2020/v33n1a7
Van Selms, Islam and Christianity in South Africa, Arabic-Afrikaans, Genesis, Ezra, The Bible, and BS1-2970
Adrianus van Selms is well known for especially two studies related to Islam, viz. a Muslim Catechism (1951) and a publication entitled 'Abu Bakr’s Exposition of the Religion’ (1979). Both feature Afrikaans texts, dating from the second half of the 19th century, written in Arabic letters for the benefit of the local population. Van Selms, furthermore, contributed to an Afrikaans publication with the title In Gesprek met Islam oor die Moslem Belydenis [In Conversation with Islam as regards the Muslim Confession of Faith] (1974), providing an elaborate discussion with respect to Islam against the background of the Old and New Testaments and Church History. Van Selms, inter alia, opined, “For reasons concealed from us, it pleased God to chastise his church with Muslims’ words and conduct.” Similar statements are found in 8th and 9th century Christian polemical texts (cf. Griffiths 2008). In his books focusing on Jerusalem and Northern Israel, Van Selms (1967) expresses his appreciation for the Muslim material culture, and customs related to those practised in Old and New Testament times. For the purpose of the present paper, however, attention will specifically be given to the contextualisation of references to Islam in Van Selms’ biblical commentaries, for example the mentioning of a tradition recounted by al-Tabari (839-923 CE) during the exposition of Gen 3:1; a comparison of Muslim and biblical rules of marital conduct (Ex 21:21) that come to the fore in Gen 30:14-6; and finally the parallels drawn between the religious exclusivity evident in Ezra 10:11 and the Muslim concept of ummah. https://doi.org/10.17159/2312-3621/2020/v33n1a5
Trauma, PTSD, Ezekiel, Exile, The Bible, and BS1-2970
Reading the Book of Ezekiel in the light of modern sociological and psychological research dealing with emigration, exile and refugees, leads to a better and brighter understanding of the human experience in the Babylonian exile. In Ezekiel's oracles, prophecies and speeches (especially texts such as Ezekiel 3:22-27, 4:4-8 and chapters 16; 23) there are signs of post-traumatic symptoms, not necessarily individual, rather communal. The present article examines the texts in question in the light of clinical, sociological and philosophical literature dealing with forced-migration related trauma. https://doi.org/10.17159/2312-3621/2020/v33n1a4
Samson, Philistines, seranim, Dagon, Fable, En-hakkore, The Bible, and BS1-2970
This article examines the story of Samson’s death. From the time that he was captured by the Philistines until his death, the Bible describes at length the events that led to his downfall. This includes three major parts. The first Philistine event was jubilation at the temple of their god Dagon, which consists of two short rhymes which appear in poetic form. This was followed by Samson’s plea for God’s help and the destruction of the Philistine’s temple. The last part mentions Samson’s burial. Examination of the Philistine’s rhymes reveals that they ascribe Samson’s downfall to their god, which adds a religious dimension to the story. Samson was the only person whose death wish was granted. His death wish is similar to other death wishes from the ancient world. The mention of his burial and its location links the end of the story to its beginning, which is the story of his birth. https://doi.org/10.17159/2312-3621/2020/v33n1a10
Biblical days, יוֹם, creation, infinitivus constructus, Gen. 1:1, Gen. 2:4b, The Bible, and BS1-2970
The interpretation of bəjôm in Gen 2:4 as “when” in the sense of an unspecific period of time has often been used as an argument to defend an allegorical or figurative interpretation of the days of creation. A comparison with parallel grammatical constructions throughout the Pentateuch casts severe doubts on that idea, which are confirmed by a closer exegetical analysis of bəjôm in Gen 2:4b in its individual literary contexts (Gen 2:4a, 1:1, 2:5-3:24, especially the parallel narrative sequence following 5:1-2). Without “Systemzwang,” all arguments point to the natural understanding of bəjôm in Gen 2:4 as “in the day,” referring to a specific day, the first day of creation. https://doi.org/10.17159/2312-3621/2020/v33n1a6
Legal traditions, Ancient Israel, Old Testament, New Testament, The Bible, and BS1-2970
Various laws were practised in ancient Israel. Although the present study will introduce briefly the concept of law as practised in Ancient Near East (ANE) in general, the project focuses particularly on ancient Israel as depicted by the Old Testament (OT) law traditions. The study seeks to investigate two main issues, namely: (1) formulation and implementation of the laws in ancient Israel, and (2) the application of the OT laws during the New Testament (NT) era and in Christendom. An attempt is made to respond to the following three research questions: (1) how were the OT laws formulated and implemented? (2) Were the OT laws the same as those practised by pagan nations or kings? (3) what is the NT/Christian view of the OT laws? In its entirety, the discourse will utilise two approaches, namely: (1) narrative inquiry, and (2) desk research. https://doi.org/10.17159/2312-3621/2020/v33n1a8
Several studies in recent years have sought to articulate the significance of the tribe of Benjamin for historical and literary studies of the Hebrew Bible. This paper suggests that the received text of Genesis 35–50 both reflects and illumines the complexities of Israelite identity in the pre-exilic, Babylonian, and Persian periods. The fact that Benjamin is the only son born to “Israel” (other sons are born to “Jacob”) points to Israel’s origins in the land that came to be called “Benjaminite.” Between Josephites to the north and Judahites to the south, Benjaminites preserved a unique identity within the polities of Israel, Judah, Babylonian Yehud, and Persian Yehud. In Genesis 35 and 42–45 in particular, the silent character Benjamin finds himself in the middle of a tug-of-war between his brothers, particularly his full-brother Joseph and his half-brother Judah. The conciliatory message of the narrative of Genesis 35–50 for later communities comes into sharper focus when we see the compromise between tribal identities embedded in the text. https://doi.org/10.17159/2312-3621/2019/v32n3a10