University of South Africa

Old Testament and Ancient Near Eastern Studies

 

Hildebrandt, Wilfred. 2009. The Cessation of Prophecy in the Old Testament

This thesis “investigates” prophecy according to the Old Testament. While the main focus is on matters leading to cessation, an analysis of the rise and nature of prophecy introduces the theme. Expressions of prophecy evident among ancient Near Eastern cultures are compared to determine prophetic origins. Prophecy is a dynamic force in Israel, and together with the priesthood, develops the theological and religious views of the nation. Prophets are active during major transition periods of Israel’s history. Prophecy is an integral means of communication between Yahweh and his people. Through the prophets Yahweh elects, leads, directs, and helps the people of God. Furthermore, prophets were involved in the formulation of the Scriptures that were received by Israel. The reception of the Scriptures registers the acceptance of inspired writings and exposes other documents as apocryphal and pseudepigraphal. When the `Spirit of prophecy’ was believed to add nothing new to Scripture, the canon was considered closed. Surprisingly, some texts indicate that prophecy ends in Israel. A few passages indicate potential problems in the mediation process that may include aberrations in the delivery, content, and motivation for presenting prophecy. Prophecy deteriorates from the kind of prophetic leadership that Moses exemplified. Some claim that prophecy arose with the monarchy and ended after the Babylonian exile. Other theories regarding its demise include matters related to false prophecy, theological and religious differences, the compilation of the Hebrew canon, inspiration and the quenching of the Spirit of God. At times, people long for a message from God, but find silence. Problems associated with prophecy that lead to its demise as well as the future anticipation of transformations to prophecy or its continuation are presented and analyzed. Prophetic utterances diminish and ultimately cease, but texts also imply that prophecy is a permanent feature for God’s people. Prophecy will be transformed, renewed, or changed. Many texts foresee a period of restoration, salvation, and prophecy for all God’s people. A period of dormancy and prophetic silence will be followed by the recurrence of prophecy when the Spirit of God will inspire prophetic utterance. God will pour out his Spirit and prophecy will continue indefinitely.

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Theron, Jacques. 2009. Die monargale tydvak in die geskiedenis van Israel

Hierdie verhandeling dek oor die algemeen die groter geheel van die Monargale Tydvak in die geskiedenis van Israel en Juda. Daar word egter meer spesifiek gefokus op die koningskap van Josia, `n merkwaardige koning van Juda, en sy godsdienstige hervormings wat van stapel gestuur is na aanleiding van die vonds van die wetboek in die Tempel. Die verhaal van Josia word geskets teen die agtergrond van die politieke klimaat in die antieke Nabye Ooste voor- en tydens sy koningskap. Aandag word dus gegee aan ander nasies en die invloed wat hulle op Juda gehad het. Daar word ook gekyk na daardie profete wat moontlik `n invloed op Josia kon gehad het, hetsy profete wat aktief was tydens sy koningskap of in die jare onmiddellik daarvoor. Laastens word ook na die Deuteronomistiese Geskiedenis gekyk ten einde die moontlike verband daarvan met Josia en sy hervormings te bepaal

 

Soza, Joel R. 2009. `Knowing the Lord’: Moral Theology in the Book of Jeremiah

This thesis is a moral and theological interpretation of the book of Jeremiah (primarily chapters twenty-one through twenty-nine). The prime focus is on the Hebrew term and associated vocabulary and terminology which enable an understanding of how the book of Jeremiah sets up knowledge of Yahweh as a primary concern. Such a concern reinforces the rhetorical and ethical nature of the textual witness and elevates the significant and profound challenge that is put forth. For instance, Jeremiah 22:16 is a prime example within the book where an understanding of Yahweh should be given adequate attention, although it has not in Old Testament scholarship, to arrive at the kind of moral and theological interpretation that is voiced in this ancient Israelite prophet. Knowledge of Yahweh in the text of Jeremiah is to be distinguished from a purely cognitive knowing that removes from the equation, in any way, living a certain kind of life with Yahweh – a life which is measured only by the highest of moral and religious standards. Indeed, there is a direct relationship between a certain kind of action/way of living and a genuine knowledge of Yahweh. Key texts explored in this thesis then, are those which bring the challenge of a true knowledge of Yahweh to the Judean king, priest, prophet, and people. An overall coherent vision of what it means to know Yahweh, the God of Israel, in the text of Jeremiah, is the aim of this thesis.

 

Whiteley, Kathleen. 2009. Hippocrates’ Diseases Of Women Book 1 – Greek Text with English Translation and Footnotes

Diseases of Women, Book I, is part of the Hippocratic Corpus of approximately seventy treatises, although different authors contributed to the writings, as is evident by slight changes in text. It is the first of three works by Hippocrates on gynaecological problems. Fifth century BC doctors did not dissect either humans or animals, so their theories were based purely on observation and experience. Book I deals with women who have problems with menstruation, either the lack of it or an excess, infertility and, when conception does take place, the threat of miscarriage and dealing with the stillborn child. Various remedies are given, including herbal infusions, vapour baths and mixtures that the modern day patient would shudder at, e.g. animal dung and headless, wingless beetles. One remedy, hypericum, or St John’s Wort, used for depression, has become popular today as an alternative medicine.

New Testament

 

Greeff, Casparus Johannes. 2009. Paleopathology: signs and lesions in skeletal remains of epidemics and diseases of Biblical times in Syro-Palestine

This dissertation deals with the study of ancient diseases mentioned in the historical period of the Scriptures in the region of Syro-Palestine. The definition, history, methodology and etymology of the terms relating to biblical diseases are discussed. Leprosy, syphilis, plague and anaemia amongst other diseases leave skeletal signs and lesions. Paleopathologists may reveal these diseases by studying skeletal remains of the population of Syro-Palestine. Criticisms and recommendations are offered for the practical paleopathologist, anthropologist or archaeologist. More interest should be taken in the study of coprolite in every new discovery of human remains. The scarcity of skeletal remains in the region is well known. The past and present law structure, the Halakah, may partly be to blame. The future of paleopathology worldwide is undisputedly the biochemical science of DNA analysis. With this new science the role for macromorphological examination may diminish. The diseases mentioned in the Bible are finding it increasingly difficult to hide behind the words in the Scriptures.

 

Kieser, Deanne. 2009. Minoan trade: aspects and ambiguities

The following dissertation considers the main aspects of trade during each phase of Minoan development from its beginnings in Early Minoan times (3500 BC) until the end of Minoan period in 1430 BC. The work concentrates largely on the commodities exchanged, the development of transportation and perceived trade routes as well as the role of the palaces once they were established. The theories on the Minoan Thalassocracy and colonisation are also discussed. The evidence used is mainly archaeological, which is able to trace the movement of non-perishable materials such as pottery and metals. Reference is also made to contemporary Near Eastern texts and art, as well as the Minoan Linear A and Mycenaean Linear B documents.

 

Kalnitsky, Arnold. 2009. The Theosophical movement of the Nineteenth Century: the Legitimation of the Disputable and the Entrenchment of the Disreputable

 

Roberts, Michael David. 2009. The Idea of Truth as the Revelation of Covenant Faithfulness in the Gospel of John

This study is concerned with the need to investigate the Johannine idea of truth in the context of the Old Testament background, with the stated aim of showing how this conception of truth could still reach those outside the boundary of Judaism. This thesis needs to be set within the larger framework of revelation. The revelation of God in the Old Testament pointed to God’s final and fullest revelation given in his Son. And because Jesus is indeed the truth, as he himself explicitly claimed, it necessarily follows that every portion of this revelation is true and reliable in every way. Moreover, because this revelation has been given, there is the need for those to serve as witnesses to it. These witnesses, both divine and human, are themselves revelation by virtue of their divine origin and their consequent inclusion as part of the overall New Testament witness to Jesus. Chapter one addresses those introductory matters relevant for understanding John’s unique view of truth. There are two aspects to this view of truth as centered in Jesus: Jesus as the revelation of truth, and Jesus as the revealer of truth. Truth is the person and work of Jesus, and chapter two treats the first aspect in discussing eight ideas that explain this view of truth. The second aspect is the focus of chapter three. Because truth comes only from God, it must be revealed since human beings cannot understand it on their own. In order for this revelation to be received, witnesses are needed to testify to it. Hence, in John truth and revelation cannot be separated, and witnesses must testify to this revelation as the truth of God. Because Jesus is both the revealer and the revelation itself, he is therefore the preeminent witness precisely because his is a self-authenticating witness that receives the Father’s affirmation. The last chapter applies this theological foundation using three ideas that are specifically connected with the word “truth”: abiding, sanctification, and worship. Truth is more than intellectual acquirement; it is living one’s life in love and service of God and others.

 

King, Fergus John. 2009. More than a Passover: inculturation in the supper narratives of the New Testament

This thesis examines whether the theological method currently known as inculturation was used in the Supper Narratives of the New Testament. A methodology is set up in which texts are examined against the backdrop of Graeco-Roman, Judaic and early Christian cultures. This methodology focusses on family resemblances and analogies, rather than genealogy or causal dependence to examine the links between text and context. It also avoids claims for orthodoxy dependent on claims about origins. Engaging with the claims of writers from Schweitzer, through Jeremias and up to the present, three themes are identified: meals, sacrifice and eschatology. The manifestations of each are examined against the three cultural groups:Judaic, Graeco-Roman and early Christian. The Supper Narratives (Mk 14:12-26, Matt. 26:17-30 and Luke 22:7-23 and 1 Cor 11:17-34) are then mapped against these themes. Analogies to the cultural groups are then traced. This process leads to conclusions that the New Testament writers did use a methodology which can be identified as inculturation. It manifests itself particularly through patterns identified by anthropologists as bricolage and re-accentuation. A notable example is “sacrificialisation”, in which events and items are invested with a fresh sacrificial significance. Judaic concepts (e.g., covenant and Atonement) and rituals (e.g., sacramentals and Passover) dominate the interpretations of Jesus’ last meal with his disciples. This does not mean that inculturation only took place in relation to Jewish culture. Many of the concepts used (e.g., sacrifice and sacrament) share commonalities with Graeco-Roman thought which allows them to engage with such world-views. This process sees Judaic understandings used as correctives to Graeco-Roman thinking about sacraments. It also sees Jewish concepts used to address Graeco-Roman values, and give an added historical depth (antiquitas) to a comparatively recent event.

 

Ferreira, Andriette. 2009. The legal rights of the women of ancient Egypt

The legal rights of the women of ancient Egypt are discussed in this dissertation. All the different aspects of the legal system were examined in order to conclude whether the ancient Egyptian women indeed had legal rights. An inquiry was therefore conducted into the Egyptian Family Law, the Law of Succession, Property Law, Law of Contract and Criminal Law. The modern classification of the law was used, seeing that no evidence exists to provide us with the ancient Egyptians’ classification method.

Systematic Theology & Theological Ethics

Christian Spirituality, Church History and Missiology

Systematic Theology & Theological Ethics

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