Doctoral Degrees (Old Testament)

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  • ItemOpen Access
    A biblical-theological investigation of the phenomenon of wonders surrounding Moses, Elijah and Jesus
    (University of the Free State, 2014-01) Van der Walt, John Stevens; Snyman, S. D.; Van Zyl, H. C.
    English: In the Canon of Scriptures, the phenomenon of miracles/wonders falls into three great Epochs. In the Old Testament there are two Epochs where decisive turning-points marked its course with an intensification of miracles/wonders. First, there are the wonders in the so-called plague narratives and during the “wilderness” in the Exodus tradition. Then, in the ministry of Elijah and Elisha (1 and 2 Kings), came the second Epoch. Both of them (Elijah and Elisha) did miraculous deeds. The third Epoch heralds the ministry of Jesus Christ in the New Testament. This study shows that there are similarities between wonders in the first and the third Epoch, and there are similarities between wonders in the second and the third Epoch, and even in all three. The researcher uses a narrative model which is a combination of existing narrative models, to point out the significance of the similarities between wonders in the three Epochs. Selected aspects used in the model, such as structures, settings, themes and motifs, highlight the fact that there must be a coherent Theological relationship between the three Epochs. Miracles in all three Epochs point to events (forwards and backwards) in the future and in the past, helping the reader to understand that the same God is at work, present, future and past. In all three Epochs the miracle stories give hope to people finding themselves in some kind of oppression. Their hope ultimately lies in God’s presence, shown in his miraculous acts through his agents, Moses and Elijah and his Son, Jesus. The thesis addresses the lack of a detailed examination on the theme of corresponding miracles in the miracle narratives surrounding the figures of Moses, Elijah and Jesus. In order to achieve the goal of a comprehensive narratological study, the model used by the researcher consists of two divisions: A. Preliminary reading and B. Closer investigation. The preliminary reading helps the researcher to get a grip on the narrative as a whole, but also to identify certain aesthetical elements such as structure, settings, themes and motifs, which the authors of the three different Epochs used to craft their miracle stories. The aesthetical “tools” of structure, settings, themes and motifs form the backbone of the study. They point right to the fact that there are similar aspects in miracle stories in the three Epochs. Hence, they show that, in the field of Biblical studies, a thematic approach opens up new possibilities to discuss the coherence between Old Testament and New Testament studies: The theme of “wonders” is one possibility. Hopefully, this dissertation will contribute to a debate (once more) which J.P. Gabler started way back in 1787 and which has been almost forgotten.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The condemned sons in the blessing of Jacob (Gen. 49:3-7): the problem of curses in the blessing
    (University of the Free State, 2010-11) Jung, Kwangbong; Snyman, S. D.
    It is almost inconceivable that Jacob begins condemning his first three sons in the blessing at his death bed. Many scholars have long endeavored to solve the problem from the social and political circumstance in the late period of redaction. It is a more reasonable attempt to find the solution in the stream of the story in Genesis, the repeated blessing stories in Genesis. As is widely known, Genesis is the book of blessing. Blessing is the base of the inter-relationship in the Old Testament. The Old Testament emphasizes God as the final source or agent of blessing and curse. On the other hand, the Old Testament illustrates the belief that the spoken words themselves have the active power to produce the desired effect without any external agent as well. The blessing stories in Genesis ordinarily contain curse together. Yet, the excluded sons are not the cursed sons. The curse contains the hope of the blessing at the same time. Genesis emphasizes that the God’s promise for Abraham continues in the line of blessing of the descendants of Abraham without ceasing. However, when God chooses one to succeed the blessing to the next generation, it does not automatically mean a rejection or curse of the other sons. A similar paradigm repeatedly appears in the blessings of Genesis. One son inherits the promise and all the brothers share the benefits. Joseph inherits the father’s blessing and the other brothers will participate in the blessing together. They are blessed as a unit. The Jacob’s curse on the first three sons plays an important role: the instrument of discipline and precaution, various courses for ultimate blessing, and the role of arbitrator of the potential rivalry and conflict among brothers.