"Ons weet omdat ons glo!" : 'n eksegeties-openbaringshistoriese studie vanuit Hebreërs 10:38-11:3 toegepas op die problematiek van die verhouding tussen geloof en kennis
Van der Walt, Sarel Petrus
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Influenced by the postmodernist views of the early 21st century, the so-called New Reformation Movement pleads for a changed view of Scripture and a new way of Scriptural understanding for theology in South Africa. This movement demands that the Bible should no longer be viewed as the word of God, but as human words about God; it calls for an intellectually based re-appraisal of the Bible in which the modem reader's context, especially the knowledge-explosion of the information-era, becomes the key factor. The result of such a "reformation" is an over-estimation of knowledge and an under-evaluation of faith. This "new model" of Scriptural understanding brings to the attention that the question regarding the relation between faith and knowledge is relevant for modem-day theology in South Africa. Hence it is important that also reformed theology should re-think the relation between faith and knowledge. Within the reformed theological paradigm such a reflection should take the Bible itself as basic point of departure. When discussing the matter of faith and knowledge, the reformed confessions frequently refer to the pericope Hebrews 10:38-11:3. The important place which this pericope takes within the confessional writings, gave rise to the central theoretical argument of this study. The argument is that Hebrews 10:38-11:3 gives a unique perspective on the relation between faith and knowledge. It is also argued that a thorough and scientifically sound study of this pericope can make an important contribution to describing the relation between faith and knowledge. Consequently the purpose of this study is to determine the perspectives which Hebrews 10:38-11:3 provides regarding the relation between faith and knowledge. This study is conducted by means of an exegetical and revelational-historical investigation of the pericope. Chapter two of this study is an exegetical investigation of Hebrews 10:38-11:3, with focus on its textual aspects. These aspects include the structure of the book as a whole and the thought-structure of the pericope, as well as the semantic analysis of words which are relevant to this thesis. This chapter leads to the conclusion that faith forms a main thread throughout the book and pericope. From the pericope analysis it becomes clear that there is a close link between faith and the life of the believer. Faith not only forms the framework of life, but gives a framework in which knowledge of the unseen reality is being noted. The semantic analysis of the words "faith" and "knowledge" reveals that these two concepts are indeed interdependent. In chapter three, the exegetical investigation of Hebrews 10:38-11:3 is continued by a study of the socio-historical context in which Hebrews spoke about faith and knowledge. This chapter concludes that Hebrews was written to Christianized Jews. The purpose of the book was to exhort the first readers not to fall back into Jewish religious traditions. It teaches its readers that regardless of suffering, faith empowers believers to look forward to a wonderful future that is promised to them by God. In chapter four a revelational-historical study is conducted of the broad lines within which the Scriptures speak about faith and knowledge. Thereupon the teaching of Hebrews 10:38-11:3 on this topic is placed within the broad revelational-historical lines of the Bible. This chapter concludes that Hebrews' teaching links up with the entire Bible's teaching about faith and knowledge. The substance of faith is knowledge of the revelation of God in Christ, which is also the realization of the promised future for those who believe. Chapter five compares the results of the exegetical investigation of Hebrews 10:28-11:3 with the reformed confessions regarding the subject at hand. This chapter concludes that there is an unbreakable bond between faith and knowledge, as depicted by the confessions and as continued by Hebrews 10:38-11:3. Both faith and knowledge begins and ends with God. Chapter six explores the rise of postmodernism and the New Reformation, comparing their views to the results of the exegetical investigation of Hebrews 10:38-11:3. This chapter concludes that the current theological debate in South Africa is characterized by an overestimation of knowledge and degradation of faith. However, in reaction to this, there are tendencies in the South-African theology towards an overestimation of faith and an degradation of knowledge. The results of this exegetical study of Hebrews 10:38-11:3 could possibly restore the balance. In Chapter seven the conclusion is formulated that, in the light of Hebrews 10:38-11:3, it is imperative that faith and knowledge should not be superimposed over each other, but should be regarded as providing indispensable mutual support. Both faith and knowledge should be discounted in the process of forming theories within the theological science.
- Theology