PAUL, HERMENEUTICS AND CHARACTER: IMPLICATIONS FOR SCRIPTURE AND IDENTITY

  • Jeremy Punt University of Fort Hare

Abstract

The Bible as foundational document and as important source of identity in the Christian tradition and its religious communities, and its contribution to the formation of the identity of certain forms of culture and literature, is considered from the perspective of “enscripturalised identity”. The point of departure is the Pauline perspective on identity, which is introduced against the broader context of notions of identity in the first century CE. From Paul’s insistence on the new identity of the followers of Christ, the focus is turned to how his insistence upon a new hermeneutic characterised by freedom correlates with the new identity in Christ, resulting in an embodied hermeneutic and a self-understanding developed from Scripture. In a second part of the study, enscripturalised identity is considered with regard to contemporary, multicultural South Africa, amidst the attempt to forge a sense of common vision and character. Affirming the close links between religion and notions of identity, the particular value of the relationship between Scripture and identity in Africa is considered. It is concluded that notions of identity advocated by Paul should be understood in reciprocal relationship to his foundational scriptures, and that enscripturalised identity will be ignored at peril when reflecting on the general character of the South African rainbow nation.
Published
2013-06-12
Section
GENERAL ARTICLES