PAUL, HERMENEUTICS AND CHARACTER: IMPLICATIONS FOR SCRIPTURE AND IDENTITY

Jeremy Punt

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.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7833/79-0-777

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ISSN 2305-445X (online); ISSN 0254-1807 (print)

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