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Author: Peter-Ben Smit

This essay proceeds from a modern sensitivity with regard to suffering and violence in canonical texts and draws on a modern phenomenon, sadomasochism (in particular masochism and appertaining theory, enhanced with theory concerning torture and pain), in order to understand the dynamics of suffering and its interpretation in the Apocalypse of John. The result of the paper is a contribution to the question what role pain and ­suffering play in the Apocalypse of John, as well as to the question to what extent comparing contemporary cultural phenomena and their analysis can contribute to the understanding of ancient texts. The paper also seeks to move beyond the rather pejorative and unnuanced use of the term ‘sadomasochistic’ in relation to the Apocalypse of John that has been used here and there in order to condemn the violence contained in the work (and, in the process, shedding rather shady light on BDSM practicioners).


In: Biblical Interpretation
Author: Peter-Ben Smit

Abstract

Anglicans, Old Catholics, and Orthodox have been engaged in dialogue with each other practically since the beginnings of the ecumenical movement. This paper survey the findings of these three dialogues on the subject of Tradition and compares them to each other, concluding that even though these dialogues have developed compatible and dynamic understandings of Tradition, these understanding have not yet led to the removal of certain obstacles between the Churches involved.

In: Ecclesiology
Author: Peter-Ben Smit

Abstract

This article explores the meaning of the statement made by Irenaeus of Lyons that the truth (i.e. the faith) is received at baptism. It is argued that what is meant here is the reception of true 'first principles' that allow the newly baptized to see the world fully as it is; the shape of these first principles is understood as integration into the church and its tradition. In this way, the integration of the newly baptized into a community of interpretation is the way in which s/he learns to see the world anew, namely from the perspective of the community of faith.

In: Ecclesiology
In: Ecclesiology
Author: Peter-Ben Smit

In an essayistic manner, drawing on both exegetical and systematic theological insights, this paper explores the contours of the notion of authority in the New Testament, arguing that authority in the New Testament is primarily the performance of (liberating) authority by Christ, to which the New Testament witnesses. This witness is the New Testament’s own source of authority, but only in as far as the communities reading the New Testament engage in a communal praxis that is in line with Jesus’ own exercise of authority. The New Testament, it is argued, operates in a manner similar to that of a sacrament, while the diversity contained within its canon offers encouragement for an ongoing search for identity in Christ, rather than constituting a theological embarrassment.

In: Ecclesiology
In: Ecclesiology
Author: Peter-Ben Smit

Mark 10:42–45 is a key text for discussions of ‘diakonia’ and the related ministry of ‘deacons’ in the church. This paper uses a gender-critical approach to analyse the text, in the course of which a new exegetical proposal is made. It is argued not only that this text makes a somewhat subversive proposal for leadership, but also that our understanding of it can be furthered by means of masculinities studies

In: Ecclesiology
Author: Peter-Ben Smit

This paper provides an overview of a recent ecumenical dialogue, the one between the Mar Thoma Syrian Church and the Old Catholic Churches of the Union of Utrecht (2011-2014) and analyses the dialogue through the lens of intercultural theology, arguing that the fields of ecumenical dialogue and intercultural theology can be brought into conversation with each other fruitfully, even if this is not currently being done in appertaining scholarship.

In: Exchange