Title page for ETD etd-08112008-094957

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Du Toit, Marietjie
Email marietjie@incredimail.co.za
URN etd-08112008-094957
Document Title A study of 1 Peter 3:18- 4:6 : an investigation into the historical background of the doctrine of Christ’s descent into Hades
Degree Master of Arts
Department Ancient Languages
Advisor Name Title
Prof H F Stander Supervisor
  • Sheol
  • post-mortem salvation
  • Jewish-Christianity
  • intermediate state
  • Hades
  • Genesis 6
  • diaspora
  • afterlife
  • descent
  • suffering
  • 1 Enoch
  • 1 Peter
Date 2007-09-05
Availability unrestricted
The aim of this study is to prove that neither 1 Peter 3:19 nor 1 Peter 4:6 refers to the Christian doctrine the ‘Descensus Christi ad Inferos’. The meaning of these two verses has long been debated (cf. Dalton 1989:27-28), and is very often seen as a reference to Christ’s descent into Hades (cf. Feinberg 1986:309). This study will be done by means of a parallel study. The first part of this study will involve the doctrine of the ‘Descensus’; looking at its origin and its development. It will be argued in this section that the roots of this doctrine can be found in Jewish-Christianity and not pagan mythology as has been suggested (cf. Bousset 1907:224ff & Beare 1945:145). The discussion of the doctrine is necessary, since we do need to know more about the doctrine to see whether it is the referent in 1 Peter. The second part of the study will then engage in the meaning of 1 Peter 3:19 and 4:6. This section will be very context driven. We will start with an introduction to 1 Peter, discussing all the preliminary questions (i.e. author, date, audience & form). This will be followed by a structural analysis of 1 Peter. Here it will be argued that the letter should be understood in terms of metaphors, with the ‘Diaspora’ as the controlling metaphor (cf. Martin 1992). The verses under discussion, form part of the third metaphor-cluster namely the ‘Sufferers of the Dispersion’, while the name of our subsection is’ The Righteous Sufferer’. By means of the grammatical analysis, and the influence of the pseudepigraphal book 1 Enoch, it will be shown that these verses do not allow themselves to be interpreted as references to the Descent of Christ into Hades.

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