Document Type Doctoral Thesis Author Mvunabandi, Shadrack URN etd-11052008-161103 Document Title The communicative power of blood sacrifices : a predominantly South African perspective with special reference to the Epistle to the Hebrews Degree PhD Department New Testament Studies Supervisor
Advisor Name Title Prof J G van der Watt Supervisor Keywords
- sin and spirits
Date 2008-09-04 Availability unrestricted Abstract
In this dissertation, the researcher discusses the topic: “The Communicative Power of Sacrifices: A Predominantly South African Perspective with Special Reference to the Epistle to the Hebrews”. It investigates blood sacrifices among Xhosa people, and includes some Zulu and Tsonga thoughts, as well as a few examples from elsewhere in Africa. The research findings support the fact that both animal and human blood sacrifices are still performed today.
The comparison between biblical blood sacrificial rituals and African ones reveals striking similarities and a few differences. The existence of such similarities poses a pertinent question: to determine whether or not African traditional religious sacrifices, like biblical sacrifices, could also be acknowledged as originating from God. This seems indeed difficult, because such an affirmation would suggest that God has revealed Himself through African traditional religious sacrificial rituals, and would therefore call into question the unique and exclusive biblical claim to revelation.
Neyrey’s (2005) model of benefactor-client, benefactor-patron has been instrumental in illustrating the mutually influential communication and exchange existing between deities and their worshippers. In order to obtain benefactions from superiors, subordinates have to use inducement and influence - inducement has to do with all sorts of gifts and services, while influence refers to reasons for doing what one does, hence requests, petitions and the like. In religious terms, inducement is called sacrifice, and influence is called prayer. The intensification of the materialisation of anticipated benefits by worshippers entails the multiplication of interactive contact through blood sacrificial rituals, as well as the strengthening of ties between deities and their worshippers, creating a seemingly unbreakable bond. The results of this study’s qualitative, empirical research in Gauteng, Kwazulu-Natal and North West provinces have substantiated the above ideas. In the Epistle to the Hebrews, the communicative power of the blood sacrifice of Jesus provided worshippers with eternal salvation, forgiveness of sins and the removal of guilt feelings. Unlike Old Testament animal blood sacrifices, Jesus’ once and for all blood sacrifice has communicated powers for soteriological, psychological and sociological benefits. This superior power should be scholarly defended through amicable dialogue.
© University of Pretoria 2008D507/gm
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