Original Research - Special Collection: Wentzel van Huyssteen

Hearing the transformative potential of metaphor in scripture? Honouring J. Wentzel van Huyssteen

Elna Mouton
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 42, No 2 | a2444 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v42i2.2444 | © 2021 Elna Mouton | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 25 November 2021 | Published: 17 December 2021

About the author(s)

Elna Mouton, Department of Old and New Testament, Faculty of Theology, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa; Andrew Murray Centre for Spirituality, Wellington, South Africa


Christians worldwide are (re)discovering the power of scripture in their daily lives, especially in the context of the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic. The present turbulent time provides the biblical sciences an opportunity to support other theological disciplines and the church to search for ways scripture can give encouragement to people. The argument in this article is that the power of biblical writings lies in their metaphors which open an alternative moral world. For the appropriation of scripture in new contexts, the transformative potential of J. Wentzel van Huyssteen’s metaphorical hermeneutic is explored as a framework. The article gives a brief overview of the influence of his work as a mentor, colleague and friend.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: The article focuses on the dynamic nature and intentions of New Testament Studies (intradisciplinary aspects), and uses the philosophical hermeneutic of a systematic theologian as well as insights from literary theory and cultural anthropology to support the argument and open up interdisciplinary discourse.


New Testament Studies; ethics of interpretation; transformative potential of metaphor; J. Wentzel van Huyssteen’s hermeneutic; ‘hearing the word’


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