Journal index

Biró István182 -- 211

After the Treaty of Trianon, the Transylvanian Reformed Church found itself in a completely new and unprecedented situation. In the years following the change of empires, there was an ideological search not only in literature and public life but also within the church. The intellectual elites of Hungarian Transylvania, including the leaders, theological professors, and ministers of the Reformed Church, significantly contributed to this quest, with their reflections and thoughts still holding significant content and influence today. The aim of this study was to explore the publications that appeared between 1920 and 1944, placing them within a framework of intellectual and church history, and presenting them chronologically to depict the national worldview of the contemporary Reformed intellectuals. At the beginning of the study, we examined the concepts of Transylvanism and public service. Subsequently, we delved into the intellectual search of the 1920s and discussed the national existential issues and ideas based on the writings of the 1930s. Finally, we explored the emerging novel national worldview after 1940.

Református Szemle 116.2 (2023)Research articleChurch history
Sógor Géza169 -- 181

Nowadays, we often come across the concept of secularization. What did it mean in the past, and what does it mean today? This study explores the question, clarifies the terminology, outlines the brief history of the process, examines the biblical understanding of the phenomenon, identifies theological misconceptions, and sheds light on the possibilities, challenges, and tasks for Christian congregations within the process of secularization.

Református Szemle 116.2 (2023)Research articleSystematic theology
Nagy Eszter139 -- 168

Psychologist John Bowlby, the father of attachment theory, maintains that “attachment plays a fundamental role in human life from the cradle to the grave”. In my research, I bridge the gap between the psychologically grounded theory of attachment and pastoral theology. My aim is to shed light on how attachment patterns formed in childhood (secure, anxious-avoidant, anxious-ambivalent and disorganized) influence adulthood, particularly the relational systems of pastors serving as leaders within congregations. To explore this, I employ empirical research methods. I outline the connections between identified attachment patterns and pastoral service in the context of Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT), and from a pastoral care perspective, I highlight possibilities for healing among individuals with insecure attachments within intimate relationships.

Református Szemle 116.2 (2023)Research articlePractical theology
Jónás Norbert Ferenc109 -- 138

In the intertestamental period, the term “proselyte” acquired the meaning of a pagan-born individual who converted to the Jewish faith. During this era, the prerequisites for conversion were formulated, and the sequence and significance of essential ritual acts were established. The Jewish diaspora was more receptive to proselytes compared to the Palestinian context. However, Roman citizens living in major imperial cities, who held contempt for Jewish communities, viewed proselytism negatively, considering it aggressive encroachment or a political maneuver by Jews. This study enquires into the phenomenon of proselytism within rabbinic literature, Alexandrian Philo and Josephus Flavius.

Református Szemle 116.2 (2023)Research articleNew Testament
Nagy Norbert76 -- 82

Man has always had the desire to unravel the mysteries of the universe. But in formulating his answers, he was confronted with the impossibility of defining everything through language. By secularising the myths, people have lost their connection with the poetic language, which can provide access to states beyond language. The solution may lie in rediscovering the power of the mystery. This could be done through the existential metaphor, and then man can become capable of experiencing the mystery of God again.

Református Szemle 116.1 (2023)EssayOther
Debreczeni István55 -- 75

In this paper we confront a provocative issue. Is Christianity responsible for the worsening environmental crisis? How can we interpret the dominium terrae mandate from the perspective of creation care? A contextual reading of the creation narratives reveals that the exercise of the dominion that God has given to man is subject to certain conditions and circumstances. Humanity is called to fulfil this mandate as the image of God, as part of the community of creation, living in the shadow of sin, but under God’s rule and with responsibility towards God. One possible metaphor for this multifaceted relationship is the stewardship, of which Jesus Christ himself is the source and example. The goal of dominion thus becomes responsible service rather than tyranny.

Református Szemle 116.1 (2023)Research articleSystematic theology
Kulcsár Árpád30 -- 54

The study was prepared for the 360th anniversary of the publication of the so-called Várad-Bible. In the context of the Hungarian New Testament translations of the 20th century, it examines the unique interpretations of László Ravasz’s translation published in 1971, as well as the in his commentaries to the New Testament given in Bible study groups within the church. The present research focuses mainly on chapters 17–18 of the Book of Revelation.

Református Szemle 116.1 (2023)Research articleNew Testament, Practical theology
Adorjáni Zoltán5 -- 29

Suffering is a mystery. Both the blasphemer and the righteous suffer. Jesus himself did not reveal the reason why the man in Jerusalem was born blind (Jn 9). But he did reveal, and gave countless examples, of what to do with those who were suffering. And whoever takes up any person who has fallen into misery, in him the power of God is at work. Our embracing of others is the same act of comforting and healing of body and soul miracle that God has done and is doing. This paper, which is an expanded and edited version of a lecture, discusses the disease known as scolecobrothos (σκωληκόβρωτος) in the biblical and some extra-biblical sources (2 Maccabees, the writings of Josephus Flavius, Rabbinic sources and the Apocryphal book of the Testament of Job).

Református Szemle 116.1 (2023)Research articleOld Testament, New Testament
Kerékgyártó Imola Orsolya674 -- 686

In this paper I summarise the ecclesiastical and social effects of the works on the life of the church and society of the Lutheran theologian (minister and dean in Kolozsvár-Cluj) Andor Járosi, who was born 125 years ago. It is the result of his efforts that the liturgical reform of the Lutheran church from Transylvania took place, even if it lasted longer than twenty years until a general decision was made regarding of its implementation to the whole church.

Református Szemle 115.6 (2022)Church history
Rezi Elek656 -- 673

The study reviews the writings and reports of Sándor Tavaszy about the Unitarians. His writings were published in the Református Szemle, Az Út Reformed periodicals and in the Transylvanian press of the time. I examined three areas of Tavaszy’s writings: 1. his reports on Unitarian church events (bishop’ inauguration, Church anniversary); 2. his evaluation of Unitarian personalities (Sámuel Brassai, Balázs Orbán); 3. mutual book reviews (Tavaszy’s books’ reviews by Unitarians and reviews of Unitarian books by Tavaszy). As a conclusion we can state that the writings and reports strengthened the relations between the Hungarian churches in the difficult times between the two world wars, and advocated the possibilities of joint actions in the work of saving the church and the nation.

Református Szemle 115.6 (2022)Research articleSystematic theology
Nagy Eszter642 -- 655

The central question of the book by Rolf Theobold is: how can we engage in pastoral conversations that aim to solve problems, despite the short time available? Another truth regarding the practice of short-term pastoral care is that every journey begins with taking the first step. Neither the counsellor, nor the counselee can expect an instant solution for all problems in one go. An initial impulse is needed on the way to a solution, so the main focus will not be on an immediate cure, but on an immediate word of encouragement and support. According to Gunther Schmidt, feedback on the experiences gained on the way to a solution is just as important as the acceptance that a changed perception of the problem is already leading to real change. We also need to learn the tendency towards developing solutions, similarly to the qualities we learn from birth. In addition to the many practical suggestions in Rolf Theobold’s book, it is also necessary to reflect on the author’s own conviction that short-term pastoral care cannot be limited to superficial “think positive” (good) advice, but also requires a deep faith and trust in God.

Református Szemle 115.6 (2022)Research articlePractical theology
Karasszon Dezső615 -- 641

Gallus Huszár’s Debrecen church hymnal (1560/61) is a rich source for 16th century Hungarian Reformed service singing, uniquely distinguished by its musically notated melodies. The current study investigates its so-called rubrics, short (or sometimes longer) liturgical annotations, which, on the one hand, outline the course of the church services of his era, and, on the other hand, provide a glimpse into the contents of the individual liturgical moments, both on a theological and an emotional (or poetical) level. They allow us to distinguish the genres of hymns used within the worship services (chief services, canonic hours, para-liturgical occasions). The current article would like to contribute to the renewal of today’s Reformed worship that is long overdue, and which ought to follow the spirit of the Reformation. One will find here the most important pieces of information, as well as the inspirational bases for such a reform.

Református Szemle 115.6 (2022)Research articlePractical theology
Kovács Kristián599 -- 614

The Book of Qohelet awakes curiosity in the reader already because of its title. In assigning a title to this book, modern translations of Qohelet follow the trace of the Old Greek of the LXX (Ecclesiastes, Der Prediger). It is striking, however, that the title Qohelet appears mostly in the framing chapters of the book, where it is enhanced with a few (fictitious) biographical notes. Beyond the framing sections, Qohelet appears only once more, where the commentators suggest to be considered a descriptive note (comment), probably a gloss. One of the main tasks of the Qohelet-commentators was and is to try to find a proper translation for the noun Qohelet. This article would also like to contribute to this discussion.

Református Szemle 115.6 (2022)Research articleOld Testament
Gombár Sándor563 -- 567Református Szemle 115.5 (2022)In memoriamChurch history, Practical theology
Miklós-Kovács Tamás547 -- 562

The main theme of my writing is Jonathan Edwards’ reflection on the beauty of God. In his writings and sermons, God’s beauty is not coherently defined, but fragments of his thinking on beauty can be found throughout in his works. My research does not aim at providing a coherent picture of Edwards’ views on God’s beauty. Edwards did not provide any consistent criteria of beauty and the qualities that are true of God, so that we have no easy task when we want to capture and summarise his views. In the last part of my work, I translated the most frequently quoted sermon of Jonathan Edwards: ‟God is Infinitely Exalted in Gloriousness and Excellency above All Created Beings.”

Református Szemle 115.5 (2022)Research articleSystematic theology, Church history
Simon Attila533 -- 546

This short study, drawing on a small part of Calvin’s vast written corpus, seeks to show how the reformer used the concepts of eternal life and death. Tackling with uncertainties on the fringes of eschatology, Calvin shows how difficult it is to grasp the meaning of these two concepts, even when the theologian stands on firm biblical theological grounds. The commentaries of Calvin on the Book of Psalms and the Gospel of John, as well as his letters give a sense of the changes that man, the creation of God, must undergo in order to be able to find relief from the severe ordeal of facing death and to be helped by the hope of eternal life. It is God’s grace that lifts man up from the state of death so that his unstable life may find stability.

Református Szemle 115.5 (2022)Research articleSystematic theology
Nagy Eszter511 -- 532

“People are not a machines, because if they were, in an emergency situation they would know which button to press or which screw to tighten in order to get their machine working again” – maintains Rolf Theolbold, minister and practical theologian, author of the book. Rolf Theolbold presents the basics and possibilities of short-term pastoral care in a plain language. How “short” is short-term pastoral care? How can it help those longing for a solution to their spiritual problems? This book was written for people who want to help others but often have little time to do so. From a rich repertoire of modern short-term therapy methods, it offers practical suggestions on how to provide useful pastoral care in a short time frame. The author encourages the reader to experience with the presented short-term methods of pastoral care and to discover the rich possibilities it offers despite the limited time available. The first six chapters of the book focus on the theoretical foundations, while the rest of the book provides the methodological underpinnings.

Református Szemle 115.5 (2022)ReviewPractical theology
Kocsev Miklós499 -- 510

Authenticity as a way of being has been considered one of the defining concepts of a minister’s life. The current lecture aims to pinpoint three major issues related to this subject, namely authenticity in a minister’s relation to the Word, to the organization and to himself/herself. This presentation can more appropriately be regarded as a summary of a professional life rather than a full-fledged scientific enquiry. It aims to provide an opportunity to reflect on one’s human and professional credibility.

Református Szemle 115.5 (2022)Research articlePractical theology
Nagy József479 -- 498

This study seeks to unfold the meaning of Col 3:11, comparing it to Gal 3:28 and 1 Cor 12:13. Despite the recurring terms “Greek and Jew” or “slave and free”, the three texts cannot be proven to represent any fixed form of speech. All three lists should be interpreted within their own settings. Accordingly, within the context of the Epistle to the Colossians, and especially Col 3:5–17, it can be concluded that, in contrast to the catalogue of offences mentioned in vss. 5 and 8–9, none of the characters listed in Col 3:11 are incompatible with the new man, nor with the set of Christian virtues in vss. 12–17. Depending on the available data, the individual terms of vs. 11 are interpreted within the larger Pauline corpus as well.

Református Szemle 115.5 (2022)Research articleNew Testament
Bálint Péter306 -- 331

Folklorists remain indebted to this day for exploring the possible occurrences of Jesus-patterns in folktales: this is a gap that I aim to fill in this study. The storytellers of the Carpathian Basin were fond of creating parallels between the life and deeds of the fairy-tale hero and Jesus. The narration of the miraculous birth, the divine origin, the hidden childhood, the healing activity, the crucifixion, the underworld passage, and the resurrection as parabolic narratives are presented in plentiful variants. The similarities and differences show that in peasant communities Jesus was imagined as an ordinary man, a teacher, and a helper of the poor. The image of Jesus in the tale narratives sheds light on the mindset and vernacular language of local religious communities.

Református Szemle 115.4 (2022)Research articleOther
Borsi Attila János280 -- 305

An appropriate understanding of the praxis of Christian piety is an integral part of Christian life. In various periods of the Church, Christian piety was evaluated from different perspectives. The reason for this was not only the altering praxis of piety in the Church. After all, Christian piety has a narrative and interpretative function. It is narrative in providing context to Christian self-understanding. It is interpretative in two respects. On the one side, it never stands alone but functions as a reflexion on the Christian teaching. On the other side, it concretises the Christian teaching (dogma) itself. The reformed doctrine of sanctification is especially decisive in contextualising the practice of Christian piety. This article evaluates this concern through a concrete time of the Christian Church, having the doctrine of sanctification in its focus.

Református Szemle 115.4 (2022)Research articleSystematic theology
Éles Éva265 -- 279

For centuries, the position of the biblical text in the preaching of the church has been determined by the Reformed principle of Sola Scriptura. Preaching starts with the Bible and ends with it. The theories of Thomas G. Long and Wilfried Engemann point out that it is insufficient and inadequate to limit the biblical preaching of the church to this observation. What is needed are theories that give a contemporary and professional interpretation of biblicism as a homiletical category and that expose the paradigm shifts behind the pathos of Sola Scriptura. The synthesis has sought to present theologians who, with clarity and proper reflection, will help us interpret the paradigm shifts. The German Wilfried Engemann considers the homiletical triangle of text-preacher-congregation in the context of life lived by faith, and the American Thomas G. Long in the context of the encounter with Jesus. Engemann provides the preacher with a homiletic map, like an online Google map indicating the current road information: where to expect road repairs, traffic jams, direction extensions, etc. From Long, we get more of a “kerygmatic homiletics”, i.e. a compass instead of a map. Engemann’s concepts are more elegant, differentiated and original, Long’s are more prosaic, expansive and embedded. Both approaches are “lamps shining in a dark place” standing on the table of the contemporary preacher, who must be able to navigate both with compass and map until “the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts” (2 Pt 1:19).

Református Szemle 115.4 (2022)Research articlePractical theology
Kovács Kristián247 -- 264

The Hebrew root הבל is one of the most frequent expressions of the book of Qohelet, so to say one of the keywords of his theology. Besides, within the entire Old Testament, this term appears most frequently in this book. Insofar as הבל carries a value judgment for the message of Qohelet, this term is hugely important. Within the history of research, scholars either concentrate on specific loci of the occurrences or focus on the Hebrew expression in general. In our article, we attempt to categorize all occurrences of הבל according to its contexts in the Book of Qohelet and detect the theological meaning and relevance in both his narrow and the wider literal context. Furthermore, we aim to detect the influence of Qohelet’s special vocabulary in its narrow context of the הבל-paraphrases.

Református Szemle 115.4 (2022)Research articleOld Testament