Journal index

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 Krisztián247 -- 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
Ambrus Mózes329 -- 351

The Second Vienna Award brought a positive turn for the Hungarians living in Northern Transylvania, which was also reflected in the academic life. In our study, we examine the impact of the return to the motherland on the work of theological teachers. Református Szemle was one of the most important press organs of Transylvanian Reformed Church, and we will examine the writings, editorials and articles published there. The articles of the year 1940 are examined in more detail. During this year, four teachers (Tavaszy, Gönczy, Imre, Nagy) had their writings published in the Református Szemle. We analyse their writings exploring the eventual influence of the aftermath of the Second Vienna Award on the style, message and theme of their writings.

Református Szemle 115.3 (2022)Research articleChurch history
Bálint Péter281 -- 328

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 115.3 (2022)Research articleSystematic theology, Other
Kulcsár Árpád259 -- 280

In this paper I examine the first collection of sermons of László Ravasz, published by him between 1903–1910 in several journals, such as the Református Szemle, the Protestáns Prédikátori Tár, the Protestáns Szemle, and later in his book entitled Ez ama Jézus. These sermons stage the first steps of Ravasz in the field of homiletics and preaching, being influenced and inspired by well-known Western European preachers, as well as his Transylvanian mentors. His preaching from this period testifies to the influence of liberal theology, but he also brings in new and original perspectives into the content, structure and style, furnishing some long-term perspectives for the Hungarian Reformed preaching.

Református Szemle 115.3 (2022)Research articlePractical theology
Éles Éva247 -- 258

1 Peter 3:18–22 is one of the strangest and most difficult texts of the Scriptures. The paraenesis addressing the unjustly suffering Christians in Asia Minor is amended by a confession of faith. The pericope testifies that the death, resurrection, ascension and redemption of Christ has much broader spatial and temporal implications than one might think at first. This article aims to mark the exegetical and theological coordinates of the mysterious encounter between Christ and the souls in prison. Three questions will be explored: Who are these souls? What did Christ preach them about? When did the encounter take place?

Református Szemle 115.3 (2022)Research articleNew Testament
Adorjáni Zoltán220 -- 222Református Szemle 115.2 (2022)In memoriamOther
Visky Sándor Béla183 -- 186Református Szemle 115.2 (2022)EssaySystematic theology
Buzogány Dezső173 -- 182

During the inspection visits in local congregations, the committee used a series of questions addressing both the local pastor and the congregation. Such sets of enquiring questions survived only from the end of the 17. century in the Hungarian Reformed Church. Nevertheless, we cannot exclude that the church inspection committee used such questions even during earlier periods, as the Western-European church model had been implemented in the Hungarian Reformed church since the beginning of the Reformation. According to Zepper, when the day for inspection arrived, the entire congregation was supposed to have been gathered in the church building before the inspection committee. This was the place where the local minister had to be enquired not only about his preaching, but about his entire pastoral activity. Furthermore, the congregation was enquired about the local minister’s services and behaviour, whether the church members were able to follow the sermons delivered by the minister, whether the sermons adhere to the Bible and the confessions, whether catechetical work was regularly carried out among the youth, etc. Such enquiries aimed to smoothen communication between the minister and his congregation.

Református Szemle 115.2 (2022)Research articleChurch history
Lőrinczy Petra136 -- 172

This paper aims to discover the various problems of the term syncretism, and its definition in anthropology, religious studies and theology in relation to the Korean Protestant inter-denominational discourse. Before being able to evaluate any case or accusation of syncretism within the Korean context, we need to realise, that even the term itself is a widely disputed concept. The first half of this paper examines the various standpoints related to the relevance or irrelevance of the scientific use of syncretism. The second half of the paper aims to shed light on the specific areas of the traditional Korean religiosity found to be in a direct or indirect relation to the Protestant Korean Christianity. The study chose to work through the traditional shamanism of Korea, since it is the tradition, that is most frequently correlated with Korean Christianity. In the last part of the study, the author brings several pro and contra examples regarding the question of the syncretic relation between Korean Protestant Christianity and the local shamanistic traditions. A Korean source-based research is still to be conducted for a more conclusive standpoint on the matter and further research on the question of the terms syncretism, inculturation and indigenization could also yield interesting results.

Református Szemle 115.2 (2022)Research articlePractical theology, Missiology
Balogh Péter119 -- 135

The study focuses on the human side of apostle Paul: his mentality and his characteristics manifested in social interactions. Analysing the changes related to his conversion we realise that he did not become a different person, rather his real God-given personality came to be revealed in his ministry for God. We may consider Paul’s way of life a practical lesson, exposing an example to follow. Tracing the chronology of his mission trips we observe the dynamics of his social network, referring to companions joining and leaving the team and contacts of various intensity. Considering the findings of social psychology, we examine the features of mission teams formed around him which cohere with recent recommendations on how to be effective in teamwork.

Református Szemle 115.2 (2022)Research articleNew Testament
Mezey Mónika109 -- 118

Many of the parallels between rabbinic and early Christian writings can be explained by their common heritage and their shared opposition to pagan society. Their attitude towards spectacles may be an exception because the Hebrew Bible does not provide any guidance in this regard, yet their arguments against pagan entertainments are often based on the same proof text (Ps 1:1). This may be the result of intensive academic communication, but it could also be traced back to a common oral tradition.

Református Szemle 115.2 (2022)Research articleOld Testament, Antiquity studies, Judaica
Buzogány Dezső62 -- 68

According to Wilhelm Zepper, church government has two distinctive responsibilities: the
meeting (synodus) and the inspection or control (visitatio). The visitation of the members of a
congregation (visitatio domestica) is the most useful and most important of all kinds of visitations
in the Church. The duty of the local minister is not only to preach from the pulpit once or twice
a week. He needs to know the members of his congregation personally. These personal meetings
also belong to the area of pastoral care. Some congregation members could be prohibited to
participate in the regular church service due to some kind of illness or weakness. They would,
nonetheless, need to be strengthened by the word of God considering their special condition.
The official visitation (visitatio specialis) of the inspector (dean) of the classis should take place at
least once a year. The dean inspecting the life of the church is accompanied during these
visitations by a few colleagues and the local state authority.

Református Szemle 115.1 (2022)Research articleChurch history
Bálint Péter37 -- 61

In the folktales of the ethnicities of the Carpathian Basin, the phenomenon of stepchildhood (due to orphanhood, separation, removal from home, transfer or remarriage) occurs quite frequently. This phenomenon has been thoroughly mapped by mythologists and folklorists, by exegetes and prominent scholars of medieval and modern history from the perspective of different disciplines. However, the literary hermeneutic analysis of these narratives reveals the historical and socio-cultural background, the individual and local community experience from which the existence of a marginalized child, sometimes barely tolerated and sometimes totally deprived of rights in the family, can be interpreted. As a compensation for the unbearable foster-life, the storytellers aim to overwrite the bad experience by creating a good fortune through the intercession of a helping being, a ‟God-sent man”, assisting the hero.

Református Szemle 115.1 (2022)Research articleVarious
Marjovszky Tibor, Márton János25 -- 36

In ancient Israel, the lack of winter rains was not only seen as an economic crisis, but also as a warning from God. Whenever the rainy season passed without rainfall, the sages proclaimed a public fast. Part 2 of the Mishnaic tractate Tacanit treatise deals in detail with the rituals that the patriarch, the president of the tribunal, the clergy and the members of the congregation were required to perform. The external ceremonies, such as the sprinkling of ashes on the ark, included various blessings which pointed to the real purpose of fasting: to set the heart back on the right path. The days of fasting, therefore, provide an opportunity to fulfil the prerequisites for conversion: confession and repentance of sins. The chapter also mentions the days on which fasting is expressly forbidden and those who are exempt from fasting in the strict sense. Lastly, because it was a matter of the repentance of the community, the sages also took care to ensure that thus traders did not fall into the sin of greed, and tried to exclude any attempts of abuse in business.

Református Szemle 115.1 (2022)Research articleJudaica
Máthé-Farkas Zoltán5 -- 24

Job 19,25–27 are probably the most widely known verses from his book. This pericope is often evoked on funeral occasions, and many Christians undoubtedly ponder those while struggling with the issue of death. The current study does not aim to correct the Christian faith. From the perspective of systematic theology, the Redeemer of Job and that of the Christians is the very same Christ. This essay attempts to outline the meaning of the text through linguistic and poetical analysis. A text (including a spontaneous one) informs a reader even by the way it was created. That is emphatically true in case of a writing formed, handed down, redacted in a stabilized version. (Scribal mistakes, of course, cannot be excluded, but until proven let the principle of lectio difficilior be followed.) The present essay strives to understand the meaning of Job’s words about his Restorer, who is able to redeem even when the flesh and the heart are consumed.

Református Szemle 115.1 (2022)Research articleOld Testament
Ambrus Mózes709 -- 720

As a consequence of the Second Vienna Award of 30 August 1940, the Transylvanian Reformed Church was split into two parts. Broadly 240 000 Reformed believers in Southern Transylvania came under the jurisdiction of the Romanian state. Bishop János Vásárhelyi and the Council of Church Directors of the Transylvanian Reformed Church entrusted Ferenc Nagy and Count Bálint Bethlen with the task of organising the administration of the congregations in Southern Transylvania. The church also had to decide on how to organise the training of pastors in the South Transylvanian Reformed Church District. In the spring of 1941, a training course was organised for theologians, after which they could complete the theological studies they had begun. In September 1941, the Bethlen Theological Academy in Nagyenyed was opened, with four departments and four full-time teachers.

Református Szemle 114.6 (2021)Research articleChurch history
Biró István687 -- 708

In our study, we examined a significant change of administration and power: what was the impact of the Second Vienna Award of 30 August 1940 on the Faculty of Theology of the Transylvanian Reformed Church in Cluj/Kolozsvár? This historical turn of events was not only a cause for joy, but also a major change and challenge for theological education.

We were able to gain insight into the challenges the faculty and its leadership faced in the new situation and the solutions they sought to address them. After the second Vienna Award, the integration of the faculty into the ecclesiastical higher education of the Hungarian state was one of the primary tasks. The academic situation of the students also had to be sorted out, and the Faculty had to face a significant reduction in its staff and the financial crisis. These influences changed the internal and external life of the faculty; consequently, we see that social, administrative and political changes had a particular impact on the functioning of the institute and on the training of ministers.

The writings of the theological teachers in ecclesiastical publications have provided a basis for understanding the processes of power change in Transylvania in their ecclesiastical context. They helped to develop a correct vision and to identify the perceived and expected consequences of the decision. Our study also shows that during this period, ecclesiastical and public activities were deeply intertwined.

Református Szemle 114.6 (2021)Research articleChurch history
Buzogány Dezső679 -- 686

The synod of the Classis or deanery was the assembly of the church supervisors which gathered once a year. But if unavoidable affairs of local churches required, the synod could be convoked any time it was necessary. In this case they had to notify the public authority to convene an extraordinary meeting even before the regular date of the synod. The proper place for the synod was the main Church Town hall or the palatine’s assembly hall. Thus, the authority may be present at the synod as the one ordained by God to be the upholder and guardian of the church. The task of the chairman was to say a prayer, to collect the votes, to build a bridge between the public authority and supervisors, to see that the decisions of the synod are duly recorded and put in writing, to have them signed by all, and to give them to each participant to take to their congregations. During discussions the public authority has no decisive word like in public administration or society affairs, it has only the right to deliberate. For in ecclesiastical matters, it is not the approval and will of the authority that is decisive, but the word of God, and in the synod this word alone can have the authority of command. To this the authority also owes obedience, for the authority is not lord, but lamb and member of the church. God has not placed the authorities above the church, but in the church.

Református Szemle 114.6 (2021)Research articleChurch history
Magyar Balázs Dávid616 -- 678

The reception of John Calvin’s theology and social thoughts in Hungary raises several historical, judicial and theological questions. The multi-faceted legacy of Péter Melius Juhász makes it clear that Calvin’s theological and ethical considerations had a profound impact on the sixteenth century moral life of the local townsfolk of Debrecen. But the exploration of the practical aspects of this influence has been neglected in current Calvin-studies. For this reason, the primary intention of the present study is to show what practical implications in the field of public morals the ecclesiastical and literary ministry of the early modern preachers of Geneva and Debrecen had. Readers will find that the Hungarian reformers did not directly refer to the written legacy of Luther or Calvin, but the sifting examination of the Registers of the Magistrates of Debrecen contributes significantly to demonstrating the effectiveness of the doctrines preached by the reformers in Eastern Hungary. Moreover, the elaboration on the public morals of Debrecen also allows a comparison of the moral life of the inhabitants of the two Reformed cities of Geneva and Debrecen.

Református Szemle 114.6 (2021)Research articleChurch history
Literáty Zoltán607 -- 615

Fifty years ago a short book on homiletics was published, entitled As One Without Authority, by Fred B. Craddock, which proved to be a milestone in the history of homiletics. The interval of half a century since its publication allows to appreciate the homiletical concept that was built on the narrative paradigm. This evaluation emerges from the Hungarian context, where narrative preaching has always been a faraway guest for the last fifty years.

Református Szemle 114.6 (2021)Research articlePractical theology
Kulcsár Árpád553 -- 593

On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Reformed Church District of Király- hágómellék, this paper examines the work of alliances within the church (Women’s Alliance, Men’s Alliance, Youths’ Alliance, etc.), with special focus on the social and diaconal work. The paper builds on articles, reportages, footages, and shorter studies of the Reformátusok Lapja (Reformed Magazine), published by the celebrating church district. A synthesis of the available data reveals the difficulties involving the organisation of these alliances and the limited results achieved. 

Református Szemle 114.5 (2021)Research articleChurch history
Higyed István-Levente530 -- 552

In this study we trace back the life of Reformed minister, dean and bishop János Gachal until his traceless disappearance. We also present the organisational development of the Reformed Church in southern Hungary at the moment of the collapse of Austro-Hungarian Monarchy and the border modifications that took place during the Second World War. János Gachal spent most of his ministry in southern Hungary where he experienced the horrors of both world wars. One can discover his integrity in a world that changed abruptly around him. He became active in saving communists, Jews and Yugoslav partisans. He was a skilled organiser of the congregations. The era of his ministry is characterised by a vibrant atmosphere regarding both the life of the church and the cultural and economic life of the communities. During the Second World War he has fallen victim to the unstoppable ethnical cleansing. Even today, nobody exactly knows what exactly happened and where was he buried.

Református Szemle 114.5 (2021)Research articleChurch history