Original Research

Patronage and clientelism in the fourth gospel

Abiola Mbamalu
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 47, No 1 | a657 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v47i1.657 | © 2013 Abiola Mbamalu | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 10 September 2012 | Published: 07 August 2013

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Abiola Mbamalu, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, South Africa


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Abstract

Patronage and clientelism as a social-scientific model is used in this article to read the fourth gospel. It is the contention of the article that this model affords the reader fresh vistas of meaning that otherwise would have remained unexplored. It is a reading amongst other readings and does not make pretensions to illuminate every segment of the fourth gospel. Rather, it selectively looks at areas where reading against the backdrop of a patron-client model illuminates the text. This reading sheds light on the greatest gift Jesus came to give, the gift of life as a beneficium, and affirms that the signs that Jesus performed are commendationes. Jesus brokers the blessings of the kingdom to those who believe in him on behalf of the father who is the ultimate patron. Jesus also challenges popular notions of patronage by performing acts reserved for slaves by, for example, washing the feet of his disciples.

In hierdie artikel word die begrippe begunstiging en kliëntskap as ’n sosiaal-wetenskaplike model vir die verstaan van die vierde evangelie aangewend. Die doel van hierdie artikel is om aan die leser ’n nuwe begrip te bied wat andersins onontgin sou bly. Die teks van die vierde evangelie word vanuit een invalshoek onder ander invalshoeke gelees en daar word nie voorgegee dat elke segment van hierdie betrokke evangelie daardeur belig sal kan word nie. Daar word vanuit ’n selektiewe invalshoek gefokus op sekere dele waarin die teks verlig word deur perspektiewe wat deur die beskermheer-kliënt model gebied word. So ’n fokus beklemtoon juis die grootste geskenk wat Jesus Christus aan die mensdom gee, naamlik die gawe van lewe. Jesus gee namens die Vader, wie die uiteindelike beskermheer is, die seëninge van die koninkryk aan diegene wat in Hom glo. Terselfdertyd daag Jesus ook die aanvaarde model rakende die draagwydte van beskermheer-skap uit deur verskeie handelinge wat vir slawe gereserveer was, self te verrig, soos dit blyk uit die was van sy dissipels se voete.


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