Thompson's modes of operation of ideology and depth hermeneutics as hermeneutical tools: ideology and the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 4:23-7:29): forum

Acta Theologica 24 (1) (2004)
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This paper will first provide a synopsis of Thompson's understanding of ideology and then apply it to two selected verses (Mt 5:3 & 4) from the Sermon on the Mount. An attempt will be made to reveal the existence of an ideology in the text, determine its symbolic form and construction, and confirm the suitability of Thompson's modes of operation of ideology and depth hermeneutics as tools of interpretation to be applied to the text. This methodology will disclose how one could control the masses with an ideology that claimed to benefit them; how the text can be presenting an opposing ideology to the prevailing ideologies and finally show that the text also reveals an asymmetrical relation of power and dominion between God and the hearers of the text that ultimately will benefit them. Reading the text in its particular social-historical setting this article will endeavour to disclose and draw attention to symbolic phenomena that serve and sustain relations (domination being one aspect of this association) between God and his people who are the oppressed and persecuted.
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