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'n Nota oor gasvryheid

Ons word in die Bybel beveel om gasvryheid te betoon (bv. Rom. 24:13). Die onderstaande nota help om gasvryheid in die Bybelse tyd en kultuur te verstaan:

"Hospitality may be defined as ‘the process by means of which an outsider’s status is changed from stranger to guest’. It is not something a person provides for family or friends but for strangers.

Strangers need hospitality, for otherwise they will be treated as non-human because they are potentially a threat to the community. Strangers had no standing in law or custom, and therefore needed a patron in the community they were visiting. There was no universal brotherhood in the ancient Mediterranean world.

Certain ‘rules’ of hospitality had to be observed by guests and hosts. Guests must not (i) insult their host or show any kind of hostility or rivalry; (ii) usurp the role of their host in any way, for example, making themselves at home when not invited to do so, ordering the dependents of the host about, and making demands of their host; (iii) refuse what is offered, especially food. Hosts, for their part, must not (i) insult their guests or make any show of hostility or rivalry; (ii) neglect to protect their guests’ honor; (iii) fail to show concern for the needs of their guests.

Hospitality was not reciprocated between individuals (because once people became guests they were no longer strangers), but it was reciprocated between communities. And it was to the strangers’ own community that they were obliged to sing the praises of their hosts if they had been treated well (cf. 3 John. 5–8) and to which they would report adversely if they had not been welcomed properly (cf. 3 John. 9–10).

Communities would repay hospitality to strangers from another community if that community had treated their own people well.

Letters of recommendation were important in the matter of hospitality. Their function was ‘to help divest the stranger of his strangeness, to make him at least only a partial stranger, if not an immediate guest’. To refuse to accept those recommended was to dishonor the one who recommended them, and in the Mediterranean culture of the first century the one dishonored had to seek satisfaction or bear the shame heaped upon him by the refusal of his commendation."

Kruse, C.G. (2012) Paul’s Letter to the Romans. Edited by D.A. Carson. Cambridge, U.K.; Nottingham, England; Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company; Apollos (The Pillar New Testament Commentary), pp. 478–479.


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