oa South African Journal of Cultural History - P.J.S. de Klerk (1895-1971) - teologg en kultuurleier

Volume 11, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1011-3053



In many respects the life of Philippus Jacobus Stephanus de Klerk (1895-1971) reflects the Cultural History of the Afrikaner of his day. He was born on 3 November 1895 in the district Philippolis in the Free State and lived through the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) as a small boy. He matriculated at the Gymnasium in Steynsburg, but in 1913 his parents moved to Potchefstroom where De Klerk studied at the Reformed Church of South Africa Seminary. After qualifying as a minister of this church in 1921 he left for Holland where he obtained a doctor's degree in Theology at the Vrije Universiteit of Amsterdam in 1923. De Klerk was minister of the Reformed Church of South Africa for twenty-five years, mainly in the Pretoria East congregation, where he was minister until 1949. During these years the Afrikaans translation of the Bible was taken into use (1933), followed by the Afrikaans Psalm-book (1937). De Klerk was an outspoken champion of Afrikaner Nationalism and followed the centenary of the Great Trek in 1938 enthusiastically. He wrote many newspaper articles dealing with current affairs, especially during the Second World War (1939-1945), when National Socialism was supported by a number of Afrikaners, a cause with which he could not identify. De Klerk wrote ten books, of which the Handboek gewyde geskiedenis went through fourteen editions. In 1949 he was appointed professor of Dogmatics at the Theological Seminary of the Reformed Church of South Africa and in Biblical Studies at the University of Potchefstroom. Bad health forced him to retire in 1961 and he died in Pretoria in 1971.

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