n HTS : Theological Studies - An epistemological reflection on the relevance of monastic traditions for retreat in the Dutch Reformed tradition

Volume 62, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0259-9422
  • E-ISSN: 2072-8050



The article focuses on retreat as a relatively new phenomenon in the Dutch Reformed tradition. Retreat is viewed as "communicative action". The aim of the article is firstly to explore epistemological theories in the postmodern paradigm. These theories provide a mental framework for the identification of a research model and a related methodology by means of which the relevance of monastic traditions for retreat in the Reformed tradition can be discovered. The identification of appropriate theories offers an adequate model and method for entering into a narrative inter-dialogue with retreatants. The article argues that Paul Ricoeur's concept of the hermeneutical arc, Hans-Georg Gadamer's notion of the fusion of horizons, and Jürgen Habermas' emphasis on symmetrical communication supply the necessary epistemological theories for such a project. From the perspective of this epistemology, the "action of retreat" is described in terms of a social constructionist model which paves the way for the method of qualitative interviewing. The project can be described as a narrative research journey.

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