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Supplement 1, December 2014
Author Robert VoslooSource: Dutch Reformed Theological Journal = Nederduitse Gereformeerde Teologiese Tydskrif 55, pp 937 –939 (2014)More Less
Theology on the edge. This was the theme of a conference held from 3-5 September 2014 at the Faculty of Theology, Stellenbosch University, honouring the South African Reformed theologian and Bonhoeffer scholar John de Gruchy on his 75th birthday. De Gruchy is Emeritus Professor of Christian Studies at the University of Cape Town and an Extraordinary Professor in the Faculty of Theology at Stellenbosch University.
Author Larry RasmussenSource: Dutch Reformed Theological Journal = Nederduitse Gereformeerde Teologiese Tydskrif 55, pp 941 –954 (2014)More Less
Anew geologic epoch, the Anthropocene, seems to be emerging. It is the result of humanity becoming the single most powerful force of planetary nature itself. A re-reading of Bonhoeffer, from 1932 through the prison letters, uncovers his premonitions of Anthropocene reality, together with its human causes. 1) An aggressive Western war-and-industry identity alienated from nature and fuelled by mastery that knows no limits as undertaken by autonomous humans in the name of freedom without constraint has accompanied, even driven, and gravely expanded human knowledge and power. 2) The reach of this human knowledge and power upon all earthly life has strained our ethical concepts to the breaking point. This sets in motion the need to reconceive moral responsibility itself. 3) There is no dialling back of history to some previous age, including the age of a religious a priori and the God of religion. For Christians, this means the constructive work entails deep interrogation of faith's essential base points - Who is God? What do we really believe such that we would stake our lives on it? Who is Jesus Christ for us today when "today" is another epoch, even a non-analogous one? 4) In an epoch where "everything depends on humankind", the constructive work of faith and the experience of Jesus Christ will be this-worldly and Earth-honouring. Transcendence, indeed God, is "the beyond in the midst of life", experienced in an ethic of human responsibility for "the whole of earthly life".
Author Keith ClementsSource: Dutch Reformed Theological Journal = Nederduitse Gereformeerde Teologiese Tydskrif 55, pp 955 –972 (2014)More Less
Bonhoeffer's deep commitment to the ecumenical movement from 1931 onwards was founded on his theology of the church as "Christ existing as community", the new humanity. He had no "ecumenical theology" apart from this, writ large. This undergirded both his devotion to the Confessing Church and his call for the churches to embody and proclaim peace in a world bent on war. Bonhoeffer's posthumous influence has been deeply creative in the ecumenical movement since 1945 but the challenge laid down in his prison writings for a Christianity that does not seek privileges but truly identifies with the world has still not been fully answered by the institutional churches and ecumenical bodies. A truly ecumenical church is one, which fully identifies with the oikoumene, the whole inhabited earth, its religious and non-religious aspects, and is itself transformed in encountering with the world as much as it seeks to transform the world.
Source: Dutch Reformed Theological Journal = Nederduitse Gereformeerde Teologiese Tydskrif 55, pp 973 –984 (2014)More Less
This paper deals with reflections on the relevance of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's legacy for Christian existence in our present world. To do so, the author first concentrates on a specific aspect of Bonhoeffer's life, the continuous movement of return and new beginning, which is displayed by three stations of his life. Following, the author describes a single characteristic of Bonhoeffer's theology, the priority of questions over answers, shown likewise by three of his central questions. As in present times Christians are confronted with innumerable challenges that ask for an answer, this paper concludes by taking Bonhoeffer's three just interpreted questions as indicators for three case studies en miniature on Christian responsibility with regard to the future. In this way, the author wishes to present suggestions for an ethics of responsibility as part of public theology, inspired by the legacy of Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Author Nico KoopmanSource: Dutch Reformed Theological Journal = Nederduitse Gereformeerde Teologiese Tydskrif 55, pp 985 –998 (2014)More Less
This article discusses the meaning of the theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer for Public Theology in South Africa. It specifically discusses the meaning of Bonhoeffer for the public quest for life together in churches and a society that hunger for a joint journey towards a life of dignity for all, justice for all, freedom for all. Bonhoeffer's own emphasis on life together is discussed with reference to his emphasis on life together as a Trinitarian gift, and his Christological and ecclesiological understanding of human beings and life together. Directives for the concrete practice of life together are inferred from Bonhoeffer's work by specifically discussing his own commitment to a life of interpathy, and his thinking about morally acceptable compromises in our quest to advance life together.
Author Graham WardSource: Dutch Reformed Theological Journal = Nederduitse Gereformeerde Teologiese Tydskrif 55, pp 999 –1013 (2014)More Less
Taking the model of salvation from the Latin salus, this essay explores the emotional physiology of grace. Drawing upon contemporary work on emotion by affect theorists, cognitive- and neuro-scientists, the essay proceeds through a detailed analysis of the paradigmatic accounts of salvation and its effects in the Annunciation and Magnificat scenes from the Gospel of Luke. It concludes that salvation is a deep emotional concern and that, while there is no emotion that can be described as non-Christian, there are certain affects that are divine before they are human.
Author Frank Burch BrownSource: Dutch Reformed Theological Journal = Nederduitse Gereformeerde Teologiese Tydskrif 55, pp 1015 –1024 (2014)More Less
Although one major form of theological aesthetics today is aesthetics of divine revelation, there is an important role for a theological aesthetics focused more on art and culture, with attention to ethics as well. This paper explores the potentially transformative power of the art of fiction, in its ethical and theological dimension, partly through an analysis of the novel Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. The discussion attends to the novel's ways of showing the limitations of human judgment, the difficulty of forgiveness, and yet the way in which even imperfect forms of forgiveness can be graced, becoming a blessing.
Author Denise M. AckermannSource: Dutch Reformed Theological Journal = Nederduitse Gereformeerde Teologiese Tydskrif 55, pp 1025 –1034 (2014)More Less
The tragic is undeniable and pervasive in our world. Our responses to it differ, ranging from despair, anger and disillusionment to hope that arises in the human spirit, despite tragic circumstances. This paper begins by looking briefly at the tragic, followed by a discussion of the elusive nature of hope that emerges in situations of suffering and adversity. The last section suggests that attempting to understand the mystery of hope in such circumstances entails embracing mystery as integral to religious experience. Finally, consideration is given to prayers of lament that name the suffering, followed by the willingness to wait in silence upon a possible encounter with the Holy One that will speak into situations otherwise inexplicable.
The emergence of personhood - why the evolution of the moral sense and symbolic behaviour defines the human selfAuthor J. Wentzel Van HuyssteenSource: Dutch Reformed Theological Journal = Nederduitse Gereformeerde Teologiese Tydskrif 55, pp 1035 –1053 (2014)More Less
In this essay I want to ask whether contemporary theories of human evolution might provide us with important bridge theories to theological anthropology and thus to a positive and constructive way of appropriating Darwinian thought for Christian theology. From a more philosophical point of view I am asking whether Darwin's perspective on human evolution can help us move forward to more constructive, holistic notions of self and personhood. In John de Gruchy's remarkable new book, Led into Mystery, we not only see this kind of "archaeology of personhood" strongly implied, but De Gruchy lifts up issues that are of great importance for evolutionary anthropology, and goes into a direct dialogue with neuropsychology and the neurosciences. In so doing he reveals the crucial impact of these sciences for central theological themes like the question of God, the perennial theodicee problem, the imago Dei, human consciousness, free will, life after death, and brain, mind, body and soul. In this way De Gruchy touches directly on some of the greatest controversies in current science and theology discussions. I would like to show that John de Gruchy places these crucial interdisciplinary issues in the centre of discussions on the human self, and in so doing opens up exciting trajectories that even go beyond the focused scope of his own project - notably challenging implications for the evolution of morality and of religion.
"A hope unprepared to accept things as they are" : engaging John de Gruchy's challenges for "Theology at the edge"Author Allan Aubrey BoesakSource: Dutch Reformed Theological Journal = Nederduitse Gereformeerde Teologiese Tydskrif 55, pp 1055 –1074 (2014)More Less
This article argues, in conversation with the work of John de Gruchy, for the continuation of the struggle for the integrity of the prophetic witness of the church in the world. Prophetic theology is, as all true prophetic theology always is, indeed a theology "on the edge" - always on the edge of challenge and risk, of confrontation with the powers and principalities of our present age. The article also challenges the waves of Christian neo-fundamentalism washing over Africa and much of the global South with its toxic neocolonialist package deal of scriptural selectivity, violent homophobia, patriarchal power, and anti-justice agenda. Prophetic theology should be much better prepared to take on the challenges posed by it. Prophetic theology, furthermore, is not rooted in the hope of acceptance by those who rule the world, but grounded in the hope that is unprepared to accept the world as it is and as the powerful have made it; a hope in the reign of God that will overcome the reign of terror that rules our world.
Source: Dutch Reformed Theological Journal = Nederduitse Gereformeerde Teologiese Tydskrif 55, pp 1075 –1077 (2014)More Less
Needless to say I was delighted and deeply honoured when the Faculty of Theology at Stellenbosch University decided to hold a conference in celebration of my 75th birthday in 2014. I am grateful to all those who made it possible, to all who presented papers, and to all who participated, and I am now delighted that most of the papers presented, together with some given at the Volmoed Colloquium which proceeded the Stellenbosch Conference, have been brought together and published in this volume. Those at the Colloquium were all related to doing theology in dialogue with Dietrich Bonhoeffer, as were the opening two lectures at the Conference. The rest of the lectures related to other major themes that have emerged in the course of my theological journey, though they appeared on the programme roughly in reverse order. We began with Bonhoeffer because of his influence on my theology from virtually the beginning, but ended with the church struggle in South Africa to signal that though this, too, was dominant from very early, it is a task and a struggle that continues. Other themes, namely theology and the aesthetics, Christianity and art, Christian humanism and theological engagement with science, made up the substance in the middle.