n Koers : Bulletin for Christian Scholarship = Koers : Bulletin vir Christelike Wetenskap - Reformation and / or Renaissance? A comparison between John Calvin's and Thabo Mbeki's ideas of renewal : research article

Volume 67, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0023-270X
  • E-ISSN: 2304-8557



This essay compares the differences and similarities between the European Renaissance (±1300 - ±1600) and the African Renaissance in order to determine what an apposite Christian attitude would be. The first section describes the European Renaissance as a reaction to the Middle Ages and a return to the original sources of Western civilisation. Two different trends are distinguished, viz. classical humanism and evangelical humanism. The ideas of the great Renaissance thinker and evangelical humanist, John Calvin, about reformation receive special attention in this regard. He learned much from his contemporaries, but did so in a critical, independent way. From the five different Christian worldviews which crystallised during the Renaissance epoch, his Reformational worldview was the most strongly biblically founded one. The second main part of the essay first asks some critical questions about the African Renaissance and then provides a brief historical survey of past efforts at an African Renaissance, followed by an exposition and evaluation of Thabo Mbeki's ideas about an African Renaissance. The third main section of the essay poses the question as to what role Christianity can and should play in the African Renaissance. Similar to the attitude of Calvin, we should both learn from it and contribute to it from the perspective of a Christian worldview.

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