Christian faith and justice? : a theological investigation into Nicholas Wolterstorff's perspectives on justice

Myburgh, Daniella (2013-03)

Thesis (MTh)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: As backdrop and context for this study, injustices present in South Africa are briefly discussed, as well as the impact of such injustices on the people of the country. The focus then turns to the work of Nicholas Wolterstorff in order to see what type of light Wolterstorff’s perspectives on justice can shed on the quest for justice in contemporary societies, and what type of role the Christian faith can play within such justice discourses. An attempt is made to address this question by describing Wolterstorff's central ideas and perspectives on justice as clearly as possible. This is not an exhaustive critique on his thought and therefore it focuses mainly on understanding Wolterstorff’s own literature regarding justice. His approach to justice can be seen as a theological challenge that incorporates both history and philosophy. Wolterstorff’s central notions will become the focus throughout the second and third chapters. This includes his thorough theological account for the conception of justice as inherent rights as oppose to a right order. It also includes Wolterstorff’s examination of Biblical and theological perspectives on justice to support and strengthen his own account. Human worth is found to be the crucial grounding for his account of justice as inherent rights, and thus human dignity is also brought into the picture. Furthermore, the interrelatedness of love and justice is central to his thinking and will be explored thoroughly, especially as he addresses other notions in which love and justice oppose one another. Finally, the focus will turn to how Wolterstorff brings a component of care into his understanding of love and justice and how every person is called to care for the other. In the last chapter, chapter 4, the focus will turn to how all this ultimately then contributes to the questions raised, in other words how the key elements of Wolterstorff’s work can be understood, as well as the role of Christian faith within Wolterstorff’s understanding of justice, which includes the importance of justice discourse, how discourse leads to action, and ultimately loving one’s neighbour with love as care.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: As agtergrond vir hierdie studie word daar gekyk na die vorme van ongeregtigheid wat gevind kan word in Suid Afrika en die impak wat dit het op die mense van die land. Die fokus val dan op die werk van Nicholas Wolterstorff. Daar word gekyk hoe sy perspektiewe van geregtigheid lig kan skyn op die optog vir geregtigheid in kontemporêre gemeenskappe, spesifiek met betrekking tot die rol van Christelike geloof in sulke diskoerse. Hierdie vrae word aangespreuk deur te om Wolterstorff se sentrale idees en perspektiewe van geregtigheid so duidelik moontlik te beskryf. Hier word nie ekstensief kritiek gelewer op Wolterstorff se werk en denke nie en dus word daar gefokus op die relevansie van sy eie werke met betrekking tot geregtigheid. Sy benadering tot geregtigheid kan beskryf word as ‘n teologiese uitdaging wat wel ook geskiedenis en filosofie inkorporeer. Wolterstorff se kern temas word dus die focus van die tweede en derde hoofstukke. Dit sluit in sy deeglike teologiese verstaan van die konsep van geregtigheid as inherente regte in plaas van as regs-orde. Dit sluit ook in Wolterstorff se ondersoek van Bybelse en teologiese perspektiewe van geregtigheid om sy eie verstaan daarvan te ondersteun en versterk. Menslike waarde word gesien as die noodsaaklike element waarin sy teorie van geregtigheid gegrond word, en dus word menswaardigheid ook in die prentjie in gebring. Daar word verder deeglik gekyk na die interaflike verhouding tussen geregtigheid en liefde wat sentraal is in Wolterstorff se denke, spesifiek deur te kyk hoe hy idees aanspreek waarin die twee konsepte mekaar teenstaan. Laastens word daar gefokus op hoe Wolterstorff ‘n omgee-komponent inbring by hierdie verhouding tussen geregtigheid en liefde, sowel as hoe elke persoon geroep is om vir die ander om te gee op hierdie manier. In die laaste hoofstuk, hoofstuk vier, word die fokus dan geplaas op hoe bogenoemde kan bydra tot die vraagstelling van die studie, in ander woorde, hoe die kern elemente van Wolterstorff se werk duidelik verstaan kan word, asook die rol van Christen geloof binne Wolterstorff se verstaan van geregtigheid.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/80035
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