Browsing by Author "Marais, Nadia"
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- ItemAdorn the cross with roses? Justice and human dignity, beauty and human flourishing(University of the Free State, Faculty of Theology, 2020) Marais, NadiaWhat does beauty have to do with justice, justification, and salvation? Can the world be saved by beauty? In this contribution, some theological and rhetorical convergences and differences between the discourse on human dignity and the discourse on human flourishing are explored. The role of beauty, in these discourses, is a pivotal concern - especially as often justice and human rights shape the theological discourse on human dignity. A key proposed argument in this analysis is that justice is to human dignity what beauty is to human flourishing, and that these shape or mould the theological language with which salvation -the good news of the gospel - is articulated. The argument concludes by proposing that both forensic language and aesthetic language are born from the fold of Christian soteriology, and that not only the more static, forensic language of human dignity is required to speak about salvation, but also the more pliable, artistic language of human dignity.
- ItemAlone in the world? Imago Dei from theological anthropology to Christology(AOSIS, 2021-11-16) Marais, NadiaIn Princeton theologian Van Huyssteen’s (2006) major interdisciplinary work, Alone in the World? Human Uniqueness in Science and Theology, human uniqueness is rhetorically coupled with human aloneness. A comparison with a contemporary theological anthropology, namely Yale theologian Kelsey’s (2009) Eccentric Existence: A Theological Anthropology, shows an alternative approach to the notion or concept of the imago Dei, namely a theological shift from viewing human beings as image(s) of God, to viewing human beings as images of Christ, or images of the image of God. This contribution responds to the invitation implied in Van Huyssteen’s book title – are we alone in the world? – by exploring some of the rhetorical implications of a Christological interpretation of the imago Dei. One such implication may imply a different answer to Van Huyssteen’s question – are we alone in the world?; not yes, but no. Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s idea of Christ’s promeity illustrates how the rhetorical dynamics behind such a move in response – from yes to no – may potentially look, and that a rearticulation of human uniqueness could have direct consequences for how we imagine our human aloneness in the world. Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: This article contributes to a specifically intradisciplinary conversation in Systematic Theology, on reading and interpreting the notion or theological idea of human beings being created in the image of God. This article does this through a close reading and comparison of two interdisciplinary projects on what it means to be human, namely Van Huyssteen’s Alone in the World? and Kelsey’s Eccentric Existence.
- ItemBlessed? : a critical analysis of salvation in Denise Ackermann that portrays human flourishing as liberation, grace and the goodness of life(Pieter de Waal Neethling Trust, 2014) Marais, NadiaHappiness and human flourishing has increasingly become a theological research focus in a variety of theological disciplines, including systematic theology (cf Charry, 2012), practical theology (cf Long, 2012) and biblical theology (cf Strawn, 2012). In systematic theology the focus of such research oft en is often creation, salvation and eschatology. The doctrine of salvation has particularly interesting (including etymological) connections with the notions of well-being and health. Th is paper, which forms part of PhD research on human flourishing, proposes to do a critical analysis of renowned Circle theologian Denise Ackermann’s understanding of salvation, since (1) feminist theology (and feminist theologians) has a particular concern for the ‘flourishing of all’, and (2) African theological voices on human flourishing should contribute to the emerging theological thinking on human flourishing. In this paper, it will be argued that salvation in Ackermann’s thought is infused with the vision for ‘abundant life for all’, which culminates with the notion of ‘blessing’.
- ItemEccentric existence? Engaging David H. Kelsey’s theological anthropology as a basis for ecological theology(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2011-12) Marais, Nadia; Smit, D. J.; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Theology. Dept. of Systematic Theology and Ecclesiology.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The earth and her ecology is in crisis, which impacts upon both human and nonhuman communities. Not only due to the blame for ecological destruction that is attributed to humanity (and specifically also to the Christian religion), but also because of the destruction of species, environments and the natural habitat of living beings theology is asked of to step into its public and prophetic role in order to address the challenges in whichever way it can. David Kelsey’s enormous theological anthropology, Eccentric Existence (2009), probably provides opportunities for this, through its theological inquiry and (re)formulation of Christian traditions’ central doctrines and faith formulations. Kelsey’s main thesis is that God relates to all that is not God to create, draw into eschatological consummation, and reconcile. God relates to create the earth and her ecology. God relates to the earth and her ecology creatively (‘living on borrowed breath’) which entails that God relates “to” the earth and her ecology through the medium of address. The ultimate context of the earth and her ecology is therefore that of being directly and indirectly addressed by the triune God, through which it responds to its being called into being. The call that Kelsey describes, and therefore God’s creation of the earth and her ecology, is public and communal, involving both the radical freedom of otherness and the intimate nearness of sameness. God relates to bless the earth and her ecology creatively in God’s life-giving address, by enabling it to be alive and to bring forth life. The earth and her ecology, as particular instances or forms of life, is dynamic, persistent and frail. Creaturely reality involves being and having living bodies, through being created as dying life. The earth and her ecology not only lives, but is enabled to flourish, on borrowed breath. In this way, the earth and her ecology exists eccentrically, finding its reality and worth and being and value outside of itself, in God’s relating to bless it creatively. God relates to draw the earth and her ecology into eschatological consummation. God relates by drawing the earth and her ecology into eschatological consummation (‘living on borrowed time’) which stipulates that God relates “between” the earth and her ecology through the medium of promise. The ultimate context of the earth and her ecology is therefore that of being drawn into God’s own triune life and being called to participate in the glory of God. The earth and her ecology is defined by the absolute promise of eschatological blessing and the implicit promise of transformation in the present and in the future, which is God’s reaching out to all that is not God (also described as the missio Dei). The earth and her ecology, as particular instances or forms of life, stands under both God’s election (or ‘yes’) and God’s judgment (or ‘no’). The earth and her ecology not only lives, but is enabled to flourish, on borrowed time. In this way, the earth and her ecology exists eccentrically, finding its reality and worth and being and value outside of itself, in God’s relating to bless it eschatologically. God reconciles the earth and her ecology to Godself. God relates by reconciling the earth and her ecology through their multiple estrangements (‘living by another’s death’) and entails that God relates “amongst” the earth and her ecology through the medium of exchange. The ultimate context of the earth and her ecology is therefore that of being reconciled to God through its multiple estrangements and being drawn into the divine life of God Godself. Incarnation and what Kelsey calls ‘exchange’ – God incarnated in Jesus exchanging Godself with the earth and her ecology amidst processes of violence and destruction to transform their living death into true life – defines the earth and her ecology in this mode of relating. The earth and her ecology is reconciled with herself and with living beings and all of life through their reconciliation by and in God. God’s reconciliation is liberation and transformation of the earth and her ecology within particular times and places, within its particular contexts. The life of the earth and her ecology is therefore no longer tied to the fulfillment of certain functions or duties (or even vocations) that it may be subjected to or expected of, but lies solely in the worth and value that it finds in living and existing by the life and death of another, of God incarnate, of Jesus the Son. The earth and her ecology not only lives, but is enabled to flourish, by another’s death. In this way, the earth and her ecology exists eccentrically, finding its reality and worth and being and value outside of itself, in God’s relating to reconcile it through its multiple estrangements. God stands in relationship to the earth and her ecology in three ways that sustains and blesses it to flourish as mysterious living being that reflects the glory of the triune God. The appropriate response to this, respectively, is eccentric faith, eccentric hope and eccentric love. The earth and her ecology, like all living beings and all of life, exists eccentrically, through God that relates to it.
- ItemElecting grace? : Friedrich Schleiermacher on the doctrine of election(AOSIS Publishing, 2019) Marais, NadiaFriedrich Schleiermacher’s (1768–1834) theological essay on the doctrine of election – in which he claims to stand squarely within the Reformed tradition – was an attempt to aid church unification in the 19th century Prussian church of which he was a member and a minister. In this essay Schleiermacher resists a narrow focus on individual election and particularly on how election was worked out in the direction of double predestination. The gift of God’s electing grace is worked out historically and is therefore Christological and communal. He argues that God’s will is neither twofold nor divisible – into two parts, concerning the elect and the reprobate – but one, indivisible, unconditional decree governed by the logic of electing grace. This article explores Schleiermacher’s doctrine of election as part of a 250th commemoration of Schleiermacher’s birth, and suggests how Schleiermacher’s essay on election may contribute to theological interpretations and portrayals of the doctrine of election today.
- ItemFriendship in a time of protest? : Friedrich Schleiermacher and Russel Botman on the fabric of (civic) friendship(AOSIS, 2019-11-19) Marais, NadiaFriendship is not often associated with citizenship, politics or civil society – and yet this contribution proposes that civic friendship(s) may be worth consideration as an expression of peacemaking and peacebuilding: the dynamic interplay between our ‘social’ and ‘individual’ selves working towards peace and countering violence. This theological consideration of friendship deals with the interaction between individuality and sociability in the work and thought of a theologian who was deeply interested in such interplay and which may therefore be helpful in theological reflection on friendship. This contribution draws on two theologians who were involved in higher education themselves – the German theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher, who served as rector of the Humboldt University of Berlin (1815–1816), and the South African theologian Russel Botman, who served as rector of Stellenbosch University (2007–2014) – from whom we may learn about (civic) friendship.
- ItemHappy? : a critical analysis of salvation in Ellen Charry that portrays human flourishing as healing, beauty and pleasure(AOSIS OpenJournals, 2015-03) Marais, NadiaHappiness and human flourishing has increasingly, especially in American and German theological writing, become a focus in systematic theological research on creation, salvation and eschatology. The doctrine of salvation has particularly interesting (including etymological) connections with the notions of well-being and health. This paper proposes to do a critical analysis of well known American happiness theologian Ellen Charry’s portrayal of salvation, who engages with classical theology, Christian doctrine and positive psychology to reposition the notions of ‘happiness’ and ‘human flourishing’ within theological reflection. The art of happiness has, for Charry, to do with knowing, loving and enjoying God. In this article it will be argued that Charry’s portrayal of salvation as being ‘happy’ shapes an understanding of flourishing that entails healing, beauty and pleasure.
- ItemImagining human flourishing? : a systematic theological exploration of contemporary soteriological discourses(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2015-12) Marais, Nadia; Smit, D. J.; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Theology. Dept. of Systematic Theology and Ecclesiology.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: An inquiry into the nature and manifestations of human happiness is evidently today an important focus for many academic disciplines. The contemporary revival in happiness studies is accompanied by studies on the rhetoric of happiness. Theologians approach such inquiries from a variety of perspectives, but it would appear as if a deliberate shift from the rhetoric of happiness to the rhetoric of human flourishing is taking place. The intuitive location of such an inquiry is soteriology, because of the doctrine of salvation’s focus on the good news of the gospel. Therefore this study approaches the inquiry into happiness from the landscape of salvation, by way of theological cartography, wherein three contemporary discourses are identified. A first discourse portrays salvation as reconcilitation, wherein a forensic interpretation plays a pivotal role. John Calvin, Friedrich Schleiermacher, and Willie Jonker are examined as three influential types of this discourse. A soteriological logic of faith is identified as a central pattern within this discourse, also in portraying human flourishing as piety, joy, and comfort. A second discourse portrays salvation as liberation, wherein an ethical interpretation plays a central role. Gustavo Gutiérrez, Mercy Oduyoye, and Russel Botman are held up as three influential types of this discourse. An eschatological logic of hope is identified as an important pattern within this discourse, also in portraying human flourishing as a fulfilled life, healing, and dignity. A third discourse portrays salvation as transformation, wherein an aesthetical interpretation plays a core role. Serene Jones, Ellen Charry, and Denise Ackermann are employed as three influential types of this discourse. A creative logic of love is inextricably wound into this discourse, also in portraying human flourishing as grace, happiness, and blessing. Together, these three logics function within triadic form in order to respond to the questions and challenges of the day. In conclusion, contemporary discourses on salvation appear to have, in all three of the forms outlined in this study, to do with human flourishing – whether as piety, joy, or comfort; as a fulfilled life, healing, or dignity; as grace, happiness, or blessing.
- Item#Rainmustfall - a theological reflection on drought, thirst, and the water of life(University of the Free State, 2017) Marais, Nadiahis article focuses on the rhetorical interplay between drought, thirst, and the water of life in a time of drought. The negotiation of meaning that occurs in the interaction between Jesus and the Samaritan woman (John 4) reflects the struggle for meaning that occurs when water is rhetorically ambiguous in a time of water scarcity. This paper argues that the theological rhetoric of water is embedded in soteriological imagination, which requires remembering - through the sacrament of baptism - the significance of the giving God who wills human and ecological flourishing.2 Moreover, it is argued that the good news of salvation brings rhetoric and ethics, doctrine and life, into a dynamic communicative process, so that water, as that which is freely given by God, has nothing less than abundant life or ecological and human flourishing as its apparent intended focus.