Browsing by Author "Niehaus, Heinrich Frederick"
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- ItemTradition and transformation : towards a concept of tradition for reformed theology, in conversation with Alasdair MacIntyre(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2022-03-03) Niehaus, Heinrich Frederick; Vosloo, Robert; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Theology. Dept. of Systematic Theology and Ecclesiology.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: There are two significant challenges to thinking about tradition from the perspective of Reformed Christian theology: the historical origins and teachings of Reformed Christianity, which predispose it against tradition; and modernity’s tradition of non-tradition it inherits from the Enlightenment. The danger of a deficiency in thinking about tradition is especially clear with regards to how the transformation of tradition is understood. In this regard, the deficiency might manifest as either a rejection of all change, or conversely as the rejection of all standards of integrity. What is needed is a concept of tradition which reckons with the problem of change and continuity, and allows for a tradition to navigate transformation in such a way that both its integrity as well as its openness is protected. Specifically, this concept must be useful to Reformed churches, and engage with the resources of the Reformed tradition. This essay engages with the work of philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre on the topic of tradition, and adopts as theoretical basis his definition of tradition as a historically extended, socially embodied argument in part about the goods that constitute it, as well as his account of the internal rationalisation of traditions through epistemological crises. This account is then brought into conversation with the Reformed tradition, especially with regards to its two related dicta sola scriptura and ecclesia reformata semper reformanda. The tradition concept constructed thereby suggests that the Reformed tradition’s integrity is maintained through the ceaseless relating of the tradition back to revelation, and the scripture that mediates its access. Additionally, it suggests that openness does not imperil integrity, but tests integrity, and allows for clarification of the tradition’s own identity. Of particular note is the emphasis that this account would place on the cultivation of virtue as the means by which the integrity and openness of the tradition, and therefore its vitality, might be protected.