Browsing by Author "Smit, D. J."
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- ItemConfessional and ecumenical? : revisiting Edmund Schlink on the hermeneutics of doctrine(AOSIS OpenJournals, 2008-02) Smit, D. J.Conrad Wethmar has always been interested in questions concerning the hermeneutics of doctrine, often concentrating on methodological issues regarding the role of confessions and the challenges of ecumenical theology. For this purpose, he consistently engaged with German-speaking Lutheran theologians. In this essay, the important views and contributions of Edmund Schlink regarding confessional and ecumenical theology are called to mind, as one further potential dialogue partner for South African theologians like Wethmar. A first section reminds readers of Wethmar’s contributions. The second section recalls Schlink’s theological journey and the role of confessions – both Lutheran confessions and the Confessing Church with Barmen – as well as the ecumenical church – several real dialogues between major confessional traditions, including his role during the Second Vatican Council – before the third sections draws some of his major methodological insights and contributions together. A brief final section points to some potential similarities between Schlink’s work and Wethmar’s interests.
- ItemCovenanting for justice on the Accra Document, reformed theology and reformed ecclesiology(AOSIS Publishing, 2009-11) Smit, D. J.The essay provides a brief summary of the main argument of the Accra Document drafted by the World Alliance of Reformed Churches and entitled ‘Covenanting for Justice in the Economy and the Earth’. The focus is on discovering and describing the internal structure, the logic and focus, and thereby some of the most important implicit and explicit theological and ecclesiological convictions, suppositions and claims of the document, as far as possible in its own terminology. It then offers a tentative theological assessment, pointing out four very typical Reformed characteristics of the document, including its typical confessional nature and style. It finally suggests some ecclesiological implications arising from the document, again calling to mind four very specific characteristics of Reformed ecclesiology. On the whole, the essay serves as an invitation to further study, discussion and reflection on the challenges and calling implied in the document.
- ItemDemokrasie en dialoog : 'n kritiese uiteensetting van Jurgen Habermas se teorie van politieke openbaarheid as bemiddeling van emansipatoriese praxis(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 1975) Smit, D. J.; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of . Dept. of .
- ItemDie Heilige Gees besig om ’n gemoed te troos …” – nagedink oor die vreemde viering van die kerk.(Stellenbosch University, Department of Systematic Theology and Ecclesiology, 2004) Smit, D. J.In Flip Theron’s theology the category “strange” in the sense of unique, remarkable, without comparison, occupies a central place. He understands the church as a strange, prophetic sign of the strange, cosmic and eschatological peace of the kingdom of the Triune God. This essay reflects on the visible form of this strange church. Does this strangeness also have implications for the way (reformed) theology should view the worship of the church? It is argued that, although Theron himself, probably very deliberately and for theological reasons, does not attempt to describe what is happening during the church’s worship and liturgy, there are several fundamental convictions in his theological work that could perhaps prove useful in this regard. In particular, his notions of a “strange silence,” a “strange liberation,” a “strange reconciliation,” a “strange calling,” a “strange theocracy” and a “strange comfort” are considered briefly. As a whole, the essay serves as introduction to the central convictions of his theology, thereby honouring his contributions and legacy.
- ItemGereformeerde identiteit vandag? : ontwikkelings en rigtings(Stellenbosch University : Department of Systematic Theology and Ecclesiology, 2012-12) Smit, D. J.The paper pays tribute to the honouree by offering a case study of one of the key themes of Brümmer’s later research, namely the identity of traditions. It provides an overview of diverse answers to questions about Reformed identity. In a first section, it is argued that this rich diversity of responses to the identity question is in itself already typically Reformed, since it is caused by several Reformed characteristics. The second section sets the scene for the different answers with a brief overview of the contemporary Reformed landscape. The final four sections then serve as reminders of four well-known but different ways of approaching the question. The third section discusses issues regarding the Reformed community as a confessional tradition. The fourth section focuses on Reformed doctrine. The fifth section considers the Reformed way of life and the final section deals more specifically with the question whether there is something like a characteristic Reformed ethics.
- ItemHoe vertel hulle die storie? oor Karl Barth(Stellenbosch University, Faculty of Theology, 2008) Smit, D. J.The paper argues that the theme of the consultation on “How are they telling the story?”, raises complex but intriguing questions when put to the theology of Karl Barth. In a straightforward way, the question seems to be whether Barth himself regarded story (or narrative) as the appropriate way “to gather the fragments” (Ernst Conradie) of the Christian faith, of the Biblical message, of the proclamation of the Church. Barth scholarship has been divided over this question for many years. While some well-known Barth scholars maintain that his theology was indeed a form of narrative theology, sometimes claimed about his doctrine of reconciliation, sometimes claimed about the whole of the Church Dogmatics, other prominent scholars disagree and argue that the structure or movement within his theology was much more determined by reflection and discursive argument than by story and plot. In an attempt to take the question (and this ongoing scholarly controversy) seriously, the paper points in a second section to six formal but characteristic ways in which Barth dealt with stories. In a next section the question is taken a step further, when it is argued that materially, behind these formal characteristics, Barth saw indeed no meta-narrative, but rather a Person, a Living One, about whom he spoke by means of a “Trinitarian grammar.” A brief conclusion therefore claims that Barth’s theology was called forth by “the scandal of particularity,” indeed coming in story form, but calling for reflection and argument, witness and proclamation, and prayer and life, rather than for further story-telling.
- ItemHope for even the most wretched? : on remembering the Reformation(Pieter de Waal Neethling Trust, 2018) Smit, D. J.Commemorating the Reformation, the paper reflects on the distinction (by Assmann and Welker) between forms of cultural memory, some weaker, more fluid and fading, and some stronger, longer lasting, with the potential of suddenly becoming alive again, providing new orientation and inspiration. One particular fragment of the Protestant tradition that became alive during late 20th century South African theological discourses is pursued as illustration, namely the Dutch theologian Herman Bavinck’s claim that election is a source of inexpressibly great comfort since it promises hope for even the most wretched. The paper shows how these forms of cultural memory may inspire new generations to reclaim what they regard as the heart of their tradition against dominant historical understandings; can form new histories of interpretation finding new expressions of embodiment, different from anything past; and may surprise and even shock those standing in the tradition, offering a rich new surplus of possibilities.
- Item"Jesus" en "Politiek"? : Christologiese literatuur en publieke teologie vanuit 'n Suid-Afrikaanse perspektief(Stellenbosch University, Faculty of Theology, 2013) Smit, D. J.The article deals with potential ethical implications of contemporary Christological studies. In a first section the argument is made that doctrine and ethics belong together. In the central section, this claim is illustrated with reference to recent approaches to Christology. Under the theme ‘Christology and Ethics’ six popular approaches are discussed with a view to their respective ethical implications. In each instance, representative examples are provided. The six approaches are those that underline living in communion with Christ, that emphasize remembering Jesus, that call for discipleship, that employ the threefold office, that are based on the worship of Christ and that emphasize Christ’s promised future. In a brief, final section three conclusions are developed regarding Christology and public theology, or Jesus and politics.
- ItemLaw and morality? : some theological perspectives(Stellenbosch University, Faculty of Theology, 2009) Smit, D. J.The essay reflects on the well-known poem “What abou’ de lô?(1961) by Adam Small in order to raise some aspects of the complex relationship between law and morality. Written in the years of struggle against the apartheid system, the poem clearly questioned the legitimacy of so-called positive law, suggesting that legality and legitimacy are not necessarily identical and that justice is not merely the application of the existing law of the day. But what is then the alternative, what could be the norm with which to measure the law? Three possible answers to this question are considered, all of them implicitly suggested by the poem – some form of moral law, some notion of justice, or some form of divine or revealed law. All three are represented and defended by influential theoretical traditions, yet all three also lead to ambiguities and new problems. In conclusion, some brief theological comments are offered.
- Item"Making history for the coming generation" – on the theological logic of Russel Botman’s commitment to transformation(Pieter de Waal Neethling Trust, 2015) Smit, D. J.The late rector of Stellenbosch University, Russel Botman, was widely known for his commitment to transformation. In the first Memorial Lecture to commemorate his legacy, it is argued that he had already been committed to transformation from early on in his life as student, minister, church figure and theologian and that this commitment was based on what he described as his “theological logic.” This logic is then explained in terms of four key notions in his life and work, namely vocational spirituality, responsible discipleship, complex obedience, and hopeful agency. It is shown how he developed this logic already in his doctoral dissertation, in creative engagement with Dietrich Bonhoeffer. From this encounter grew his own conviction that transformation is making history for the coming generation.
- ItemMenswaardigheid : tema binne Suid-Afrikaanse gereformeerde teologie?(Stellenbosch University, Faculty of Theology, 2007) Smit, D. J.For the major part of the twentieth century human dignity has not been a theme in Reformed theology in South Africa. Rather, Reformed theological anthropology was influenced by other philosophical questions and ideological trends. When human dignity became a theme late during the century, it was mainly employed as critical notion over against forms of injustice and exclusion, and therefore mainly in political and legal uses, often directly related to human rights. By the time it found expression in the first democratic Constitution (1996) it had almost become commonplace in public life. As result of this particular history, several discourses concerning human dignity can today be discerned in South African society and Reformed churches and theologians are involved in all of them, also by way of different theological and inter-disciplinary research projects. This paper provides a brief overview of this · history and concludes by distinguishing some of the contemporary discourses.
- ItemOn politics of friendship(Pieter de Waal Neethling Trust, 2021-07-16) Smit, D. J.The paper distinguishes four dominant discourses in contemporary so-called politics of friendship, namely a politics of enmity (Schmitt), a politics based on the notion of friends as “another self” (Aristotle), a politics of love (Augustine), and a politics of “perhaps” (Derrida). It then considers if and how Koopman’s person and work fit into such a typology.
- ItemOn the reception of Bonhoeffer : a case study of South-South dialogue(Pieter de Waal Neethling Trust, 2016) Smit, D. J.This article, read as a paper during a consultation on South-South receptions of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, argues that the late Russel Botman, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Stellenbosch and well-known South African ecumenical theologian, in his own person already served as a living illustration of such an encounter. He read and appropriated Bonhoeffer as a South African theologian, but in discussion and engagement with the work of several Latin American figures, including people who in different ways also read and appropriated Bonhoeffer. The article briefly shows how Botman developed three motifs that were central to his own life and thought by engaging a variety of Latin American figures – amongst others Leonardo Boff, Paolo Freire, Jon Sobrino, Juan Luis Segundo, Rubem Alves, Julio de Santa Ana, and Enrique Dussel – but always with a view also to Bonhoeffer, up to the point where it becomes difficult to distinguish any longer between the voices of Bonhoeffer, the voices of these thinkers from the South, and his own voice. The three motifs deal respectively with his concern for the next generation, his belief in imagination and hope, and his commitment to sociality and community.
- ItemOn thinking(AOSIS, 2021-08-05) Smit, D. J.The paper engages Wentzel van Huyssteen’s lifelong fascination and occupation with thinking, for him particularly thinking as problem-solving. Responding to Van Huyssteen’s own invitation, it brings Hannah Arendt’s thinking on thinking in conversation with his own thinking by considering five crucial characteristics of the ways in which she both described and practised thinking over decades. These characteristics include: her thinking as responsibility, thinking in dark times, thinking without banister, thinking in public and thinking as thanksgiving. In the process the paper revisits all her well-known books and essays on these themes, whilst also pointing to some of the roots of her thinking in the similarly classic thinking on thinking of her mentor Martin Heidegger. It concludes by pointing to the major conflict between philosophical traditions concerned with rational problem-solving and unravelling puzzles, respectively, exemplified by the reputedly shocking ‘poker’ encounter between Karl Popper and Ludwig Wittgenstein, and expresses hope for ongoing conversation about this seeming conflict over thinking with Van Huyssteen and his work. Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: Thinking about thinking, the essay addresses methodological questions in public theology, in interdisciplinary conversation with philosophy and political theory. Distinguishing faculties of the mind – thinking, willing, judging – it challenges which kinds of questions belong to public theology, with particular implications for doctrinal theology, theological ethics and political theology.
- ItemOor Calvyn se siening van die nagmaal(Pieter de Waal Neethling Trust, 2014) Smit, D. J.During the Calvin commemoration of 2009, the question was often asked whether his views on the Lord’s Supper still hold ecumenical potential for today. A first section deals with the controversial question where exactly Calvin’s views on the Lord’s Supper should be found and how it should be described. In an attempt to respond to this question still challenging contemporary scholarship, a second section attempts to provide an answer in terms of Calvin’s comprehensive understanding of the presence of Christ. His views regarding the Supper can only be construed as integral part of his views regarding Christ’s presence. Five forms of Christ’s presence are distinguished in Calvin’s thought, namely a living presence, a spiritual presence, a sacramental presence, a eucharistic presence and an ecclesiological presence. A final section considers the contemporary ecumenical question whether these views could be appropriated today, in the light of several serious obstacles.
- ItemOor die teologiese inhoud van die Belydenis van Belhar(Faculty of Theology, University of the Free State, 2012) Smit, D. J.The essay argues that the theological content is indeed the most important contribution of Reformed confessional documents, but that the theological content can only be understood against the specific historical, which most often means socio-political, circumstances in which these confessions were originally adopted. Regarding the Confession of Belhar, the theological content consists in three confessional claims (each including allusions to the false teaching that is implicitly thereby unmasked and rejected) within the broader framework of an introduction and conclusion, involving key theological claims as well, respectively about the nature of the church and the lordship of Jesus Christ. After some interpretive comments on all five of these structural aspects – the introduction and conclusion and the three claims – brief consideration is given to the nature of reception of confessional documents in the Reformed tradition and some implications for the reception of the theological content of the Confession of Belhar.
- ItemOor die teologiese inhoud van die Nederlandse Geloofsbelydenis vandag(Stellenbosch University, Department of Systematic Theology and Ecclesiology, 2013-02) Smit, D. J.The paper is an edited version of a public address during the 450 year celebration of the Confessio Belgica in the Faculty of Theology of Stellenbosch University. It reflects on the theological content of the Confessio Belgica in the light of today and with a deliberate focus on South African Reformed circles. In a first section the background claim is made that the theological content of Reformed confessional documents is always deeply related to their genesis and therefore to the historical circumstances under which they were originally adopted and in some cases also afterwards gradually accepted more broadly. A second section builds on the conviction that the theological content of such documents is therefore to be found in central convictions or claims (that were at stake, most probably disputed at the time), rather than in all and every detail. A few brief references serve as reminders of some historical South African Reformed debates about these central convictions of the Confessio Belgica. A third section considers some issues involved in so-called hermeneutics of tradition, in the Wirkungsgeschichte of confessional documents and in the ongoing reception of their relevance under new and radically different circumstances, in this case the totally different South African context and centuries later. In a final section, this process is illustrated by showing how the theological content of the Confessio Belgica became “liberating truth” again for some in South African Reformed circles, during the birth of the Confession of Belhar.
- ItemQuo Vadis Sistematiese Teologie?(Stellenbosch University, Faculty of Theology, 2009) Smit, D. J.The essay provides five different responses to the question about the present state and future of systematic theology. Firstly, it refers to the widespread Trinitarian renaissance in theological circles. Secondly, systematic theology often responds to so-called contemporary challenges, which today, in different parts of the world, are often described in terms of the complex tensions between individual and collectivity, between authority and reason, and between past, present and future. Thirdly, systematic theology often reacts to the so-called spirit of the times, which again can be popularly depicted in terms of secularisms or spiritualities, postmodernisms or fundamentalisms, globalizations or ecological crises. Fourthly, systematic theology takes place in the form of several discussions, including an increasingly worldwide discussion; the discussion with different theological disciplines; the broader conversation within the academy; the discussions within public life; the conversation in and with the church; the many ecumenical conversations; and the ongoing conversation within the discipline itself. Finally, it is directed “towards God” – serving worship, spirituality, formation, pastorate, and ethics.
- ItemReading the Bible through the ages? : historical and hermeneutical perspectives(Pieter de Waal Neethling Trust, 2015) Smit, D. J.In this contribution the seemingly straightforward slogan espoused by Biblica, namely, “Transforming lives through God’s Word” is complicated by placing it within the context of the rich, multi-layered and complex history of Bible-reading. Fully aware that it is an impossible task to construe the history of the reading of the Bible, offers a few broad strokes describing Biblical reception and interpretation, beginning with the complex genesis of the Bible, extending through the Early Church, the Middle Ages, The Renaissance and Reformation, the time of Enlightenment and rise of Modernity, the emergence of ecumenical hermeneutics in the 20th century, and the contemporary conflicts in hermeneutic perspectives. Throughout the essay, the question is asked – in various ways and with different responses – what “Transforming lives through God’s Word” could mean.
- ItemSouth African radio and television as contexts for exegesis : a case study of interpretive practices in South African public worship(Stellenbosch University, Faculty of Theology, 1991) Muller, Bethel A.; Smit, D. J.Religion – especially the Christian religion – has played, and still plays, and extremely important role in the structuring of public life in South Africa (78% of the population regard themselves as Christian; cf the decisive role Afrikaner churches played in the legitimation of apartheid as well as the role played by religion in the struggle against apartheid, HSRC Report 1985; Church and Society 1991; Kairos Document, The road to Damascus: Evangelical Witness in South Africa; Relevant Pentecostal witness.) This social role has obviously been ambivalent: religion either served to perpetuate the socio-political status quo by at least inhibiting, if not opposing, any process of change; or it acted as vanguard in the liberating and democratising process (De Gruchy 1979; Villa-Vicencio 1991). The religious witness was therefore also ambivalent: it acted simultaneously as both a unifying and as a conflict-generating force (Adonis and Smit 1991; Villa-Vicencio 1987; Nolan 1988; The things that make for peace).