Research Articles (Systematic Theology and Ecclesiology)

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    Religions in the construction of the European Union
    (Faculty of Theology at Stellenbosch University, 2012) Van der Borght, Eduardus
    Because of the importance of the increasing integration of European nation states into the European Union, this article describes the influence of this body on the variety of traditional relationships between religions and states within the countries that now form part of it. The contribution focuses on European laws and the Europeanisation of religious organisations within the context of the shift of state to civil society.
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    The other side of whiteness : the Dutch Reformed Church and the search for a theology of racial reconciliation in the afterlife of apartheid
    (Pieter de Waal Neethling Trust, 2021-01-18) Van der Riet, Louis R.; Van Wyngaard, Cobus G. J.
    This article will provide an overview and analysis of developments in the Dutch Reformed Church's (DRC) General Synod concerning race, racism, and racial reconciliation from 1986 until 2019. It seeks to extend the multiple accounts of the DRC's adoption and rejection of apartheid theology by tracing its further attempts at grappling with questions of racism during and after the transition to democracy, into the present. Three primary discourses are explored, namely the search for an inclusive ecclesiology, the commitment to community involvement in the reconstruction of South Africa after apartheid, and the transformation of interpersonal ethics towards greater respect and care for others. Thereafter, the article highlights four territories that remain largely unexplored within the DRC in the past quarter of a century and argues for their future exploration. These trajectories could contribute to a deeper transformation and conversion from the white Christianity historically tied to the DRC.
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    The fall and rise of King Oedipus : on sacrificial logic and "Proto-Christology"
    (Pieter de Waal Neethling Trust, 2021-03-31) Delport, Khegan M.
    This essay is placed within a continuing debate on the appropriateness of a Christian deployment of tragedy. According David Bentley Hart, tragedy legitimates a sacrificial and scapegoating logic that is in contradiction with the Christian gospel. It promotes exclusion and therefore is imaginatively and metaphysically conservative in its import. In the ensuing argument, I hope to show through one example how even Greek tragedy can resist some of these claims. Drawing on the seminal work of Jean-Pierre Vernant and Pierre Vidal-Naquet, I argue that Sophocles' Oedipus cycle, firstly, demonstrates the inability of nomos to grasp the exception of Oedipus, and that this might constitute a critique rather than a simple legitimation of the civic order. Secondly, the narrative arc of Oedipus Tyrannus and Oedipus at Colonus point towards incorporation rather than final exclusion, and that his apotheosis could be read as resisting deleterious tropes of a final holocaust of the tragic figure. In the final section, drawing on Rowan Williams, I discuss the problems associated with literary Christologies in general, and whether it could be theologically feasible to talk about the Theban cycle as exhibiting a ‘proto-Christology’.
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    On theological aesthetics, decolonisation, and doing theology through the arts
    (Pieter de Waal Neethling Trust, 2021-01-18) Havenga, Marthinus Johannes
    Throughout history, works of art have often served as a prominent mode of theological expression – also, importantly, here in South Africa. In, thus, revisiting the history of theological inquiry in South Africa as part of a larger process of decolonisation, it is important and necessary to also look to the arts, which is what this article will attempt to do. It will begin with an exploration of the relationship between theology and the arts, before looking at the emergence of the field of theological aesthetics. This will be followed by some comments on the relevance of this field for South African theology, especially when it comes to questions of decoloniality. The article will then conclude with a brief discussion of the South Africa sculptor Jackson Hlungwani as an example of someone who did theology through the arts.
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    On 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.