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Perspectives on theology of religions

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Book Series: HTS Theological Studies/Teologiese Studies ISBN: 9781928396369 Year: Pages: 263 DOI: 10.4102/aosis.2017.hts12 Language: English
Publisher: AOSIS Grant: University of Pretoria
Subject: Religion
Added to DOAB on : 2017-11-30 11:02:29
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In the public theology discourse, the concept ‘public square’ has become significant. In today’s multicultural and globalised world it is inevitable that people with different religious affiliations will encounter one another in the public square. ‘Public theology’ cannot but become ‘theology of religions’. Scholars in the field of religion studies are compelled to reflect theologically on the relevance of religiosity in the postmodern secular world. The term ‘theology of religions’ refers to the academic inquiry into the relationship between religions. The collected essays constitute such an inquiry. In the end, it is not so much about the encounter of religions, but rather of people. Religion is no longer regarded as a monolithic body of beliefs and practices. The authors concede that the concept ‘religion’ is too fluid to be delineated precisely. The book’s approach to the relationship between religions, i.e. ‘theology of religions’, reflects how the authors understand the origin and nature of religion (a ‘theology of religion’ in the singular). This book focuses more on ‘theology of religions’ (plural) than on ‘theology of religion’ (singular). The main objective of the book is to present a variety of perspectives on how theology of religions manifested in different contexts. This includes historical (i.e. Luther’s theology of religions and the Roman Catholic position on other religions as taken by Vatican II) as well as cultural and religious perspectives. In the first chapter, the editor gives a brief overview of the development of the discipline of theology of religions. The postmodern era is characterised by an almost non-foundational approach. The second chapter traces the development of the discipline in the Roman Catholic tradition in particular. This contribution is based on the insights of P.J. van der Merwe (1944–2014), who as researcher and Head of the Department of Science of Religion and Missiology at the University of Pretoria, developed a specific theological position on non-Christian religions. A whole generation of theologians was trained in this school of thought. He passed away in 2014 and this publication pays tribute to his life’s work on religions and their relations. The contributions that follow are the culmination of the research of postgraduate students at the University of Pretoria. The third chapter presents a perspective on the Reformation, with a particular focus on Martin Luther. In this year of the quincentenary anniversary of the Reformation the legacy of Reformed belief is highlighted. The fourth chapter describes the relationship between Christianity and Islam from the perspective of a willingness to embrace. The fifth chapter analyses the relation between Christianity, Judaism and Islam from the perspective of intergroup threat theory. A model for theology of religions in a South African context is developed in the sixth and final chapter. This scholarly book pays tribute to the academic contribution of P.J. van der Merwe, mentor of the authors of these multifaceted reflections on theology of religions. The target audience is specialists in the field of religion studies. The distinctive contribution of the book is the innovative perspectives on the relationship between Islam and Christianity in both the Roman Catholic and Protestant contexts.

Togetherness in South Africa

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ISBN: 9781928396239 Year: Pages: 338 DOI: 10.4102/aosis.2017.tsa49 Language: English
Publisher: AOSIS Grant: North West University; Pro-Reformando Trust
Subject: Religion
Added to DOAB on : 2017-11-30 11:01:54
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Race and inequality have always been sensitive topics in South African society due to its colonial past, diverse social composition and apartheid legacy of legal discrimination against people on the basis of their skin colour. Racial tensions seem to be escalating in South African society and disturbing racialised rhetoric and slogans are re-entering the political and social landscape. Another disturbing phenomenon has been violent incidents of xenophobia against African immigrants. The question probed by this book is: What perspectives can theology offer in addressing the roots of racism, inequality and xenophobia in South Africa and how can it and the church contribute to reconciliation and a sense of togetherness among South African citizens? Various methodologies and approaches are used to address this question. In chapter 1, Theuns Eloff employs a historical and socio-analytical approach to describe the social context that has given rise, and is still giving impetus to racism and other forms of intolerance in South African society. Nico Vorster approaches the issue of distorted racial identity constructions from a theological-anthropological perspective. Utilising various empirical studies, he attempts to provide conceptual clarity to the concepts of racism, nationalism, ethnocentrism and xenophobia, and maps the various racisms that we find in South Africa. His contribution concludes with a theological-anthropological discussion on ways in which theology can deconstruct distorted identities and contribute to the development of authentic identities. Koos Vorster provides a theological-ethical perspective on social stratification in South Africa. He identifies the patterns inherent to the institutionalisation of racist social structures and argues that many of these patterns are still present, albeit in a new disguise, in the South African social order. Jan du Rand provides in chapter 4 a semantic discussion of the notions of race and xenophobia. He argues that racist ideologies are not constructed on a factual basis, but that racial ideologies use semantic notions to construct social myths that enable them to attain power and justify the exploitation and oppression of the other. Du Rand’s second contribution in chapter 5 provides Reformed exegetical and hermeneutic perspectives on various passages and themes in the Bible that relate to anthropology, xenophobia and the imperative to xenophilia [love of the stranger]. Dirk Van der Merwe’s contribution analyses, evaluates, and compares both contemporary literature and ancient texts of the Bible to develop a model that can enable churches to promote reconciliation in society, while Ferdi Kruger investigates the various ways in which language can be used as a tool to disseminate hate speech. He offers an analytical description of hate language, provides normative perspectives on the duty to counter hate speech through truth speaking and phronesis (wisdom) and concludes with practical-theological perspectives that might enable us to address problematic praxis. Reggie Nel explores the Confessions of Belhar and the Declaration of Accra as theological lenses to provide markers for public witness in a postcolonial South African setting. The volume concludes with Riaan Rheeder’s Christian bioethical perspective on inequality in the health sector of sub-Sahara Africa. This book contains original research. No part was plagiarised or published elsewhere. The target audience are theologians, ministers and the Christian community, but social activists, social scientists, politicians, political theorists, sociologists and psychologists might also find the book applicable to their fields.

Keywords

human --- white --- apartheid --- racial --- christian --- life --- god --- social --- africa --- racism --- people --- black --- fights --- economic --- equality --- church --- hate --- xenophobia --- racist --- context --- global --- identity

The legacies of Albert Schweitzer reconsidered

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ISBN: 9781928396031 Year: DOI: 10.4102/aosis.2016.tlasr11 Language: English
Publisher: AOSIS Grant: University of South Africa
Subject: Education --- Philosophy --- Religion
Added to DOAB on : 2017-03-10 11:01:18
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This book on the legacy of Albert Schweitzer contextualises this remarkable intellectualist, humanist, medicine-man, theologian and Nobel Prize winner. This collected work is aimed at specialists in the humanities, social sciences, education, and religious studies. The authors embrace philanthropic values to benefit Africa and the world at large. The publication engages with peers on the relevance of Schweitzer’s work for humanitarian values in Africa. The essays in the book stimulate further research in the various fields in which Schweitzer excelled. Its academic contribution is its focus on the post-colonial discourse in contemporary discussions both in South Africa and Africa at large. The book emphasises Schweitzer’s reverence for life philosophy and demonstrates how this impacts on moral values. However, the book also points to the possibility that Schweitzer’s reverence for life philosophy is embedded in a typically European appreciation of ‘mysticism’ that is not commensurate with African indigenous religious values. From an African academic perspective, the book advocates the view that Schweitzer’s concept of the reverence for life supports not only the Biblical notion of imago Dei but also the African humanist values of the preservation and protection of life, criticising the exploitation of the environment by warring factions and large companies, especially in oil-producing African countries. It also argues that Schweitzer’s disposition on ethics was influenced by the Second World War, his sentiments against nuclear weapons and his resistance to the Enlightenment view of ‘civilisation’. With regard to Jesus studies the book elucidates values promoted by Schweitzer by following in Jesus’ steps and portraying Jesus’ message within a modern world view. Taken over from Schweitzer, the book argues that Jesus’ moral authority resides in his display of love and his interaction with the poor and marginalised. The book demonstrates Schweitzer’s understanding of Jesus as the one who sacrifices his own life to bring the Kingdom of God to realisation in this world. The book commends Schweitzer’s insight that we know Jesus through his toils on the one hand, and through our own experiences on the other. It is in a mixture between the two that the hermeneutical gap between then and now is bridged. It is precisely in bridging this gap that Schweitzer sees himself as an instrument of God’s healing. It defines Schweitzer as the embodiment of being a healer, educationalist and herald of the greening of Christianity. His philosophy on the reverence for life prepares a foundation for Christians to think ‘green’ about human life within a greater environment. He advocates aspects of education such as lifelong learning, holistic education and a problem-based approach to education. Finally, the book analyses both critically and appreciatively Albert Schweitzer’s contribution to the concepts of religious healing prevalent in African Christianity today.

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