This article is an attempt to provide a systematic and integrative picture of the main contributions presented at the colloquium which addressed the current state of theological education, proposals for the basic values to be laid as foundation for a new theological curriculum and concrete attempts to build such a curriculum in South Africa, the African continent and especially at the University of Pretoria with a particular stress on decolonisation as contextualisation. In dealing with these aspects, the article focuses on (...) whether or not theology as an academic field has a future in university and society by implementing a concrete programme of decolonisation which is adapted – by means of education – to the specifics of various local contexts including those in Africa. If the answer to this question is positive – and the colloquium contributors, as well as the authors, of this article do believe to be so – then one must find out how theology should be done in the university, how theology should work in society and what theology should be taught in the university so that its impact in society is continuously transformative and permanently relevant to human life and human existence in Africa and throughout the world. (shrink)
This article is firstly an investigation of traditional Christian thought about the world with the purpose of establishing whether Christianity’s three main confessions share similar concerns about the current situation of nature. Secondly, the investigation is followed by a comparison between the common features of these three confessional theologies and similar patterns of thought in the secular world, with the intention of finding ecological issues that are common not only to the three confessional theologies but also to secular philosophies. Thirdly, (...) the initial investigation of Christianity’s three main confessional theologies, followed by the comparison between these confessional theologies and secular philosophies of nature, is completed by the concrete proposal that, in order for contemporary ecological issues to be met with viable solutions, a common public attitude about nature, which goes beyond confessional theologies and secular philosophies, needs to be pursued globally in an ecodomic manner.Contribution: Despite the numerous theories about concrete ways to improve the current state of nature, this article is an attempt to go a step beyond the established theological and philosophical perspectives on the world towards a constructive public attitude which is meant to be characterised by the real possibility of immediate action. (shrink)
This article’s premise is that science holds the promise of deepening religious perspectives on creation. The natural sciences have convincingly proved that nature is not static, or a ready-made creation dropped from heaven. Theologians need to read nature as scientists see it and engage with that understanding theologically.The concept of resonance is applied to denote this tangential relationship as an eco-social constructivist understanding of reality. Two proponents, one scientist and one theologian, have been chosen who share this view of a (...) holistic reality, and the objective is to determine the degree of resonance viable of these magisteria. A method of polycentric hermeneutics is thus pursued.Although we referred to the concept of consilience regarding von Humboldt’s enterprise, it is not in the authors’ scope to achieve this with science and theology as disciplines sui generis. However, if resonance becomes vital in understanding reality, faith is inevitable. If a creation theology seeks a degree of plausibility, it requires the feedback-loop methodology of science. We all share one earth: the closer we all come to a shared end, the closer we also come together and relativise differences. The naturalist Edward O. Wilson suggested that science and religion should set aside their differences to save the planet. Resonance has the potential to let new horizons emerge in our mutual endeavour to come to grips with reality and to map out certain tangentially overlapping magisteria.Contribution: Through resonance, the thought constructs of a scientist and a theologian are juxtaposed. An iterative hermeneutics’ importance is emphasised in the theology and science discourse, if faith seeks understanding and leads to awe. And the conclusion is that the ‘spiritual dimension’ and the ‘natural dimension’ do not only overlap but are tangential, as they engage with the same reality. (shrink)
This paper investigates the possibility of identifying various ecodomical or constructive possibilities which have the potential to ideologically transform the world at a global scale in the sense that they can promote a set of ideas with positive connotations in dealing with the extremely complex issue of religion. Whether religion is good or bad, positive or negative has nothing to do with this article’s basic methodology which seeks to isolate various theoretical attempts aimed at approaching the issue of religion through (...) a common denominator. For this paper, this common denominator is the human being and, by association, the notion of goodness which will be used in order to demonstrate that, concerning religion, it can provide not only a theoretical framework for positive discussions about religion but also an ecodomic possibility whereby humanity can transform the world into a safer environment for persons of all races and convictions. Four such ecodomical attempts to use the notion of goodness will be analyzed in connection with the reality of religion: John Shelby Spong who promotes goodness in order to free society of religion so for him religion is useless, Ion Bria for whom goodness cannot be detached from religion so religion is vital, Vito Macuso whose conviction is that goodness exists with or without religion so religion is neutral, and Desmond Tutu who believes that goodness can turn religion, any religion for that matter, in a positive reality, so in his understanding religion is positive. (shrink)
In this book, Professor Simu? demonstrates how Baur came to understand Christian theology as a Gnostic philosophy of religion under the influence of Böhme's unorthodox esoteric theosophy and Hegel's modern religious philosophy.
The book presents the two conflicting positions within Christian thought--traditional and radical--as they developed through some of the most important periods of church history. Simut traces traditional Christian thought through Late Antiquity, Early Modernity, and Post Modernity in specific works written by Gregory Nazianzen, Jean Calvin, and Ion Bria. He analyzes Radical Christian thought as it gradually developed in Post Modernity, particularly during the twenty and twenty-first centuries through authors such as Erich Fromm, Paul Ricoeur, and Vito Mancuso.
Slavoj Žižek's philosophy spans over more than three decades, which is confirmed by the numerous books he published since the late 1980s. Since his thinking about the idea of logos is no exception, this article focuses on what can be termed Žižek's early philosophy, and especially that depicted in his The sublime object of ideology (1989) and The metastases of enjoyment (1994). Whilst the former underlines the psychological aspects of the logos, the latter focuses more on theories about being, as (...) well as on theological considerations. This is why, three uses of the logos were identified in Žižek's thought: psychological, ontological and theological, all three with a clear focus on the human being as conceived in modern thought, which for Žižek seems to be utterly opposed to traditional thinking about man and his relationship with God. It is clear from Žižek that whilst the notion of God does appear in this thought, it only refers to the human being which encapsulates the essence of Žižek's philosophy to the point that the logos itself is a fundamental feature of the human being's material existence in the natural world. Regardless of whether the logos points to psychology, ontology or divinity (theology), it always emerges as an idea which centres on the human being, with a special interest in how it exists as well as how it works in the world. (shrink)
This paper is an attempt to offer a concrete contribution to the study of indigenous African religions and in particular to the support of creating a set of traditions from whose perspective one could engage in the study of indigenous African religions as well as of African spirituality in general through the unifying theme of ecodomy. Defined in terms of a constructive process, ecodomy seeks to provide families and communities with a common element, that of ancestors, which is not only (...) specific to African spirituality but also potentially capable of strengthening and improving the life of African people. Thus, this methodology based on working with ancestry as economy is applied to four distinct scholars and their specific approaches to indigenous African religions: John S. Mbiti, who believes that ancestors have mainly social, not religious roles; Issiaka P. Laleye, for whom ancestors make a connection between the social and religious aspects of life; Jacob K. Olupona, who restricts ancestors to religion, and Israel Kamudzandu, in whose philosophy ancestors can provide African societies with the possibility of moving beyond their indigenous religions into accepting other religious beliefs, such as those provided by Christianity. (shrink)
On 29 July 2017, an international colloquium entitled ‘Re-Imagining Curricula for a Just University in a Vibrant Democracy – Carrying the Conversation Forward’ was held at the Faculty of Theology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa. A wide range of scholars from African and non-African countries provided variegated perspectives on how tertiary theological and religious education could contribute positively to the development of contemporary societies – African and non-African. This article focuses on the colloquium’s African contributors by means of the (...) concept of ecodomy, envisaged as a constructive process. Whilst the attending academics came from Europe, the USA, South Africa and Ghana, this article takes into consideration only the contributions provided by African scholars. The purpose of this selection is to identify ecodomic or constructive ways to argue in favour of university education in the fields of theology and religion which share the potential to be applied across the whole African continent. Bearing in mind that Africa has been dealing with decolonisation awhile, these African contributions investigate issues such as contextualisation, science, practice, illumination and holism from the governing principle of decolonisation, which is also the overarching societal umbrella for academic development in Africa. This study concludes with an assessment and a proposal written from an exclusively South African vantage point which demonstrates the viability of tertiary theological and religious education for the ongoing ecodomic development of African societies. (shrink)
This paper is an attempt to identify common factors which constitute the foundation of decolonization in indigenous African religions. Since such aspects need to be essentially constructive in order to effectively and positively replace Colonial ideas, this particular search for common ground concerning decolonization in indigenous African religions is going to be pursued through the concept of ecodomy, seen as constructive process. When applied to decolonization with this postulated positivity, ecodomy coagulates three distinct aspects of indigenous African religions into a (...) common reality. These three aspects are ancestry, goodness, and the relationship with Christianity; they can function therefore as common denominator for various attempts to provide indigenous African religions with specific methodology in dealing with decolonization. This article is going to investigate four such methodologies which can confer positivity as well as an ecodomic, constructive character to decolonization efforts throughout the spectrum of indigenous African religions as they are reflected in the writings of John Mbiti, Isiaka P. Lalèyê, Jakob K. Olupona, and Israel Kamudzandu, all intellectuals of different geographical origin, religious backgrounds, university training, and personal convictions. With Mbiti promoting the superiority of Christianity, Lalèyê accepting it as irrelevant, Olupona preferring to deal without it, and Kamudzandu seeing it as essential, decolonizing efforts in indigenous African religions have at least four different methodologies which all aim at providing African communities with positive and ecodomic, essentially constructive ways to move forward beyond Colonial intellectual paradigms by making sure that peace and goodness are secured for everybody, African or not. (shrink)
This article is a research report on the international colloquium entitled ‘Re-Imagining Curricula for a Just University in a Vibrant Democracy’, hosted by the University of Pretoria in 2017 to address a series of prospective changes in religious studies curricula in African and non-African universities. Anchored in the principles of the Draft Framework Document, a South African manifesto authored by a team of specialists from the University of Pretoria advocating educational reform in the field of religion, the colloquium debated the (...) necessity of curricular change from the perspective of ecodomy, seen as a constructive attempt to modify university curricula to include relevant approaches to religion. Consequently, the discussions revolved around the idea of ‘ecodomical change’ as a socially transformative step towards achieving community development in tertiary education religious institutions. Contribution: This article, however, focused on the Draft Framework Document and its distinctive contribution to the pedagogy of theology and religious studies within the University of Pretoria. (shrink)
This article is a research report on the international colloquium entitled ‘Re-Imagining Curricula for a Just University in a Vibrant Democracy’, hosted by the University of Pretoria in 2017 to address a series of prospective changes in religious studies curricula in African and non-African universities. Anchored in the principles of the Draft Framework Document, a South African manifesto authored by a team of specialists from the University of Pretoria advocating educational reform in the field of religion, the colloquium debated the (...) necessity of curricular change from the perspective of ecodomy, seen as a constructive attempt to modify university curricula to include relevant approaches to religion. Consequently, the discussions revolved around the idea of ‘ecodomical change’ as a socially transformative step towards achieving community development in tertiary education religious institutions.Contribution: This article, however, focused on the Draft Framework Document and its distinctive contribution to the pedagogy of theology and religious studies within the University of Pretoria. (shrink)