The Beyers Naudé Centre for Public Theology
Welcome to Stellenbosch University

 

 

Colloquium with Swedish colleagueshttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=6443Colloquium with Swedish colleaguesMarita Snyman<p style="text-align:justify;"><strong>Beyers Naude Centre Colloquium on 13 February 2019 at the Faculty of Theology </strong></p><p style="text-align:left;"><strong>​​​Humour, Emancipation and Reconciliation: </strong><strong style="text-align:center;">A Critical Inquiry</strong></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong></strong><strong>Professor </strong><strong>Ola Sigurdson</strong> is professor of systematic theology at the Department of Literature, History of Ideas, and Religion. Mainly writing in the intersection between continental theory and systematic theology, he is interested in Political Theology, Theology and the Arts, as well as traditional Dogmatics. His most recent (English) book is Heavenly Bodies: Incarnation, the Gaze, and Embodiment in Christian Theology (Eerdmans, 2016). </p><p style="text-align:left;"><strong>​Generosity and love as justice </strong><strong style="text-align:center;">on the road towards justice​</strong></p><p><strong>Dr Martin Westerholm</strong> is Senior Lecturer in Systematic Theology at the University of Gothenburg, and Editor of the International Journal of Systematic Theology.  His work includes books on the theology of Karl Barth and the theology of Scripture, and articles on a range of themes in theology, philosophy, and ethics.  His interests sit at the intersection of these three fields.  He is currently researching questions regarding relations between truth, justice and love.<br></p><p><br></p>
Memorial service for Prof Plaatjies-Van Huffel on 29 Mayhttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=7388Memorial service for Prof Plaatjies-Van Huffel on 29 MayMarita Snyman<p>​<a href="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/Memorial%20service%20MAP.jpg"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/15/images/icjpg.gif" alt="" />Memorial service MAP.jpg</a><br></p>
Celebrating Allan Boesak’s 70th birthdayhttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=3919Celebrating Allan Boesak’s 70th birthdayMarita Snyman<p>​​Before the event, attendees received the introduction and first chapter of Prof Boesak's latest book, <em>Kairos, Crisis, and Global Apartheid: The Challenge to Prophetic Resistance. Palgrave Macmillan.</em> </p><p>The reference to "Kairos" in the title of the book reminds of the 1985 Kairos Document which responded theologically to the crisis experienced in apartheid South Africa.  The book argues that thirty years later Christians and faith communities are facing a more global sort of apartheid, and apartheid that is – as the book states – "caused and characterized by growing social and economic inequalities, environmental devastation, and degradation of human dignity on a global scale." The book makes a powerful claim for the embodiment of a theology of prophetic resistance.</p><p>At the event, Prof Robert Vosloo put some questions about the book to Prof Boesak, to which he responded in his typical clear, challenging and inspiring manner.  He elaborated on terms such as "kairos consciousness" and "global apartheid," and also pointed to the influence of Calvin, Bonhoeffer, Beyers Naudé, liberation theology and black theology on the ideas put forward in the book. One of the questions addressed the challenges posed by the conversations on decolonization and the various #mustFall movements. The discussion also turned to the situation in the United States and the candidacy of Donald Trump. Prof Boesak responded by emphasizing the need for the church to stand with God for justice.</p><p>The event was well-attended and those present enjoyed the discussion which served as a challenge to embody the gospel in line with the legacy of people like Beyers Naudé. The event concluded with student leaders from the faculty congratulating Prof Boesak on his 70<sup>th</sup> birthday.​</p>
Beyers Naudé birthday celebrated with a message from Prof Nico Koopmanhttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=7333Beyers Naudé birthday celebrated with a message from Prof Nico KoopmanMarita Snyman<p>​Each year on the 10th of May the Beyers Naudé Centre for Public Theology at Stellenbosch University gathers to remember the person and work of Dr. Beyers Naudé. We normally do this in person and invite a speaker to present a lecture on an aspect of Dr. Naudé's legacy and witness. However, since we are currently in the middle of the Covid-19 lockdown in South Africa we cannot meet in person. </p><p>So, we asked Prof Nico Koopman, the Chair of the Management Committee of the Beyers Naudé Centre for Public Theology to share a message with us on this 105th Anniversary of the Birth of Beyers Naudé.<br></p><div class="ms-rtestate-read ms-rte-embedcode ms-rte-embedil ms-rtestate-notify"><iframe width="875" height="492" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/HmVyn4n-9eQ" frameborder="0"></iframe> </div><p><br><br></p>
Transgression and Transformation conferencehttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=6444Transgression and Transformation conferenceMarita Snyman<h2>​​​​​Transgression and transformation: the role of feminist, postcolonial and queer biblical interpretation in fostering communities of justice​<br></h2><h2><span lang="EN-ZA"><br></span></h2><p><span lang="EN-ZA" style="line-height:107%;font-family:"times new roman",serif;font-size:11pt;">On March 13-15, 2019, the Gender Unit, Beyers Naudé Centre for Public Theology, in collaboration with the Center for Theology, Women, and Gender of Princeton Theological Seminary hosted a successful Transgression and Transformation Conference.</span></p><p><span lang="EN-ZA" style="line-height:107%;font-family:"times new roman",serif;font-size:11pt;"></span><span style="line-height:107%;font-family:"times new roman",serif;font-size:11pt;">Keynote speakers to this conference included Prof Jacqueline Lapsley, Princeton Theological Seminary; Prof Christl Maier, </span><span lang="EN-ZA" style="line-height:107%;font-family:"times new roman",serif;font-size:11pt;">Philipps University Marburg, Germany; Prof </span><span style="line-height:107%;font-family:"times new roman",serif;font-size:11pt;">Dora Mbuwayesango, Hood Theological Seminary; Prof Linda Thomas, Lutheran School of Theology, Chicago, IL; Prof Charlene van der Walt, University</span><span lang="EN-ZA" style="line-height:107%;font-family:"times new roman",serif;font-size:11pt;"> of KwaZulu-Natal. </span></p><p><span lang="EN-ZA" style="line-height:107%;font-family:"times new roman",serif;font-size:11pt;">This conference formed part of the Core Module of the MTh Gender and Health as well as the MDIV class and were attended by between 60-70 participants.</span><br></p>
International Bonhoeffer Society raises voice in resistance to discrimination and aggressive nationalismhttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=4635International Bonhoeffer Society raises voice in resistance to discrimination and aggressive nationalismMarita Snyman<p>Comprising scholars and religious leaders from the United States, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom, the purpose of the English Language Section of the International Bonhoeffer Society is to encourage critical scholarship in conversation with the theology, life, and legacy of the German pastor-theologian and Nazi resistor, Dietrich Bonhoeffer. While initiated in the United States, this statement expresses the concern, input, and support of our members in many countries that are demonstrating and protesting around the world. We speak noting that Dietrich Bonhoeffer himself taught the profound relatedness of all human persons and, indeed, of peoples and nations. We therefore feel called to raise our voices in support of justice and peace, and in resistance to every form of unjust discrimination and aggressive nationalism.</p><p>The United States has undergone an unusually contentious, bitter, and ugly election that has brought us to an equally contentious, bitter, and ugly beginning of the presidency of Donald J. Trump. While it is impossible to predict what lies ahead, we are gravely concerned by the rise in hateful rhetoric and violence, the deep divisions and distrust in our country, and the weakening in respectful public discourse. Some of the institutions that have traditionally protected our freedoms are under threat. In particular, this election has made the most vulnerable members of our society, including people of color, members of the LGBTQ communities, Muslims, immigrants, refugees, the poor, and the marginally employed and the unemployed, feel even more vulnerable and disempowered.</p><p>The German theologian and martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer is quoted often in such times, for he spoke eloquently to such issues. His entire theological and political journey was shaped by his conviction that the church is only truly church when it lives for all God's children in the world, and that Christians fulfill their faith as Christians only when we live for others. Members of the Bonhoeffer Society hope to make a faithful contribution to our society in this ominous time.</p><p>The best way to understand Bonhoeffer's possible message for our times is not to draw direct political analogies between his time and ours, but to understand the meaning of how he understood his faith and his responsibilities as a citizen in his own times and discern where these words might resonate for us today:</p><p>In the coming time, we will seek to live such a life of witness, not only for the sake of our country, but because our Christian faith calls us to do so.</p><ul><li>He warned that leaders become "misleaders" when they are interested only in their own power and neglect their responsibilities to serve those whom they govern. (1933)</li><li>He warned that when a government persecutes its minorities, it has ceased to govern legitimately. (1933)</li><li>He admonished Christians to "speak out for those who cannot speak" (1934) and reminded that the church has an "unconditional obligation toward the victims of any societal order, even if they do not belong to the Christian community." (1933)</li><li>In his book <em>Discipleship</em>, he wrote: "From the human point of view there are countless possibilities of understanding and interpreting the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus knows only one possibility: simply go and obey. Do not interpret or apply, but do it and obey. That is the only way Jesus' word is really heard. But again, doing something is not to be understood as an ideal possibility; instead, we are simply to begin acting."(1936)</li><li>He wrote: "I believe that in every moment of distress God will give us as much strength to resist as we need…I believe that even our mistakes and shortcomings are not in vain and that is not more difficult for God to deal with them than with our supposedly good deeds. I believe that God is no timeless fate but waits for and responds to sincere prayer and responsible actions." (1942)</li><li>He wrote: "Is there a political responsibility of the <em>individual Christian? </em>Individual Christians can certainly not be held responsible for the government's actions, nor dare they make themselves responsible for them. But on the basis of their faith and love of neighbor, they are responsible for their own vocation and personal sphere of living, however large or small it is. Wherever this responsibility is faithfully exercised, it has efficacy for the polis as a whole."(1941)</li><li>He wrote: "… one only learns to have faith by living in the full this-worldliness of life….then one takes seriously no longer one's own sufferings but rather the suffering of God in the world. Then one stays awake with Christ in Gethsemane…. How should one become arrogant over successes or shaken by one's failures when one shares in God's suffering in the life of this world?" (1944)<br><br>In the coming time, we will seek to live such a life of witness, not only for the sake of our country, but because our Christian faith calls us to do so. </li></ul>
From Stellenbosch to Bamberg - handing over leadership of the Global Network for Public Theology https://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=4988From Stellenbosch to Bamberg - handing over leadership of the Global Network for Public Theology Marita Snyman<p>​<span style="font-size:11pt;line-height:107%;font-family:calibri, sans-serif;color:black;">Prof Wabel will serve as the hosting chair of the next Global Network for Public Theology Consultation that will take place in Bamberg in 2019. Dr Dion Forster who served as the acting host Chair, on behalf of Prof Dr Nico Koopman, received the Indonesian batik cloth, a symbol of the GNPT since the inception of the network in 2007, from Prof Koopman in March 2017. At a Public Lecture, where Dr Forster presented a paper entitled 'The (im)possibility of forgiveness? Nelson Mandela and the politics of forgiveness in South Africa', the cloth was ceremonially handed to Prof Wabel. It marked a symbolic 'passing of the baton' of service from the Beyers Naudé Centre for Public Theology to the Dietrich Bonhoeffer Institute for Public Theology. Numerous academics and interested parties, as well as the President of the Otto Friedrich Universität, Prof Ruppert, attended the event. Prof Ruppert pledged his support to the work of the Dietrich Bonhoeffer Institute for Public Theology, and expressed how pleased he was that the GNPT would be hosted in Bamberg. Prof Wabel spoke of the importance of this next meeting, and how the contextual location in Europe, would inform some of the planning and thinking about Public Theologies from various global contexts. He expressed thanks to the Beyers Naudé Centre for Public Theology (BNC), Prof Koopman and Dr Forster, for their work in hosting the GNPT Consultation in Stellenbosch in 2016. As soon as specific details about the dates for the next GNPT meeting in Bamberg are finalised it shall be posted on the BNC website.</span> <br></p><p>Main photo: Dr Dion Forster and Prof Thomas Wabel</p><p>Photo below: Dr Dion Forster and Prof Nico Koopman<br></p><p><img src="/english/faculty/theology/bnc/PublishingImages/news-archive/Nico%20Koopman%20and%20Dion%20Forster%20Batik%20GNPT.JPG" alt="" style="margin:5px;width:400px;height:305px;" /> <br></p>
Engaging "radical economic transformation" and land ownership in South Africahttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=5601Engaging "radical economic transformation" and land ownership in South AfricaMarita Snyman<p>​The Faculty of Theology commemorated the beginning of theological education in Stellenbosch when the first classes were conducted on 3<sup> </sup>November 1859. The BNC facilitated a short but rigorous discussion of a topic that is relevant for our society as a whole and that will assist in focusing, challenging and informing the Faculty's Public Theology. Keynote speakers included Ms Bokang Mpeta, lecturer in Economics, Stellenbosch University and Dr Aninka Claassens, Director: Land and Accountability Research Centre, University of Cape Town.<br><br></p><p>Photo: Dr Dion Forster; Dr Aninka Claassens; Ms Bokang Mpeta; Prof Reggie Nel; Prof Hendrik Bosman<br></p>
The Beyers Naudé Centre for Public Theology and Faculdades EST, Brazil strengthen partnershiphttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=4276The Beyers Naudé Centre for Public Theology and Faculdades EST, Brazil strengthen partnershipDion Forster<p>The Beyers Naudé Centre for Public Theology in the Faculty of Theology at Stellenbosch University has been engaged in a rich and fruitful partnership with colleagues from Faculdades EST since 2007. Faculdades EST is a Brazilian institution of research and academic training in the fields of human sciences and applied social sciences, linguistics, languages, arts and health. The partnership has focussed predominantly on issues of Public Theologies in the respective contexts. Prof Dr Rudolf von Sinner from Faculdades EST and Dr Dion Forster from the Beyers Naudé Centre for Public Theology serve as the coordinators of an ongoing research project on the nature and content of Public Theologies from Brazil and South Africa. This has been a very fruitful collaboration over the years with the exchange of staff and students, participation in conferences in Sao Leopoldo and Stellenbosch, and shared publications. <br> <br>On the 14th of September 2016 the Faculty of Theology (Stellenbosch University) and the Beyers Naudé Centre for Public Theology presented Prof Dr Rudolf von Sinner with an artwork for the Centre for Ethics at Faculdades EST. The artwork, which was created by Prof Daniel Louw (Emeritus Professor - and former Dean - of the Faculty of Theology, Stellenbosch) is entitled '<em>The Cursed and Wounded Healer</em>'. It symbolises the frailty and brokenness of human persons and society as a result of sin. Yet, it points towards the hope of healing and restoration that the cross of Christ brings, expressed in Pauline terminology, as wholeness (<em>parrhesia</em>).</p><p>We look forward to many fruitful years of South by South collaboration between these two Southern hemisphere institutions. In this picture Dr Donald Katts, Stellenbosch (left) is presenting the artwork to Prof Dr Rudolf von Sinner (right) at a special service at Faculdades EST.</p>
SA not yet healed from frozen traumahttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=6486SA not yet healed from frozen traumaCorporate Communication / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie [Alec Basson]<p>​​We cannot afford to continue to ignore the unfinished business of healing our nation and dealing with the frozen trauma.<br></p><p>This was one of the viewpoints of Prof Christo Thesnaar from the Department of Practical Theology and Missiology in the Faculty of Theology at Stellenbosch University (SU) on Wednesday (12 Jun 2019). He delivered his inaugural lecture on the topic <em>Divine discomfort: A relational encounter with multi-generational and multi-layered trauma</em>.<br></p><p>Thesnaar said South Africa is reaping the fruits of frozen and multi-generational and multi-layered trauma that has started to erupt in the country. He added that we have failed to deal with the trauma of the past.<br></p><p>“Domestic and intimate partner violence, violent crime, substance dependency, xenophobia, etc., all bear witness to a frozen trauma that has started to erupt. Persistent poverty, inequality and unemployment are clear indicators that we have neglected to attend to our frozen trauma."<img class="ms-rtePosition-2" alt="Teologie intree-8.jpg" src="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/Teologie%20intree-8.jpg" style="margin:5px;width:380px;" /><br></p><p>“In the lead-up to the 25th anniversary of the political settlement in South Africa, we have seen an increase in anger, violence and vengeance on all levels of our society regarding basic service delivery, poverty, education, economic freedom, and so forth.</p><p>“It is safe to say that for the most part of the 25 years, the state of the trauma in our country has been mainly suppressed by the transition process, the first democratic election, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) process and the many political promises."<br></p><p>According to Thesnaar, the lack of implementation of the TRC recommendations by government, civil society and religious groupings and the failure to facilitate the past trauma have contributed to the eruption of the trauma. <br></p><p>“The failure to address socio-economic settlement in terms of economic justice, land reform, housing and employment, to name a few, has specifically contributed to the frozen trauma and the subsequent eruption thereof."<br></p><p>Thesnaar added that even though we went through a transformation (political change and new Constitution) and healing process (facilitated by the TRC) 25 years ago, there was no guarantee that it would be sufficient to deal with the decades of frozen trauma.<br></p><p>He said the lack of urgency by all role players to transform South Africa has increased divisions between rich and poor, different race groups, and leadership and the people.<br></p><p>“Poverty in the midst of opulence is inclined to wound a person, family, community and even a nation more than one can imagine. In this regard, unequal societies such as ours tend to generate more rage and outrage that turn inwards as well as to those intimate to the one that is traumatised."<br></p><p>Thesnaar said as a society we will need to embrace the values of <em>ubuntu</em> and mutual recognition to deal with the multi-generational and multi-layered trauma.</p><ul><li><strong>Main photo</strong>: A squatter camp in South Africa. (Credit: Wikimedia) </li><li><strong>Photo 1</strong>: Profs Reggie Nel, Dean of SU's Faculty of Theology, Christo Thesnaar and Stan du Plessis, SU's Chief Operating Officer at the inaugural lecture. <strong>Photographer</strong>: Anton Jordaan</li></ul><p><br> </p><br><br><br><br>