THE FUTURE OF SOUTH AFRICAN THEOLOGY: SCANNING THE ROAD AHEAD

Neville Richardson

Abstract


In order to survey the road ahead for South African theology, it is necessary first to
look back to the road behind us. We espoused the contextual method during
apartheid, but are we now trapped in a method no longer appropriate to our new
context? A sweeping look at the distant past reveals a dualistic conceptual path
emerging from ancient Greece, leading via Descartes and Kant to modernity. The
efforts of Schleiermacher and Kant only served to increase the growing bifurcation
in our conceptual road. Recent attempts to beat the bifurcation have been seen in
the work of process theologians, James Gustafson, the narrativists, Alasdair
MacIntyre and John Milbank. A more promising way forward, with more affinity to
African thought, may lie in the work of the phenomenologists. Of particular
significance are Merleau-Ponty’s view of perception as participative, and Husserl’s
notion of “intersubjectivity”. A road ahead, characterised by the prefix “inter”,
promises to lead towards cohesion and away from the bifurcations and dichotomies
of the past. In order for theology to flourish it must be interdenominational,
interfaith, intercultural, international, interdisciplinary and interactive.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7833/89-0-1037

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ISSN 2305-445X (online); ISSN 0254-1807 (print)

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