THE FUTURE OF SOUTH AFRICAN THEOLOGY: SCANNING THE ROAD AHEAD
AbstractIn 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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