THEOLOGICAL EDUCATION IN SOUTH AFRICA AND THE EPISTEMOLOGICAL DIVIDE: IN SEARCH OF THE AFRICAN HABITUS

AO Balcomb

Abstract


 The ethos of the academy in South Africa, as is the case in the West in general, has been shaped profoundly by the Enlightenment. Theological and religious studies in the secular academy have had to conform to this ethos. This has led to the anomalous situation of African students of theology being alienated from their faith at university level despite the fact that the sub-continent appears to be over-whelmingly Christian in its ethos. Theology departments need to take more seriously the epistemological divide between students of theology coming from an African background that has had little or no exposure to the critical approach that emerged within the history of the academy in the West. This does not mean that the critical approach must be abandoned but rather that it should be applied more rigorously to the secular world view of the university itself and recognition given of alternative world views that shape the African habitus. Such forms of contextualisation mean, amongst other things, that a more sympathetic articulation of the faith in African terms needs to be emphasised, the social sciences should not take the place of theology; an alternative, non-secular account of human rights needs to be found, and development discourse needs to take seriously Indigenous Knowledge Systems.


Keywords


World View; Emic vs Etic; Secularisation; Faith Seeking Understanding; Contextualisation

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7833/114-0-1039

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

Attribution CC BY-NC-ND 4.0


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