Ferdinand Deist


Botha (1991) refers to various approaches to ‘contextualisation’, some of which proceed from the assumption that Scripture should interpret present situations, while others insist on letting present situations interpret Scripture. In what follows I shall discuss a South African example of each of these approaches (Potgieter 1989 and Mosala 1989) to show that, since both approaches may for good reasons be viewed as either ‘contextual’ or ‘non-contextual’ our (intuitive) definition of ‘contextuality’ appears to be at the least ambiguous. Discussing the problematic nature of these two approaches I intent to shows that

(a)   A contingent socio-political framework provides too narrow a basis for a truly contextual theology,

(b)   Not every theology that is relevant for a particular contingent situation is necessarily contextual,

(c)    Not every social theory that can explain a situation is suitable for constructing a truly contextual theology for that situation,

and to suggest an approach that could assist us in speaking less vaguely about ‘contextual theology’.


Contextualisation; Scripture; Contextual theology; Social theory

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7833/9-0-1968


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