Journal History

HTS was founded in 1943 as a result of an international endeavour involving Dutch and South African scholars. It is the oldest theological journal in South Africa. Its historical roots date back to 1942 when the Cape Town based international Dutch company HAUM/Du Buissy Publishing House became the first sponsor of the initiative taken by theologians of the University of Pretoria in co-operation with scholars in the Netherlands. At the time, the theologians were responsible for theological quality management, whilst HAUM/du Buissy Publishing House provided the administrative infrastructure. HTS’ rights were later sold to the Netherdutch Reformed Church of Africa (Hervormde Kerk). The then N.H.W. Press (owned by the Netherdutch Reformed Church) printed HTS (also known as Hervormde Teologiese Studies) and the administration of the journal was handled by staff attached to the Church Synod office in Pretoria. Up until Volume 64 in 2008, four issues were published annually. Professor Doktor J. de Zwaan (Leiden), Professor Doktor H.W. Obbink (Utrecht) and Professor Doktor B. Gemser (Groningen) from the Netherlands played an influential role in the first Editorial Board together with the Dutch-born internationally recognised Old Testament scholar Professor Doktor A. van Selms. During the first four years of HTS’ existence (1943−1947/1948), academics from the University of Pretoria who served on the Editorial Board, together with Professor Van Selms and the above-mentioned Dutch scholars, were Professors J.H.J.A. Greyvenstein (New Testament Studies and Practical Theology), S.P. Engelbrecht (Church History) and A.S. Geyser (New Testament Studies). Over the years a close collaboration as far as the infrastructure and scholarly quality of HTS were concerned developed between the Netherdutch Reformed Church of Africa and the Faculty of Theology at the University of Pretoria, founded in 1917. The Dutch Reformed Church (Nederduits Gereformeerde Kerk) joined in 1937 and became Section B of the Faculty of Theology. In 2000, the two sections, the Dutch Reformed Church (the then Section B) and the Netherdutch Reformed Church of Africa (Section A) amalgamated and formed the multi-church oriented Faculty of Theology in collaboration with the Uniting Presbyterian Church of Southern Africa. In view of the amalgamation the General Synod of the Netherdutch Reformed Church of Africa decided that the newly established Reformed Theological College should be responsible for the infrastructure of HTS.

The present day

The Netherdutch Reformed Church of Africa is the title owner of HTS a contractual agreement was reached between the University of Pretoria and the Netherdutch Reformed Church of Africa in 2000, in terms of which the Reformed Theological College was affiliated to the Faculty of Theology. According to Clause 7.2 of this agreement, HTS administration is managed by the Faculty of Theology’s Reformed Theological College (HTK). The Reformed Theological College is responsible through the Editorial Board of HTS to ensure that the criteria for accreditation of HTS by the Department of Education of the South African national government are met and upheld. Accreditation is a condition for tertiary institutions in South Africa to receive a financial subsidy from the Department of Education for published research outputs of South African academics and their registered research associates. As a co-partner in the multi-church theological faculty at the University of Pretoria, the Netherdutch Reformed Church of Africa through its support of the Reformed Theological College in the Faculty of Theology and the Nederduitsch Hervormde Lecturers’ Council of the Faculty of Theology, supports academic publishing in the field of theology, more specifically through HTS as a scholarly journal. At the beginning of 2009, commencing with Volume 65 of HTS, the Netherdutch Reformed Church of Africa entered into a publishing agreement with African Online Scientific Information Systems (Pty) Ltd (AOSIS). This company provides various services, including but not limited to the provision of scholarly publication services. In 2007, consultation between the editors of the journals Practical Theology in South Africa and HTS began with the possibility of uniting in their endeavours to be one theological research portal. In 2009 these discussions ended in a formal agreement between the Society for Practical Theology in South Africa and the Editorial Board of HTS to jointly promote and ensure the sustainable publication of scholarly articles in theology. In the permanent section Practical Theology the tradition of publishing original, scholarly and peer reviewed research within Practical Theology as a theological discipline will be honoured and continued. We want to link up with the international growing consensus on what this discipline wants to contribute to theology as such and as part of the proud tradition of HTS.