Original Research - Special Collection: T.F.J. Dreyer Dedication

Ta splanchna: A theopaschitic approach to a hermeneutics of God’s praxis. From zombie categories to passion categories in theory formation for a practical theology of the intestines

Daniel J. Louw
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 67, No 3 | a1087 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v67i3.1087 | © 2011 Daniel J. Louw | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 16 May 2011 | Published: 04 November 2011

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Daniel J. Louw, Stellenbosch University, South Africa

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It is argued that both the traditional clerical paradigm of an ecclesial approach and the phenomenological paradigm of an empirical approach are not sufficient enough to describe and maintain a theological methodology in practical theology. This has led to the introduction of a theopaschitic paradigm in theory formation. It is argued that the normative task of practical theology implies a philosophical-hermeneutical dimension, that is, to interpret under girding paradigms as related to meaning and being. It also implies a theological dimension; to reflect theologically on the praxis of God as an influential factor within human actions (inhabitational theology.) With reference to ‘the pneumatological praxis of God’, a practical theology of the intestines is proposed. Bowel categories reveal a divine intentionality (teleology) and describe a modus of God’s praxis, the how of God within the vulnerability and suffering of human beings. This divine ontological mode should operate as a practical theological paradigm determining being qualities (ontic status) within human actions and processes of communication. The under girding theological presupposition is that ta splanchna [strong feeling of mercy and compassion expressed by the intestines] denotes a compassionate praxis of co-suffering (the passio Dei). Passion in practical theology emanates in parrhesia and instills a vivid hope: fides quaerens spem [faith in search of hope].


Ta splanchna; hermeneutics; theology of the intestines; practical theology; theopaschitic thinking


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