Original Research - Special Collection: James Alfred Loader Dedication

Social ethics in South Africa: Initiating a dialogue between its relevance and current status

Willem Fourie
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 69, No 1 | a1978 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v69i1.1978 | © 2013 Willem Fourie | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 03 April 2013 | Published: 19 July 2013

About the author(s)

Willem Fourie, Department of Dogmatics and Christian Ethics, University of Pretoria, South Africa


South African biblical scholars – particularly those who focus on the Old Testament – are known for their engagement with themes that can be termed social ethical. This impulse is used as starting point to investigate the relevance of social ethics in South Africa and its current status. It is argued that social ethical reflection is of particular relevance for South Africa. This thesis is investigated in two ways. Firstly, the applicability of social ethics as academic field is examined and it is shown that post-apartheid South African political institutions, systems and processes themselves are subjected to major changes and developments – a traditional area of focus of social ethics. Secondly, the current status of social ethical reflection in theological journals based in South Africa is investigated. The article concludes by showing that the current status of social ethical reflection in South African academic theology does not reflect the perceived need for social ethical reflection.


Social ethics; South Africa; Democratic consolidation; Justice


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