Original Research

Becoming transdisciplinary theologians: Wentzel van Huyssteen, Paul Cilliers and Constantine Stanislavski

Gys Loubser
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 71, No 3 | a2901 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v71i3.2901 | © 2015 Gys Loubser | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 28 January 2015 | Published: 02 July 2015

About the author(s)

Gys Loubser, Department of Systematic Theology and Ecclesiology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa


Firstly, I discuss deferent descriptions of transdisciplinary research and argue that Wentzel van Huyssteen’s postfoundationalist description of epistemology provides a progenitive epistemology for a variety of transdisciplinary engagements. Secondly, I suggest that complexity, as described by Paul Cilliers, can be rooted in a postfoundationalist epistemology and illuminates the facilitation of transdisciplinary research. Based on this description and facilitation of transdisciplinarity, I argue that transdisciplinary theologians need to be skilled empathisers because knowledge is generated and exchanged by embodied agents, embedded in particular disciplines. In a transversal move I suggest that, given contemporary research on empathic skills and the embodied aspects of empathy, Stanislavski’s approach to the training of actors illuminates a way in which we can train transdisciplinary theologians. The training develops empathetic skills through both mental and embodied exercises and equips students to generate empathy in different contexts without following set rules.


Transdisciplinarity; Complexity; Postfoundationalist; Empathy


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