Original Research - Special Collection: Engaging Development

Curriculum design in theology and development: Human agency and the prophetic role of the church

Beverley Haddad
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 72, No 4 | a3432 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v72i4.3432 | © 2016 Beverley Haddad | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 April 2016 | Published: 01 December 2016

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Beverley Haddad, School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa

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The field of theology and development is a relatively new sub-discipline within theological studies in Africa. The first formal post-graduate programme was introduced at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa during the mid-1990s. In the early years it was known as the Leadership and Development programme and since 2000, as the Theology and Development programme. Over the past twenty years, this programme has graduated over 160 BTh Honours, 100 MTh, and 15 PhD students. This article outlines the history of the programme, addresses its ideological orientation, its pedagogical commitments and preferences in curriculum design. It further argues that theological reflection on “development” must seek to understand the prophetic role of the church in responding to the complexities of the social issues facing the African continent.  Key to this discussion is the contested nature of “development” and the need for theological perspectives to engage this contestation through a social analysis of the global structures of injustice. This requires an engagement with the social sciences. It is this engagement of the social sciences with theological reflection, the essay argues, that has enabled the students who have graduated from the Theology and Development Programme at the University of KwaZulu-Natal to assist the church and faith-based organisations to become effective agents of social transformation.


Theology and Development; Social transformation; Theological Studies; Prophetic Church


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