Original Research - Special Collection: UP Faculty of Theology Centenary Volume One

‘The idea of the University’ and the ‘Pretoria Model’ Apologia pro statu Facultatis Theologicae Universitatis Pretoriensis ad secundum saeculum>

Johan Buitendag
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 72, No 4 | a4366 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v72i4.4366 | © 2016 Johan Buitendag | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 November 2016 | Published: 02 December 2016

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Johan Buitendag, Dean of the Faculty of Theology, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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The article is authored by the Dean of Faculty of Theology at the University of Pretoria, celebrating the Faculty’s centenary in 2017. The exposition of the argument is unfolded on the basis of Ricoeur’s threefold mimesis of prefiguration, configuration and reconfiguration. The earliest decisive statement with regard to the nature of the Faculty, and which is eagerly pursued, was made by the Rev. M.J. Goddefroy in 1888, epitomising theological training as of academic deference, that is as a Faculty at a university and not a seminary. This has been the fibre of Theology at the University of Pretoria and intellectual inquiry is an uncompromised value. The article is a critical reflection on the past century and an orientation towards the next hundred years, identifying the essence of what a real Pretoria Model could and should be and looking ahead to the next century. ‘History is not a destination, but an orientation’, sounds like a refrain in the article. The enterprise is contextual with regard to time and space. The assessment is subsequently done in terms of this continent and this century, that is Africa and the 21st century. The conclusion of the article is that the Pretoria Model fills a unique niche in theological inquiry at public universities competing for a position among the top 500 on the ranking of world universities.


Theological Education; Pretoria Model; Duplex Ordo; Epistemology; Africanisation; Theology ranking; HTS Theological Studies; Verbum et Ecclesia; Durban Declaration; decolonilisation


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1. Scriptural reasoning: An expression of what it means to be a Faculty of Theology and Religion
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doi: 10.4102/hts.v74i4.5048