Original Research - Special Collection: Inaugural Speech

Historical Theology at public universities matter

Jerry Pillay
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 73, No 1 | a4807 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v73i1.4807 | © 2017 Jerry Pillay | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 06 September 2017 | Published: 20 November 2017

About the author(s)

Jerry Pillay, Department of Church History and Church Polity, Faculty of Theology, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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South African universities are in the process of serious transformation and restructuring. The place of faculties of theology at universities has come under the spotlight resulting in the closure of several theological faculties or in the moving of theology to other faculties, mainly humanities or arts. Theology is under pressure and in the current academic environment, Church History, in its traditional form, has all but disappeared from South African universities. 

This article is an attempt to address the current situation. Whilst this article looks at the issue of theology at public universities, its main focus is to explore the future study of church history in the context of universities and, in particular, a Faculty of Theology. Understanding church history in the broad framework as Historical Theology, this article asserts the significance of church history at public universities, but points out the need to restructure the Department giving due consideration to community engagement, internationalisation, transformation, africanisation and interreligious collaboration. All of these would have a serious impact on teaching, learning and research.


church history; historical theology; university; theology; history; africanisation; transformation; internationalisation; trans-disciplinary; interdisciplinary; interreligious; secular; community engagement


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Crossref Citations

1. From the tower to the pews: A call for academic theology to re-engage with the local context
Jonathan M. Womack, Jerry Pillay
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies  vol: 75  issue: 4  year: 2019  
doi: 10.4102/hts.v75i4.5622