Original Research - Special Collection: Engaging Schleiermacher today: South African perspectives

What is so theological about a faculty of theology at a public university? Athens – Berlin – Pretoria

Johan Buitendag
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 75, No 4 | a5488 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v75i4.5488 | © 2019 Johan Buitendag | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 02 April 2019 | Published: 18 June 2019

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Johan Buitendag, Department of Historical and Systematic Theology, Faculty of Theology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa

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In this article, the author engages with the question ‘what is so theological about theological education?’, which he calls a genealogy of theology. This matter is approached from a very specific vantage point as the author was the former dean of the Faculty of Theology and Religion at the University of Pretoria (South Africa) and has engaged in this research project over the past 5 years, as the Faculty was under severe review as to its composition, and ultimately its very future. This article endeavours to bring to the surface the underlying theology of the author and the paradigm he is operating from. It concludes with a definition of theology as he sees it, but with the explicit qualification of it being situated at a research-intensive university competing for a notable position on the ranking indexes of world universities. A new niche is thus opening up for theology (vis-à-vis a seminary or even a Christian university), namely, a ‘scholarly endeavour of believers in the public sphere in order to inquire into a multi-dimensional reality in a manner that matters’.


Theological education; Metareality; Critical realism; Society; Faith communities; Ecodomy; Transformation; decolonisation; Luhmann; Bhaskar; QS World Ranking of Universities; University of Pretoria; Moltmann


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