Original Research - Special Collection: HTS 75th Anniversary Maake Masango Dedication

Redressing the past, doing justice in the present: Necessary paradoxes

Tanya van Wyk
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 75, No 4 | a5625 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v75i4.5625 | © 2019 Tanya van Wyk | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 21 June 2019 | Published: 12 November 2019

About the author(s)

Tanya van Wyk, Department of Systematic and Historical Theology, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

In this contribution, the connection between redressing the past and doing justice in the present is explored by presenting the notion of ‘paradox’ as a response to ‘binary thinking’. In this regard, ‘paradox’ denotes contradictory, yet interrelated aspects that exist simultaneously. ‘Binary thinking’ refers to either/or categorical aspects that cannot co-exist. Two paradoxes are explored as a response to increasing polarisation because of a struggle in redressing past injustices: the paradox of remembering and forgetting and the paradox of difference and sameness. This is done by bringing the work of the South African practical theologian, Denise Ackermann, in conversation with the work of the Croatian systematic theologian, Miroslav Volf. From different origins and experiences, both offer a way forward, and a way to move on beyond the devastation that is caused by dealing with injustice, difference and memory in a polarising fashion. The contribution concludes with a reflection on the notion of ‘ceding space’ from a Trinitarian theological perspective. The ceding of space is proposed as act of transformation, as the outcome of the ideas proposed by Ackermann and Volf, and as a way to live together, ‘after the locusts’.

Keywords

paradox; binary; justice; transformation; identity; diversity; otherness; memory; hybridity; Trinitarian theology

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