Original Research - Special Collection: A.G.van Aarde Festschrift

The divine favour of the unworthy: When the fatherless son meets the Black Messiah

Allan A. Boesak
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 67, No 1 | a933 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v67i1.933 | © 2011 Allan A. Boesak | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 02 August 2010 | Published: 14 April 2011

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Allan A. Boesak, International Institute for the Study of Race, Reconciliation and Social Justice, University of the Free State, South Africa

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This article engages with Andries van Aarde’s 2001 work on the historical Jesus, Fatherless in Galilee: Jesus as Child of God. It poses the question whether Van Aarde succeeds in overcoming the shortcomings of Western, Euro-centric, male dominated scholarship and making a different kind of conversation with non-Western Christians possible. The article explores the new ways in which Van Aarde speaks of the historical Jesus and interrogates the consequences of his main thesis, namely that to understand the historical Jesus properly, one needs to understand the most determining fact of Jesus’ life, specifically his fatherlessness. The article finds that Van Aarde’s fatherless Jesus opens up heretofore unexplored possibilities for the ongoing discussion with liberation theologies, in particular Black liberation theology. However, it raises the question whether Van Aarde does justice to his own new insights by interacting with Western theological scholarship alone. The fatherless Jesus and the Black Messiah meet in South Africa, where the cause of the fatherless Jesus has been so shamefully betrayed and where the divine favour of the Black Messiah needs to be gloriously embraced.


Black liberation theology; Black Messiah; Christology from the side; fatherless in Galilee; historical Jesus; Van Aarde


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