As an academic journal HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies (HTS) disseminates the results of the theological research of national and international scholars.


The library contains articles of HTS Teologiese Studies /Theological Studies as of vol. 1(1943) to current.

Recent Submissions

  • ‘All men have been considered equal by me’: The attitude of Amatus Lusitanus towards treating gentiles according to his Physician’s Oath

    Abraham O. Shemesh (AOSIS, 2019-08-01)
    The ancient Jewish law took a strict approach to medical relationships between Jews and non-Jews. The current study deals with the attitude of Amatus Lusitanus (1511–1568), a notable Portuguese Jewish physician towards treating gentiles. The Physician’s Oath of Lusitanus emphasises that as a doctor he treated people from varied faiths and socio-economic status. Lusitanus treated many non-Jews. For instance, he received an invitation from the municipality of Ragusa to serve as the town physician and he accepted this mission. In Anconare, he was called upon to treat Jacoba del Monte, sister of Pope Julius III, and he also prescribed for Julius himself. Amatus Lusitanus was forced to leave his country because of the Portuguese inquisition and wandered in many countries. Despite the hostile religious attitude of his close surroundings, he did not retaliate against his patients and provided medical treatment indiscriminately.
  • Provisions against wealth and poverty in Plato’s Cretan city and in ancient Israel: A comparison of the Book of Deuteronomy with Plato’s Nomoi

    Eckart Otto (AOSIS, 2019-08-01)
    The way in which a nation’s economy is structured is of great importance for the material welfare of its people as well as the people’s relationship with the state and the operation of the state itself. It is also important for the proper functioning of a nation as a people and its psychological welfare. If the gap between rich and poor increases, the structure of an economy, and therefore the welfare of the state and the nation, is at risk. Two important documents of antiquity, Plato’s Nomoi and the Book of Deuteronomy, which even today influence life, dealt intensively with the fissures between rich and poor within society as a danger to political welfare and harmony. This article will examine these documents to make use of these two books for improving a societal situation. This will be done by a comparative perspective on both of these books.
  • Distinguishing the virtuous city of Alfarabi from that of Plato in light of his unique historical context

    Ishraq Ali; Qin Mingli (AOSIS, 2019-08-01)
    There is a tendency among scholars to identify Alfarabi’s political philosophy in general and his theory of the state in particular with that of Plato’s The Republic. Undoubtedly Alfarabi was well versed in the philosophy of Plato and was greatly influenced by it. He borrows the Platonic concept of the philosopher king and uses it in his theory of the state. However, we argue that the identification of Alfarabi’s virtuous city with that of Plato’s The Republic is an inaccurate assessment as it involves overlooking Alfarabi’s unique religiopolitical context. Alfarabi was a Muslim political philosopher, and the present article intends to understand Alfarabi’s theory of the state in light of his historical context. The article shows that, viewed through the prism of Islamic religion and political history, Alfarabi’s virtuous city seems distinct from that of Plato’s The Republic.
  • Imagination, religion and morality: An interdisciplinary approach

    Bernice Serfontein (AOSIS, 2019-06-01)
    Every human society and almost all of human life are infused with ethics. How do we best understand human morality and ethics? I want to argue that responsible ethics rests on a credible understanding of what it means to be human. This article proposes that a more comprehensive understanding of the distinctive human imagination, religious awareness and morality – all of which are significant aspects of being human – will facilitate a more responsible understanding and practice of ethics. Such an understanding entails a bottom-up view, which takes seriously the exploration of the fundamental evolutionary realities of human nature, that is, a natural history of morality. The quest for understanding the propensity for imagination, religious awareness and morality can be aided by exploring the core role of the evolutionary transition between becoming and being human. Accordingly, this research combines a niche construction perspective with fossil and archaeological evidence, highlighting the role of complexity in human evolution, which adds to our understanding of a completely human way of being in the world. A distinctively human imagination is part of the explanation for human evolutionary success and accordingly our sense of morality and religious disposition. The methodology this article applies is that of an interdisciplinary approach combining perspectives of some of the most prominent voices in the modern discourses on imagination, religious awareness and morality. What results from this approach is, first, a more comprehensive understanding of the human imagination, the capacity for religious awareness and morality. Ultimately, by creatively integrating the various perspectives evident in this research – by way of a philosophical bridge theory between evolutionary anthropology and theology – this article attempts to determine whether evolutionary thought can be constructively appropriated to interdisciplinary Christian theology and ethics.
  • ’n Herlesing van Pseudo-Dionisius se metafisika

    Johann Beukes (AOSIS, 2018-11-01)
    This article, by analysing, annotating en interpreting the most recent research in all relevant departments, provides a fresh and updated overview of the Neoplatonic metaphysics of Pseudo-Dionysius (ca. 500). After providing an introduction to Dionysius’ metaphysics in terms of the contributions of Middle Platonism and Neoplatonism, the article explores his broader philosophical system. A number of traits that are uniquely Dionysic-metaphysical, are eventually isolated: the interpretation of transcendence as bound to immanence; the affirmation of God’s transcendence in the world (that is, a metaphysics of ‘creation as teophany’; following E.D. Perl); the radical transcendence and simultaneous radical immanence of God (that is, God as ‘Beingness’); fundamental restrictions of language and the analogical ‘Naming’ of God; creation as a system of dialectical symbols about God; the analogical participation of the subject in creation; and unification (reditus, the ‘flowing of things back to God’). These traits are utilised to reappraise the metaphysics of Nicholas of Cusa (1401–1464) in a subsequent article.
  • Four different views of scientific knowledge and the birth of modern relativism: The very important challenge facing reformed churches in a Western world

    Nicolaas J. Gronum (AOSIS, 2018-06-01)
    Theologians are used to pointing the finger at European continental postmodernism when dealing with modern relativism. This article addresses a problem that is seldom highlighted within theology: modern relativism is the result of a series of epistemological discussions that took place during the early Enlightenment between scholars such as Rene Descartes, John Locke and Immanuel Kant. They were reacting, in part, to Aristotle’s metaphysics and logic. When the whole picture unravels, one immediately sees that modern relativism is deeply ingrained in Western thought. In other words, modern relativism will not gather dust after the demise of postmodernism. To the contrary, this article would argue that modern relativism will continue to pose serious challenges to reformed churches in future. Pastors who want to engage with Western audiences will benefit from being made aware of this. Hopefully this will encourage theologians to re-evaluate the relevancy of reformed theological constructs in societies that are deeply steeped in relativist thought.
  • Martin Luther se veelkantige verhouding tot die filosofie

    Ignatius W.C. van Wyk (AOSIS, 2018-07-01)
    Martin Luther lectured moral philosophy in Wittenberg. He was therefore a well-trained philosopher in the tradition of Willem Ockham. Throughout his academic career, he respected the important contribution of philosophy to life. Without philosophy, the world cannot function properly! He, however, rejected the idea that Aristotelian philosophy should be the guiding principle of theology. A philosophy that concentrates on what man could and should do, cannot be the cradle of the New Testament notion of justification without works. The God of the New Testament could therefore not be discovered by philosophical reflexion, but should rather be discovered by the preaching of the gospel. Theology, for Luther, is ‘science of conflict’ – it is in conflict with human logic and science. Theology offers a truth that is not scientifically intelligible. This truth is a matter for faith and not reason. By saying this, the importance of human reasoning is not denied.
  • Baruch Spinoza and the naturalisation of the Bible: An epistemological investigation

    Nicolaas J. Gronum (AOSIS, 2015-03-01)
    This article investigates the naturalisation of the Bible. Three voices are of special importance in the narrative presented in this article; they are Aristotle (384–322 BC), Rene Descartes (1596–1650) and Baruc Spinoza (1632–1677). This article will investigate the scientific method and metaphysics espoused by each of the three scholars, thereby highlighting changes in scientific method and metaphysics that lead to the naturalisation of the Bible. Firstly, Aristotle pioneered a scientific method (his logic) that would dominate for centuries, as well as a highly influential metaphysics. Secondly, Descartes, witnessing the horrors of the Thirty Years War and seeing first-hand the new discoveries that brought about the scientific revolution, reacted against Aristotle’s metaphysics. Ironically he then used Aristotle’s scientific method to provide a foundation for the new science resulting in Descartes’s famous dualism. Thirdly, Spinoza, equally horrified by the amount of religious violence of his time, reacts against Descartes’s dualism, providing scholars with a monist metaphysics that would contribute greatly to the naturalisation of the Bible. This article will be relevant to theologians who wish to engage more fully with contemporary Western culture.
  • Die konstellasie taalbegrip-logika in die Middeleeuse filosofie (2): Duns Skotus tot De Rivo

    Johann Beukes (AOSIS, 2012-01-01)
    <strong>The constellation language-logic in medieval philosophy (2): Duns Scotus to De Rivo.</strong> This second in a series of two articles continues the attempt to provide an in-depth overview of some of the most prominent – and some of the most underpublished - medieval thinkers’ stances on the constellation of language and logic, thus as a combined and condensed problem in western philosophy between the 5th and 15th centuries. The two articles form part of a rehabilitating series of modern-critical articles on understated and marginalised themes, texts and figures in medieval philosophy. The positions of the well-known philosophers that are covered in the two articles, St Augustine, Peter Abelard, St Thomas Aquinas, John Duns Scotus and William of Ockham, are juxtaposed with some less familiar philosophical positions, amongst others those of Boethius, Peter of Spain, John Wyclif and Peter de Rivo.
  • Kosmiese mag in Pseudo-Aristoteles, <i>De mundo</i>, en die Nuwe Testament

    Johan C. Thom (AOSIS, 2012-01-01)
    <strong>Cosmic power in Pseudo-Aristotle, <em>De mundo</em>, and the New Testament.</strong> In order to locate the cosmological views underlying the writings of Paul and other New Testament (NT) authors within their historical contexts it is necessary to compare them with other contemporary worldviews, such as those expressed in philosophical writings of the period. New Testament research has thus far concentrated on the most popular and influential philosophical traditions of NT times, that is, Stoicism and Middle Platonism. Other philosophical traditions may however also offer valuable insights. In this article I suggested that the <em>De mundo</em> attributed to Aristotle but probably dating from the 1st century BCE or CE provides early evidence for a splitting up of the demiurgic function of God in order to preserve God’s transcendence. I furthermore argued that a similar division of divine functions is also evident in some NT texts, for example, John 1, Colossians 1, and Hebrews 1. This notion is explored using Colossians 1 as example.
  • Righteousness and identity formation in the Sermon on the Mount

    Francois P. Viljoen (AOSIS, 2013-03-01)
    Righteousness is an important term in the first gospel and has a significant concentration in the Sermon on the Mount. The argument in this article is that the first gospel has a community building function. Matthew intentionally uses the word ‘righteousness’ in the Sermon on the Mount as an instrument to define the identity of his community. Though righteousness can be used in a soteriological sense, it is argued that Matthew mainly uses it in an ethical sense. By righteousness Matthew refers to the proper behavioural norms and attitudes for his community. Commitment to Jesus forms the central focus of the community’s identity. Their discipleship is demonstrated by doing the will of God as defined and interpreted by Jesus. Doing the will of God in such a manner is what Matthew regards as the distinguishing mark of this community. Thus they would surpass the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees.
  • ’n Postliberale perspektief op ’n ekklesiologiese modaliteit as ’n ecclesiola in ecclesia – heroriëntasie in die Nederduitsch Hervormde Kerk van Afrika

    Andries G. van Aarde (AOSIS, 2013-07-01)
    A postliberal perspective on an ecclesiological modality as an ecclesiola in ecclesia – reorientation in the Netherdutch Reformed Church of Africa. This article investigates the legitimacy of a middle position between Reformed orthodoxy and critical theology. Is such a middle position the solution to the current conflict in the Netherdutch Reformed Church of Africa? The tension between ‘liberal’ and ‘orthodox’ is investigated by comparing these to the alleged tension between psychology and critical exegesis in Schleiermacher’s thinking. The article finds that these poles constituted a dialectic rather than a tension in Schleiermacher’s thinking. An organised middle group will lead to a greater schism in the Netherdutch Reformed Church. The argument unfolds by means of a reflection on 10 theological nuances, the most important of which are not the poles of conservative confessionalism and critical liberalism, but ethical-dialectical and critical-realistic theology. The conclusion is that reconciling diversity remains a Biblical-theological imperative rather than the organisation of an ecclesiological modality.
  • Social ethics in South Africa: Initiating a dialogue between its relevance and current status

    Willem Fourie (AOSIS, 2013-07-01)
    South African biblical scholars – particularly those who focus on the Old Testament – are known for their engagement with themes that can be termed social ethical. This impulse is used as starting point to investigate the relevance of social ethics in South Africa and its current status. It is argued that social ethical reflection is of particular relevance for South Africa. This thesis is investigated in two ways. Firstly, the applicability of social ethics as academic field is examined and it is shown that post-apartheid South African political institutions, systems and processes themselves are subjected to major changes and developments – a traditional area of focus of social ethics. Secondly, the current status of social ethical reflection in theological journals based in South Africa is investigated. The article concludes by showing that the current status of social ethical reflection in South African academic theology does not reflect the perceived need for social ethical reflection.
  • The early Browning: Pastoral care in a pluralistic age and the method of practical moral inquiry

    Mark Hestenes (AOSIS, 2012-08-01)
    The past president of the International Academy of Practical Theology, Prof. Donald Browning, has written books and articles across a wide variety of topics concerning the correlation of many great fields of knowledge, including theology, psychology, philosophy, sociology, practical theology, ethics, family therapy and ecology over the past 40 years. Prof. Browning passed away on 03 June 2010. This left the author of this article with a desire to begin to reassess some of Browning’s earlier reflections regarding his vision of pastoral care in a pluralistic age and the importance of his method of practical moral inquiry.
  • From virtue ethics to rights ethics: Did the Reformation pave the way for secular ethics?

    Nico Vorster (AOSIS, 2014-04-01)
    In chapter four of his book, The unintended Reformation, Brad Gregory argues that ethical thinking since the 1500’s experienced a major shift in emphasis from the teleological concept of a ‘substantive morality of the good’ to liberalism’s ‘formal morality of rights’. He attributes it to the religious upheavals and ‘sociopolitical disruptions’ during the Reformation era. This article probes three elements of Gregory’s argument. Firstly, the article offers a critical assessment of Gregory’s depiction of the Reformation’s stance towards reason. It pays particular attention to the Reformation’s understanding of the effects of sin on the human being’s image of God, reason and the possibility for a shared social ethics. Secondly, this study scrutinises Gregory’s argument that the Reformation created an individualist notion of selfhood in contrast to the Roman Catholic communal notion of selfhood and thereby paved the way for modernism. Lastly, the discussion probes into Gregory’s claim that the Reformation’s ethical paradigm diverged radically from the Latin Christendom paradigm and that this contributed to the subjectivisation of ethics, by replacing a virtue ethics with a rights ethics.
  • The search for oneself: Introductory notes on ethics and anthropology

    J.P. (Kobus) Labuschagne (AOSIS, 2013-08-01)
    Human beings make choices, and get caught up by their choices. One cannot escape the choices one has made. Your choices draw the picture of who you really are. Sometimes you are haunted by the dire consequences of the choices you have made. Where does the necessity of taking responsibility for yourself, and the choices you have made, take you? Ethics and moral conduct make sense only in conjunction with the moral agent – humankind. This article is an introductory reflection on ethics and anthropology. The argument develops mainly from the view of a human being as a relational being. People are inescapably relational beings – always being in relation with other human beings, and never able to sever the lifesaving ties to God as the human being’s Maker. Human beings become themselves in relation to other human beings, and ultimately in relation to the One Other, God their Creator and Re-creator.
  • From the religious a priori to intending the absolute: Reflections on the methodological principles in Otto and Tillich against the backdrop of their historical problematic

    Christian Danz (AOSIS, 2013-08-01)
    This contribution examines Rudolf Otto’s and Paul Tillich’s theories of religion against the background of the debates around 1900. Beginning with Wilhelm Windelband’s motifs and Ernst Troeltsch’s philosophies of religion, it is shown that Otto and Tillich alike elaborate on a performance-bound conception of religion from transcendental-philosophical and phenomenological motifs. Tillich, following Edmund Husserl, ultimately resolves the idea of a religious a priori as a concept of religion elaborated in terms of the theory of intentionality.
  • From the religious <i>a priori</i> to intending the absolute: Reflections on the methodological principles in Otto and Tillich against the backdrop of their historical problematic

    Christian Danz (AOSIS, 2013-01-01)
    <p>This contribution examines Rudolf Otto’s and Paul Tillich’s theories of religion against the background of the debates around 1900. Beginning with Wilhelm Windelband’s motifs and Ernst Troeltsch’s philosophies of religion, it is shown that Otto and Tillich alike elaborate on a performance-bound conception of religion from transcendental-philosophical and phenomenological motifs. Tillich, following Edmund Husserl, ultimately resolves the idea of a religious a priori as a concept of religion elaborated in terms of the theory of intentionality.</p>
  • In search of an appropriate contemporary approach in Christian ethics: Max Weber’s ethic of responsibility as resource

    D. Etienne de Villiers (AOSIS, 2015-03-01)
    <p>The article addresses the question: ‘To what extent can Max Weber’s ethic of responsibility be a helpful resource in the search of Christian Social Ethics for an appropriate contemporary approach’? This question is addressed by, first of all, providing a summary of Weber’s famous speech <em>Politics as a Vocation</em> in which he developed his view on the ethic of responsibility; secondly, providing an interpretation of his view; and, thirdly, critically discussing the extent to which this ethic can serve as a resource for Christian Social Ethics in its search for an appropriate contemporary approach. The conclusion is that although some aspects of Weber’s view on the ethic of responsibility are unacceptable to Christian Social Ethics, the core of it is commendable. Some of the implications of incorporating an ethic of responsibility approach in Christian Social Ethics are also briefly discussed.</p>
  • Postsecular spirituality, engaged hermeneutics, and Charles Taylor’s notion of hypergoods

    Andries G. van Aarde (AOSIS, 2009-09-01)
    This essay sets out to argue that postsecular spirituality is about the quest for hypergoods within today’s mass populist- and consumerist-oriented world. It shows that people who consider themselves to be spiritual not only have many values in their lives, but rank some values higher than others, with some being ranked as being of supreme importance, the so-called hypergoods. Such ethics has an interpersonal character, and in Christian circles this reopens the issue of biblical hermeneutics, especially the phenomenon of conflicting interpretations. Against the background of the various options of being religious in the secular age, the essay focuses on Charles Taylor’s view of the discovery of spirituality in a posttheistic world and his emphasis on the love of God and the ethics of justice as hypergoods.

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