Author(s)Van der Merwe, Piet J.
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AbstractIn the second chapter, an overview of the development of the discipline of theology of
religions within the Roman Catholic tradition is presented. This section consists of a
translation of a section of the doctoral thesis of the late Prof. P.J. van der Merwe. In this
particular section selected from his dissertation, Van der Merwe discusses how Vatican II
contributed to the understanding of religion and human nature. It also paved the way for
determining a particular theology of religions still evident in Roman Catholic circles
today. In this chapter, the main documents contributing to the formulation of the
theology of religions, Nostra aetate and Lumen gentium are discussed. Van der Merwe
presents a thorough translation of these documents in his dissertation. Here only his
discussion of these documents is presented. Through analysing these documents, it
becomes apparent that the Roman Catholic theology of religions is grounded in an
understanding of the unity of humankind. This unity is based on, (1) unity as an empirical
fact, (2) unity as the result of God’s providence and (3) unity as a result of humankind’s
search for the truth. This analysis provides guidelines on how to think about the existence
of other religions and the relationship between these religions.
Science of Religion and Missiology
Van der Merwe, P.J., 2017, ‘Commentary on the documents Nostra aetate and Lumen gentium’, in ‘Perpectives on
theology of religions’, HTS Theological Studies/Teologiese Studies, suppl.12, 73(6), a4838. https://DOI.org/10.4102/hts.v73i6.4838.