Theology and Inquiry

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Analytic theology as systematic theology

Analytic theology as systematic theology

As we have already noted, “theological theology” is a term coined by John Webster as a way of demarcating a particular approach to ST, one which is not merely concerned with theoretical matters, but with the life of the church. In his inaugural lecture as the Lady Margaret Professor in Oxford, Webster worries that the eponymous theological theology of his lecture’s title is not a practice fostered in the modern research university, which is interested in the development of the everyman educated in the human sciences or wissenschaften, a generic human enterprise, not bildung, the formation of individuals with particular habits of mind aimed at the true and the good.15 Theology has lost its way. It has bartered its substance away in transactions with other disciplines whose integrity is not so contested in the modern university, such as biblical studies, philosophy, and the social sciences. Instead, following Colin Gunton, Webster avers that theology should “contribute from Christian sources things that would otherwise not be said.”16 His is a vision of a Balkanized university in which different disciplines have their own modes of inquiry that may include practices that are tradition-specific. In the case of theology this means being oriented to the object of the discipline (God) who is the agent that gives us the material by means of which the subject-matter of the discipline is organized, namely, Holy Writ.
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A theology of daughterhood: the challenges of modern biology to theology today

A theology of daughterhood: the challenges of modern biology to theology today

Despite the biblical focus on male family relationships and women as mothers, there are some textual resources that can inform a theology of daughterhood and provide a foundation on which we can build. The lemma ‘daughter’ (Hebrew, Greek) is used 330 times in the Bible, including the Apocrypha, though four of these relate to a granddaughter relationship (daughter’s daughter, Lev 18:10, 17). There are also nineteen instances of the lemma ‘daughter-in-law’. ‘Daughter’ is often used to identify someone in terms of her relationship to her father (e.g. Gen 11:29; 25:20; 26:34) or mother (e.g. Gen 30:21; 36:39; 2 Sam 17:25) or as a person to be acted upon (e.g. Lev 19:29; Deut 18:10) especially in terms of being given in marriage (e.g. Josh 15:16; 1 Sam 18:19). There is also a formulaic use in Hebrew poetry: ‘daughter Zion’ (Ps 9:14; Isa 1:8; etc) or similar constructions (e.g. ‘daughter Babylon’, Ps 137:8; ‘daughter Gallim’, Isa 10:30; ‘daughter Sidon’, Isa 23:12; ‘daughter Judah’, Lam 2:5) which are not directly concerned with a daughter’s personal relationship with a parent. This leaves a few examples in which an adult woman has an active role with regards to a parent: Leah, Rachel, Achsah, Esther and Sarah. We might also include examples where the woman is a daughter-in-law: Tamar and Ruth. The relationship may be considered as identical to that with a natural parent, as in Tobit 10:12 where Sarah is entreated to ‘honour your father-in-law and your mother-in-law, since from now on they are as much your parents as those who gave you birth.’ It might also be possible to extend the role of ‘daughter’ to other biblical figures, such as Abishag’s relationship with King David (1 Kgs 1:3–4), but this would beg the question of how to define the role of daughterhood: Abishag’s role, for example, is described as ‘being of use’. At this preliminary stage, however, it would be prudent to restrict inquiry to those women whose roles are defined by family relationship.
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What is "theology" in "public theology" and what is "public" about "public theology"?

What is "theology" in "public theology" and what is "public" about "public theology"?

Berger’s (1967) insight that the dynamics of social realities is dialectically influenced by a “symbolic world”, referred to as the “sacred canopy”, was especially attractive to theologians at universities and seminaries. Peter Berger, born in 1929 in Vienna, is currently director of Boston University's Institute on Religion and World Affairs. The problem of the Euro-centric world, says Berger, is that it fails to distinguish between the two reigns. In order to describe the problem, he utilizes Jean Paul Sartre’s term “bad faith” (in French: le malheur de la conscience – the evil of the consciousness) (see Berger 1961:39-57; Van Aarde 2005b). Sartre called it “bad faith” because it would “misrepresent choice as destiny and thus deny the choices actually made” (in Berger 1970:78). Human choices are often construed as a “God- given calling or vocation” without acknowledging one’s own desires and self- interest, in which neither God nor the Other features. To expose religion that is nothing more than an acculturated orientation towards traditions, “all the traditions”, according to Peter Berger (1970:82), “must be confronted in search of whatever signals of transcendence may have been sedimented in them.” By criticizing “bad faith” in this way, a door is opened for authentic faith. For Berger (1970:82) it “means an approach grounded in empirical methods of inquiry (most importantly, of course, in the methods of modern historical
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Theology and higher education: The place of a Faculty of Theology at a South African university

Theology and higher education: The place of a Faculty of Theology at a South African university

A Faculty of Theology should reflect this awareness. In this sense the Faculty of Theology at the University of Pretoria has made huge inroads at addressing equal opportunities for and appointments of male and female staff. This process has however been driven institutionally and not from an academic conviction. Some reflection on this is still necessary. Interreligious engagement: Even with a name change to become the Faculty of Theology and Religion, the true interreligious engagement is still outstanding. Being aware of the other and even recognising their presence in social capacity does not act as substitute for active engagement. The conditions for interreligious engagement should clearly be set as to remain sensitive to church partners of the Faculty of Theology. Interreligious engagement is reciprocal dialogue without only seeking similarities. It also entails clearly indicating differences. Dialogue is not attempts at conversion nor syncretism. By understanding the other the self-identity is re-enforced. The Faculty of Theology can attempt through an evolutionary approach to gradually invite as dialogue partners representatives of different religions. Discussion of a communal topic can be part of the meeting.
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Annotation Process for the Dialog Act Classification of a Taglish E commerce Q&A Corpus

Annotation Process for the Dialog Act Classification of a Taglish E commerce Q&A Corpus

In addition, the tag Delivery method inquiry was renamed to Delivery inquiry as it was assumed for previous it- erations that delivery-related inquiries only ask about possible methods of delivery (e.g. meet-up, courier, pick-up). There were no tags for certain instances of delivery-related inquiries such as asking for the estimated time of delivery, delivery fee, and about specific couriers in the tagset. Instead of adding new tags for each scenario, the tag Delivery method inquiry was made into a general tag that encapsulated all delivery-related inquiries.

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Swart Teologie en Suid Afrika se kairós

Swart Teologie en Suid Afrika se kairós

tiese Teologie mettertyd as benaming gaan oomeem, weet ek nie en dit sal nog gesien moet word. Dat dit 'n meer aanvaarbare terminologie is wat 'n beter kans staan om ook politieke revolusies te oorleef, is seker waar. Interessant is die begrip 'kontekstualiteit' in die benaming van die instansie wat die Kairos-teoloë verteenwoordig en wat miskien die kem van hulle teologiese oortuiging uitmaak: Institute for Contextual Theology. Wat verder waar is, is dat die dokument, veral in sy konsep- hersiening (wat ek eers einde Augustus 1986 te siene gekiy het), minder 'Swart-Teologies' is as die aanvanklike teologiese uitinge. Trouens, dit wil my voorkom asof die tweede uitgawe van die Kairos Dokument betekenisvolle aanpassings in die rigting van versigtiger formulerings gemaak het, 'n gemis wat waarskynlik talle mense weer- hou het van 'n aanvanklike onderskrywing van die dokument. O p die oomblik stel die welslae van die Kairos Dokument binne- en buite- lands egter beslis die Swart Teologie in die skadu.
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The theology and praxis of practical theology in the context of the Faculty of Theology

The theology and praxis of practical theology in the context of the Faculty of Theology

As practical theologians, we are deeply concerned that students’ theological convictions should create a theology in praxis. Pieterse (2001:9) shares this sentiment as he believes practical theology to be a study of Christian actions. This helps to establish an understanding that practical theology cannot be separated from its praxis, which, in turn, cannot be separated from students’ own theological convictions. It is traditionally acknowledged that William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, defined evangelism as ‘one beggar, telling another beggar where to find bread’. From the above definition one could be forgiven for seeking an understanding of practical theology. In the same context, Campbell (1987:188) is helpful with his understanding that practical theology is concerned for the well-being of people in communities. Hence, practical theology could not be a one-sided theology, where one party becomes the giver and the other the receiver. Through practical theology, we, as giver and receiver, researcher and researched, student and teacher, become companions on the road to getting to know God better and this could only be achieved in a practical way. Patton (1993:238) wrote that practical theology involves a ‘two-way movement between theory and practice’. From this context, it becomes evident that Patton, as well as Browning (1985:16), sees practical theology mainly as a ‘practical theology of care’. Not only is this theology practical in its care, we want to urge that this theology should also find its praxis in the area of the public domain. Browning (1985) also dwells on this when he states that the practical theologian should communicate to the church, but also to those outside of the church:
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Black theology in South Africa – A theology of human dignity and black identity

Black theology in South Africa – A theology of human dignity and black identity

One of the most enduring legacies of South African black theology is its hermeneutics (cf Maluleke 2000:31). A prerequisite for a black theology is a contextual reading of the scriptures. A return to the most traditional meaning of hermeneutics in which the most basic reading and interpretation of a message is that the human beings’ search for identity and significance is needed. The Exodus for the people of Israel was an identity-forming narrative and not primarily a liberation narrative. The Israelites had been stripped of their identity and so they had been disconnected from their Jewish roots. The Exodus is a central biblical narrative in the history of Israel. Israel’s identity as a nation was bound up with Yahweh, who was the God of the Hebrews. Yahweh introduces himself to Moses as ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob’ (Ex 3: 6) and identifies himself with them as an oppressed people. ‘In the exodus, not only does God reveal himself in the midst of Israel’s slavery, his revelation (as the “I am”) also discloses a new history of future for Israel’ (Katongole 2011:111). It was in Israel’s discovery of who God was, the ‘I am’, that they learned who they were and discovered their identity as the people of God. The liberation of Israel was secondary; their rediscovery of their identity was primary. The redemption of Israel was an identity- forming act by God. God is portrayed as the God who hears the cries of his oppressed people: ‘And now behold, the cry of the people of Israel has come to me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppressed them’ (Ex 3: 9). God reveals himself as the God of Israel for the sake of the nations. He does not take the side of the oppressed, Israel against the oppressors, Egypt: ‘The God who chose Israel out of the nations remained always the God of all the nations’ (Niles 1962:250). Niles continues:
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White theology in dialogue with Black Theology: Exploring the contribution of Klippies Kritzinger

White theology in dialogue with Black Theology: Exploring the contribution of Klippies Kritzinger

A third way in which Kritzinger develops his theological response to whiteness is around the notion of re- evangelisation. Black Theology called for a re-evangelisation of black people, calling black people into self-acceptance, accepting themselves as created in the image of God (humanisation) and committing themselves to the struggle for justice (Kritzinger 1988:172–197). Here we notice Black Theology as having a deeply pastoral concern (pp. 173, 197). Similarly, the white church needs to be re-evangelised, implying ‘that something went seriously wrong in the evangelisation of the white community until now’ (Kritzinger 1991:107) and working towards ‘awakening the white church to become an agent of liberating and constructive change’ (p. 116). Amongst other things, Kritzinger suggests that this shift will concretely call for changes in white suburban life, particularly white people’s relationship with domestic workers (p. 109), and that white theologians and preachers should start to hold up the contributions of black people as ‘permanent living symbols of faith’ to the white church (p. 111).
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Follow the money? Value theory and social inquiry

Follow the money? Value theory and social inquiry

Whilst there is a clear chronological development that leads from the workers’ to the social inquiry, there is no simple fixed point at which the ‘factory went social’ and the inquiry adequate to it became social in turn. Even in the new kinds of work to which the moniker ‘immaterial’ has attached itself, fairly traditional techniques of inquiry remain. A notable example is that of Kolinko’s call centre inquiry (2002). Despite the stated recognition that ‘[w]e cannot only focus on call centres because these - like any sector - can only be understood by looking at capitalist cooperation’, in Hotlines, the isolated workplace is the singular focus of the inquiry. Rather than the inquiry building into a wider conceptualisation of the position of call centres in the circuit of capital, the external context in which call centre work is situated is largely considered only as preliminary preparation for the real business of the research itself. In spite of paying lip-service to a theorisation of the broken boundaries between the formal realm of production and the valorising forces found in society outside the workplace (ibid., n.4: 193), Kolinko’s inquiry stays squarely within a traditionally workerist paradigm.
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pragmatism and the community of inquiry

pragmatism and the community of inquiry

The influence of pragmatism—and of Dewey in particular—upon Lipman’s conception of the classroom Community of Inquiry is pervasive. The notion of the Community of Inquiry is directly attributable to Peirce, while Dewey maintained that inquiry should form the backbone of education in a democratic society, conceived of as an inquiring community. I explore the ways in which pragmatic conceptions of truth and meaning are embedded in the Community of Inquiry, as well as looking at its Deweyan moral and social commitments. I show that Peirce’s and Dewey’s notions of truth are in perfect alignment with the philosophical Community of Inquiry, as is Dewey’s tie between meaning and ideas that bring our inquiries to a satisfactory conclusion. The Deweyan notion that moral values are justified by their utility in solving problems in social life is also to be found in the Community of Inquiry, as arguably is his view that moral values are to be regarded as working values that face the tribunal of experience in much the same way as hypotheses in science. Again, the focus in the classroom on open inquiry into issues and problems, the active participation of the students in building upon one another’s ideas, the sense of shared responsibility, and the growth and development of the intellectual and social powers of the individual, all mirror Dewey’s pragmatic conception of democracy. Given this allegiance, it may be argued that the Community of Inquiry faces a pragmatic problem of its own. While it aims to be a philosophically open encounter with all kinds of issues and ideas, pragmatic conceptions are so constitutive of it that they may skew the pitch philosophically. I also address this issue.
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Making Theology Accessible: Empowering Christians to do their own Theology

Making Theology Accessible: Empowering Christians to do their own Theology

Thomas Groome‘s notion of a ‗Shared Christian Praxis‘ offers a helpful model for churches and colleges wanting discussion, journeying, thought and faith to coalesce. He outlines a series of components that lead towards ‗Christian education by shared praxis. They are; 1) present action, 2) critical reflection, 3) dialogue, 4) the Story, and 5) the Vision that arises from the Story‘. 115 For the purposes of Making Theology Accessible, Groome‘s model allows for the possibility of shared journey and discovery in the following ways. Firstly, we consider what we are doing as Christians, ‗putting on the table‘ how we operate and what our faith community is on about. We then consider why we are doing what we do, asking whether our actions are Christian absolutes or whether we may consider alternative ways of being. This brings in the critical component of dialogue, where we ‗tell and listen‘ of our concerns, our hopes and our thoughts in a given situation. With dialogue comes the important conversation partner of ‗the Story‘, our memory and record of the way God has acted and revealed Godself in the past, through scripture and encounter with God‘s people. Drawing these elements together, we then consider the Vision. We imagine and envision how we may act into the future, as a consequence of our reflection and conversation together.
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What is the significance of poetry for theology today?

What is the significance of poetry for theology today?

re-state dogma. The poetry makes them memorable. In churches today there is much debate about the function of liturgy: is it to instruct the congregation, to enable them to express religious emotion, to produce an uplifting performance, to enable corporate prayer, or is it aimed directly towards God and the congregation is unimportant? Probably most liturgists would answer that all of the above have a part to play and that liturgy should try to fulfil all these aims. This is a tall order, and liturgies being written today, whether set liturgies or services being devised by a minister for a particular occasion, tend to overbalance either towards wordy theology or over-poetic expression – sometimes both within the same service. The best solution is probably clarity and poetic simplicity; this may need a talented poet to achieve it. As a lifelong Anglican, I still consider that some of Cranmer’s work in the Book of Common Prayer is possibly the best liturgy written in English; but the English of four hundred years ago will not do for today. Poets are needed for the writing of modern worship.
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Political Theology Versus Public Theology:  Reclaiming the Heart of Christian Mission

Political Theology Versus Public Theology: Reclaiming the Heart of Christian Mission

Furthermore, this allows for the technoeconomy to be influenced by a few who benefit at the cost of the majority, as seems to be the case with the growing gap between rich and poor in North America. If the Christian acts within the technoeconomy, then he or she can help shape and determine policy decisions based on other influencing factors, namely the teachings of Jesus Christ. Policy decisions, therefore, can be determined not by instru- mental reason or the instrumental value citizens may play in the technoeconomy but rather by all citizens, indeed all peoples, as having intrinsic value as created beings in the image and likeness of God. Granted this is only one aspect of the Public of Society that Tracy describes but we can already see the need for Public Theology to o ff set instrumental ethics. The second aspect of the Public of Society that Tracy proposes is the realm of the polity. This realm is also governed by practical reason and it is the place in which all citizens meet, civic discourse and a genuinely public philosophy are discussed, and the good of all citizens is sought. Public policy is discussed in a myriad of ways, whether based upon “teleological, deontological, axiological or responsibility models for ethical reasoning, or upon some mixed theory.” 10 The purpose of this realm is concerned primarily
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The shape of Torrance theology

The shape of Torrance theology

the actual relations and reality that constitute him as the Logos of God. Torrance’s kinetic theology, therefore, is Christological in nature, and includes (1) what he called the homoousial relationship between Christ and the Father that he developed in the face of the cosmological dualism he insisted is inherent in Western thought; (2) the relationship between the incarnation and the atonement; and (3) the significance, following Athanasius, of the two-fold ministry of Jesus Christ in which he ministered the things of God to humankind and the things of humankind to God. Reflection on these three aspects of Torrance theology will illustrate the kinetic nature of his thinking.
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Theology and Christian discipleship

Theology and Christian discipleship

Could it be that we confuse the question ‘what is god?’ with the question ‘how many gods are there?’ To the latter question the answer must be 0 [zero] – the reply of the atheist; 1 – the official answer of Jews, Christians, Moslems, and many other religions; or 1+ - the answer of many religions but also many individuals such as the person who referred to ‘the Man Upstairs’ who thinks of God as the super-boss and one of a class of bosses. By contrast, ‘what is God?’ is an attempt to put words on mystery. It is a mystery that is glimpsed here and there for a moment, felt intensely and then felt as absent, a vision which is more akin to poetry than to prose, a sense rather than a cold-blooded deduction from evidence. ‘What is God?’ is a question that is the pursuit of a lifetime and while we may pray and worship and work, we must always resist the falsehood of thinking we have an answer. If you think you have captured God in a sentence or a single idea or ‘have it worked out’ then that is your projection, your idol, rather than the Reality which is beyond the universe but which beckons us. It takes a lot of training in theology to appreciate this fundamental maxim: Deus semper maior – ‘whatever G-O-D is, is always greater than what we think God is.’
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Reformed theology in Scotland

Reformed theology in Scotland

essential principles of such a polity were already in place in Calvin’s Geneva. Here presbyters and bishops were seen as one and the same; and here, too, it was laid down that churches must be governed not by one individual, but by a plurality of such presbyters. There had to be a presbyterion: a college or council of presbyters, which, as Calvin laid down in his Institutio, ‘was in the church what a council is in a city.’ From this derived the Scottish presbytery, the Genevan consistory and the Dutch classis. The geographical area covered by such a council was a matter of administration, not theology. It could be a local kirk session, overseeing one congregation, or a general kirk session, covering all the congregations in one city. In the early days of the Reformed Kirk in Scotland government was by such kirk sessions, synods and what were originally known as conventions of the Universal Kirk, but later came to be known as the General Assembly. The oversight afterwards exercised by presbyteries was originally delegated to the Superintendents. Only in 1581, three years after the publication of the Second Book of Discipline, did the Assembly begin to erect presbyteries, and more than a century would pass before what W. M. Campbell called The Triumph of Presbyterianism (1958). The so-called Golden Act of 1592 formally recognised and established Presbyterian government, and by the following year presbyteries were in place throughout Scotland, but James VI and Charles I remained determined to replace them with bishops, and only in 1638, when the whole of Scotland united under the National Covenant, did the Kirk come under effective Presbyterian government. Even then, the triumph was short-lived. Oliver Cromwell, who governed Scotland as part of a united Commonwealth from 1651, was no friend of Presbyterianism and banned all meetings of the General Assembly, which never met between 1649 and 1690. Under his murderous successors, Charles II and James VII, Presbyterianism was on the rack, and a full-blown episcopacy ruled the Kirk. Only with the Revolution Settlement of 1690 was Presbyterianism finally secure. It had taken one hundred and forty years to consolidate in Scotland the polity which Knox had witnessed in Geneva.
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Serious games in theology

Serious games in theology

Before discussing the implementation of serious games in theology, a few definitions are given to introduce the concepts being used in this essay. Firstly, the two concepts are ‘paper behind the glass’ and ‘online course’: when a course or module is just ‘dumped’ as is on the Internet, that is not a real online course, but rather ‘paper behind the glass’ (Ncube, Dube & Ngulube 2014:360). Sometimes, it serves a purpose to electronically supply a full course to students, especially in the current educational era that should already be ‘paperless’ (defined below). It is also most useful for subjects that really need much explication and explanation, like the three biblical languages, Greek, Hebrew and Latin. A ‘real online course’ is much different: the student is online supplied with a table of contents and just enough information to get started and to look up the rest of the information on the Internet (cf. Caplan & Graham 2004:178). The course is not only a summary of the study guide, but also is developed from scratch, where the content is not set but open (Davis 2004:98). When directing a student to the Internet, the educator should give them solid guidelines in order for them to be well informed on how to critically distinguish between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ information or sites, and between sites that can act as sources for academic information and ‘casual sites’ that just supply opinions or loose information. This will empower the students to start with research soon in their academic career and will optimistically act as motivation for them to become lifelong learners. 1
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An assessment of the Theology of Religions

An assessment of the Theology of Religions

Comparative theologians agree on seven points. Firstly, the three traditional approaches make Christians immune against the power of other religions, because they were fixed on the salvation of non-believers but cared very little about the religions themselves. The dialogue between religions must become the centre of the situation as it reflects the situation of the religious world of modern society (D’Costa 2009:37). Secondly, dialogue comes before theology of religions as it is a practice and not a theory. We must learn about and from other religions before forming theories about them (D’Costa 2009:37–38). Thirdly, with the comparative approach the specific religion becomes the focus in dialogue, which means the comparativists would become specialists in religions (D’Costa 2009:38). Fourthly, the theories of the theology of religions, according to the traditional paradigms, must now be rethought to make way for ‘comparative theology of religion’. Comparativists realise that you can no longer speak generally about religion, but religions become known through close engagement with texts and practices of other religion ‘[t]his in part is a cultural-linguistic point that meanings are generated through the practice of texts and cannot be divorced from the cultural-linguistic world within which they are given’ (D’Costa 2009:38). One of the new directions of theology of religions is material religion. It includes all material elements of religion such as books, rituals, symbols, et cetera. D’Costa only refers to literature. Fifthly, comparative religion sought to understand the differences and similarities, without being transformed or influenced themselves. Comparative theology expects a transformation in the light of their exposure to the other. For a few people this approach to dialogue will lead to multiple identities, with a person embracing elements of other religions. However, multiple identities are not the goal of comparative theology (D’Costa 2009:38). Sixthly , Fredericks is critical of pluralists who mythologise Christ as a prerequisite for dialogue, because it is the differences and loyalties to the different religions which make dialogue engaging ‘[a]ll the comparatists want to uphold strong doctrinal claims and represent Christianity in its orthodox form’ (D’Costa 2009:39). Lastly, ‘comparative theology is a call for multiple theologies in engagement, not a singular theology of religions’ (D’Costa 2009:39).
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Mythology, poetry and theology

Mythology, poetry and theology

Mythology, poetry and theology Alphonso Groenewald Department of Old Testament Studies University of Pretoria Der Mensch lebt nicht mehr in einem bloß physikalischen, sondern in einem symbolischen Uni[.]

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