Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae]]> vol. 38 num. 1 lang. pt <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Do stories of people with disabilities matter? Exploration of a method to acknowledge the stories of people with disabilities as valuable oral sources in the writing of social history</b>]]> Oral history has been used as a valuable tool for the recording of the neglected history of the ordinary people. Since the 1980's, oral historians in South Africa have engaged recording the histories of the black people, the poor, the women, the children, migrant labourers and of the immigrants. What is glaringly absent from the recorded histories in the last thirty years are the voices of the people living with disabilities. This article attempts to propose a methodology on how oral history practitioners can go about recording the histories of people with disabilities. The article acknowledges the long history of cultural and religious discrimination, the lack of vocabulary and the education on how to understand the various disabilities and how best to record stories of people with disabilities in a non-prejudiced manner. <![CDATA[<b>Public issues perceived from the theological left flank: The social ethics of Ramsden Balmforth in the Union of South Africa</b>]]> For decades research into the history of Christian social ethics in South Africa has illuminated responses within a broad spectrum of major denominations to public issues, but has thus far shed considerably less light on how believers outside these denominations reacted to various questions. Unitarians are in the latter camp. Although few in number, they offered opinions and engaged in activities from a noteworthy intellectual perspective which was largely an extension of nineteenth- century developments in European theology, philosophy, and political thought amalgamated with a focus on the ethical teachings of Jesus. For forty years beginning in 1897 while he ministered to the Free Protestant Church in Cape Town, English-born Ramsden Balmforth commented prolifically on a variety of important issues and in some instances participated in movements to redress grievances voiced by disadvantaged groups within the ethnic amalgam of the Union of South Africa. The present study examines several of this Christian socialist's positions against the backdrop of his meta-ethical precepts. <![CDATA[<b>The role of Mission Councils in the Scottish Mission in South Africa: 1864 - 1923</b>]]> The role of Mission Councils in the growth and development of the Scottish Mission in South Africa is a confusing and vexing one. Whereas they were conceived and established as a means of facilitating mission, they often hindered this by drawing distinctions between agents of mission and delineating spheres of authority through exercises of power, even in opposition to expressed mission policy derived from Scotland. In essence, they were an integral part of the hegemonic missionary world-view, which frustrated progress towards the formation of the Bantu Presbyterian Church of South Africa in 1923. <![CDATA[<b>Domesticating suffering in North Africa: Augustine and the preaching of the Psalms on the feast days of the martyrs</b>]]> This article examines why Augustine cleansed his sermons on the Psalms on the feast days of the martyrs of graphic and vivid descriptions of suffering found in earlier martyr narratives, and looks at what replaced them. It is argued that Augustine "domesticates" suffering, and reconstructs the martyr narratives for a post-martyrdom Catholic Church, especially in response to dominant discourses active in the rival Donatist movement, which had effectively monopolised physical suffering. He does this via four discourses: a) The continuity of physical suffering from the early martyrs to the current Donatist martyrs present in the martyrologies assumes a claim on genealogy, which Augustine has to counter; b) There is a focus on the physical body of the martyr, with prurient and erotic detail in Donatist martyr stories, while Augustine proposes a new scopic economy, equally yet differently erotic, of "spiritual seeing"; c) The sacrifice of the martyr as atonement for sins stands out as a main point of difference between the Donatists and Augustine, and so Augustine develops one of the earliest psychotheologies of suicide; and d) Augustine provides a counter-discourse to a claim to mnemonic spatiality which provides the Donatists with healing and a sense of belonging and, most importantly, signifies a stance of purity over and against the Catholics. Finally, this article asks what the psychagogical effect of this domestication was on the everyday life of the Catholic Christians. <![CDATA[<b>Operating in a "site of struggle": Church structures, theological stance and the activist clergyperson</b>]]> The article proposes that one needs to understand the "action space" of an activist clergyperson in the constraints of his/her church's structures which often form a kind of "Ideological State Apparatus" that limits activism. A more democratic church structure does not necessarily make for greater action space; nor does a liberal theology necessarily translate into effective political praxis. The article concludes with the opinion that a lot more work needs to be done on these structural issues for a better understanding of the role of clergy as activists.