Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae]]> vol. 40 num. 1 lang. pt <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Editorial</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>Gandhi and his Christian friends: legacy of the South African years 1893-1914</b>]]> The year 2014 marks the centenary of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi's departure from South Africa and his return to India. This article explores the history and historiography of Gandhi's relationships with those he called "my Christian friends" during his years in South Africa (1893-1914). James Hunt's Gandhi and the British Religions., published in 1986, is the major work on this topic, but this article seeks to explore aspects downplayed by Hunt and to offer a new synthesis, rather than original research. The article examines the influence of Christian contacts from a range of denominations and traditions on Gandhi's religious and political development, notably with reference to his understanding that religion and political commitment are profoundly interconnected, and specifically with reference to his philosophy of satyagraha. The second part of the article reviews Gandhi's influence within the Christian churches, and the controversial political legacies surrounding his relationship with the first ANC President, John Langalibelele Dube, who was a Congregational Church minister. This part of the article will also debate the use of nonviolence as a political strategy by ANC President Albert Luthuli, a Methodist lay preacher whose Christian faith shaped his political beliefs. <![CDATA[<b>Religion and politics in the heritage of uNtsikana Ka Gaba and its relevance to a democratic South Africa</b>]]> Ntsikana, the son of Gaba (1780-1820), is remembered as a Xhosa prophet umphrofethi wakwa Xhosa who left an indelible mark on the Christian social history landscape of South Africa. Although he lived almost two centuries ago, he is still remembered as one who laid a firm foundation for an African form of Christianity. The article examines his work as a pioneer of an African form of theology, intellectual and prophet. The emphasis is on his radical form of Christianity, which did not fit the missionary's script, his decision to be critical of the Church and its subservient relationship with European culture and his attempt to acculturate Christianity to African culture. This is demonstrated by the fact that Ntsikana responded creatively and prophetically to the ambiguous role the church played in the liberation of the African people. His unprecedented theological understanding of God expressed through his famous hymn is analysed and appraised in the article. His ability to bring into dialogue religion and politics is examined, together with his critical exposition of African traditional religion. <![CDATA[<b>The suspension and resignation of Franz Pfanner, first abbot of Mariannhill</b>]]> This article focuses on an episode of the history of the Mariannhill monastery, by far the most successful Catholic missionary enterprise in the late 19,h and early 20* centuries, about which there has long been uncertainty: the suspension and resignation of Franz Pfanner, the founder of the monastery and its first abbot. His downfall was the direct consequence of a visitation conducted by the abbot of Oelenberg, Franciscus Strunk, between January and July 1892. To restore the observances which had been relaxed to enable mission work and to bring down the pride of an abbot who was accused of buying too much land and recruiting too many monks, the visitator asked him to submit to the authority of a Mission Council made up of influential members of the monastery. Convinced that this proposal was not practical, Pfanner continued to make decisions on his own, as prescribed, in fact, by the Benedictine Rule which the Trappists never ceased to follow. He was sanctioned for disregarding the visitator's orders. Suspended for a year, he offered his resignation a few months later, in January or February 1893, and this was accepted by the abbot general of the Trappist Order. For his remaining years he lived the life of an ordinary monk, in relative isolation, at Emaus, a remote mission station in the Drakensberg area. That was not an exile in the proper sense, but until his last day he suffered from a deep sense of injustice. <![CDATA[<b>A post-apartheid nation in chains?</b> <b>Relevance of Lucky Dube's <i>Mickey Mouse Freedom</i> in reconfiguring forms of oppression in South Africa today</b>]]> The year 2014 marks South Africa's twentieth year of democratic rule. Nevertheless, the legacy of colonialism and apartheid - in the form of socioeconomic injustice - continues to haunt the post-apartheid South Africa. In view of this injustice, particularly in terms of poverty and economic inequality, the claim that all black South Africans have been free since 1994 might be unfounded. As such, the main purpose of this article is to probe the conspicuous forms of oppression still present and, subsequently, to determine whether the country has indeed achieved freedom. Firstly, the contrasting stories of liberation since the transition to democracy are explored. Secondly, the tenor of liberation of Africans that is echoed in Lucky Dube's song, Mickey Mouse Freedom, is employed as a lens to inquire whether the post-apartheid South Africa is still in chains or is truly free. As part of such an inquiry, the chains and effectiveness of the Christian church's prophetic witness in the country are articulated. Finally, the author concludes that South Africa still needs to be liberated from certain forms of oppression. <![CDATA[<b>The evolution of South African Christian responses to Darwinism after the publication of <i>The descent of man</i></b>]]> The impact of Darwinian evolutionary theory has remained an underexplored topic in South African historiography, and the early reactions of South African churchmen to this new current in biological thought have been almost completely neglected. The present article extends the frontier of scholarly knowledge about specifically Christian responses during the decade immediately following the publication of Darwin's The descent of man in 1871. Focussing chiefly on Anglophone denominations, it examines a representative sample of Christian opinion to reveal a diversity of reactions, which in the main were sceptical or staunchly hostile but also included more reserved positions. The latter half of the article brings the issue to a climax by examining how William Porter, the erstwhile attorney-general of the Colony of the Cape of Good Hope who had returned to his native Ireland in 1873 but nevertheless served as the chancellor of the new University of the Cape of Good Hope, and DP. Faure, the founding minister of the Free Protestant Church in Cape Town, had entirely different attitudes towards Darwinism. The article concludes with suggestions for further extending research on the general topic. <![CDATA[<b><i>Petit bourgeoisie,</i></b><b> female piety and mystical Pietism on the South African frontier, 1760-1860</b>]]> In parallel with the Pietistic movement in Germany with its emphasis on mysticism, piety and spiritual devotion to Christ, feminine mystics in South African frontier communities reflected trends that were analogous to the flowering of mysticism in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. In addition to the influence of religious literature of German Pietism and devotional literature by Dutch Second Reformation authors, the marginalisation and isolation of feminine believers on the frontier cultivated pietistic tendencies similar to those in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Germany. It is suggested that lay feminine participation in pietistic spiritual culture forms a link, previously missing, between the Beguines, the Dominican penitent women, other women Pietists elsewhere in Europe and feminine mystics on the South African frontier. <![CDATA[<b>A community's struggle to recapture sacred tradition and reoccupy ancestral land: the case of the Barokologadi</b>]]> This article discusses the Barokologadi tribe in the Northwest Bushveld who split from the Bapedi Community and sought refuge among Bakgatla Ba Kgafela in 1700. They lived in the Lengwana (Ramatlabama) Village until 1870 when they settled at Mankgopi near Ramotswa in Botswana. On their departure from Mankgopi they settled at Melorane which is now the Madikwe Game Reserve. The Barokologadi tribe, who owned this land, was forcefully removed in 1950. Since they were living outside their historical space, they felt the disjuncture and the lack of space, time and linkage to their ancestral land. After the 1994 democratic election in South Africa they applied for land restitution which was granted to them. They have since started an annual pilgrimage to pacify their ancestors in Melorane. The article has drawn information from oral sources including interviews; literature and the use of own observation on the actual sites and experiences from the people who lived there. <![CDATA[<b>From "Blood River" to "Belhar": a bridge too far?</b>]]> 2013 saw the 175th commemoration of the Great Trek. The festivities reached a climax on 16 December when many Afrikaners celebrated the Vow in commemoration of victory of the Voortrekkers against the Zulus at Blood River. At the same time the Dutch Reformed Church to whom the majority of Afrikaners belong decided at its General Synod in 2011 to start a process to make the Confession of Belhar part of the confessional basis of the church. This was followed up with a proposal for a new Article 1 of the Church order which included the Confession of Belhar at the 2013 General Synod. While Blood River and the Vow forms part of the foundation on which Afrikaner nationalism, which led to apartheid, was built, the Confession of Belhar constitutes the struggle against the very policy of apartheid. This article asks the question of whether it is possible to make a mind shift away from Blood River and what it stands for to Belhar, to unity, to reconciliation and to justice. To answer this question, the change that took place in the Dutch Reformed Church Bloemfontein, better known as Tweetoringkerk, as well as the decision of the recent synod serve as two examples to show that for some members of the church it may indeed still be a bridge too far. <![CDATA[<b>Translating <i>Ngaka:</i> Robert Moffat rewriting an indigenous healer</b>]]> Ngaka (the indigenous doctor and healer among Tswana speaking people) represented the spiritual priest among the Batswana and hence a great challenge to missionaries of colonial times, whose agenda was to sell a different form of spirituality. That the modern colonial framework dismissed all other forms of spiritual knowledge(s), situated the ngaka and bongaka (the practice of ngaka) at the centre of the colonial missionary displeasure. This article traces and analyses Robert Moffat's rewriting of the concepts of ngaka and bongaka in his 1842 monumental volume. It analyses Moffat's encounter with the ngaka, his characterisation of the ngaka and his efforts to translate the ngaka from a central social welfare figure among the Batswana to a marginal, if not an outright evil, pretender. The article also traces the resistance Moffat encountered in this specific endeavour. It also examines how the Batswana began to translate Moffat and his books (the Bible) into their own spiritual categories by regarding him as ngaka and referring to his books (the Bible) as bola (the divination set). <![CDATA[<b>Zimbabwean theology and religious studies during the crisis years (2000-2008): a preliminary study</b>]]> One of the dominant accusations against theology and religious studies in Africa is that the discipline tends to be abstract. Critics charge that this discipline hardly addresses the lived realities of the people. Further, they assert that African theology and religious studies do not tackle the pressing issues of the continent; particularly the issue of (mis)govemance. This article, a preliminary analysis, focuses on the contribution of theology and religious studies in Zimbabwe in addressing the Zimbabwean crisis. It outlines the major themes that scholars have addressed. It proceeds to highlight some pertinent issues that must be addressed in order to ensure that theology and religious studies become more attuned to the pressing issues of the day. As research and publication in Zimbabwean theology and religious studies have expanded significantly since 2000, we have sought to highlight trends related to specific themes. A more detailed analysis of the field requires several studies. <![CDATA[<b>Extremist or an enculturationist?</b> <b>Retrieving Milkah Muthoni's (1948-2009) Afro-Pentecostalism</b>]]> Milkah Muthoni Waweru (1948-2009) played a key role in the changing theo-social landscape of central Kenya, particularly in mid 1960s, 70s and 80s, through her oral theologies which were well captured in her gospel music. In particular, her music, which is currently stored on radio cassettes and CDs, had made a huge contribution to the society. Her Afro-Pentecostal theology is also espoused in her co-founded church, the Refined Gospel Christian Church (RGCC). It deals with critical theological themes such as theodicy, ecumenism, sin, cross, holiness and healing, salvation, eschatology, and African Christian marriage. In the latter, she appears to favour polygamy whenever the need to address childlessness arises. This article also addresses the controversial birth of the RGCC; Milkah's use of figurative language; African idioms and proverbs without losing her gospel constituency. Was she an extremist in her theo-social discourses or an enculturationist? In a nutshell, the concern in this article is: How sound and relevant is Milkah Muthoni's Afro-Pentecostal theology? What were her key concerns? Did her "ministry" engage in encultu-ration theology, albeit unconsciously? The methodology in this article is derived from interviews conducted in 2010 by the researcher with people who were closely known to her, including her husband, Bishop John Wambu Waweru. This research was continued in October-November 2012 to clarify on some of the issues that came up after the first interviews. Extensive reading has also been done regarding some issues under discussion in order to address the various concerns. <![CDATA[<b>Indigenous agents and the school apostolate in</b> <b>Ụ</b><b>kw</b> <b>Ụ</b><b>ànìland, 1910-1941</b>]]> In the 19th century, colonial educational policy reflected the hesitant approach of Britain to a field recognised in those days as the reserve of religious bodies, and for many years, the missionary societies had the field of education to themselves. Education in Church Missionary Society (CMS.) mission schools in Nigeria received no grants-in-aid from the colonial government. This article is a historical reconstruction, which places the spotlight on the well-articulated contributions of local people in their attempt to establish and fund schools using indigenous initiatives, personnel and resources. Based on the self-propagating, self-supporting and self-governing policy of Henry Venn, the study reveals that although the establishment of schools in Ụkwụànìland (1910-1941) was originally the outcome of the expression of local needs, efforts and ideas, the Anglican Churches there saw in them an agency for promoting evangelism. This article, which makes a significant contribution in the area of the history of religion and education, recommends that local initiatives, needs and aspiration should be taken into consideration in the formulation of education policy in Nigeria in the 21st century. <![CDATA[<b>Health and health care in a Nigerian historical context</b>]]> This article undertakes an historical exploration of the three healing systems in Ibibio from a social and theological anthropological perspective on health and health care and draws implications for pastoral caregiving in the hospital. It advances as its main argument the idea that while people may adapt and develop certain forms of health and healthcare as influenced by globalisation and changes in their sociocultural, political and historical context, they will fight to maintain what they perceive as valuable in their culture and uniqueness regarding health and health care. <![CDATA[<b>A commemoration of the legacy of Rudolf Bultmann, born 130 years ago</b>]]> The article commemorates Rudolf Bultmann's legacy and the date of his birth 130 years ago. It demonstrates Bultmann's historical critical exegesis of the New Testament and his theological hermeneutics. The article explains Bultmann's use of the concept "kerygma" and the influence of existential philosophy on his hermeneutical programme of demythologi-sation and humankind's critical dialectical relatedness to creation. It also discusses Bultmann's understanding of the significance of the person and history of Jesus and God's otherness by means of the expression "mythological rest". From these fundamental perspectives as points of departure, the article focuses on three dimensions in his works, namely his Jesus book, his book about the history of early Christianity and his reconstruction of the plot of the Gospel of John. <![CDATA[<b>Exploring the landscape of historical theology through the Lens of Geomorphology</b>]]> The widening spectrum of scientific and theological reflection has encompassed much of the natural sciences as was evidenced in the August 2013 volume of Studia Historiae Eccle-siasticaethat celebrated the work of Professor Cornel du To it. But subjects like geomorphology are far removed from reflections on the human person and thus not a traditional point of departure for theological engagement. Nevertheless some key concepts in geomorphology such as the ideas of inter-connectedness, holism and scale perspectives have been tentatively explored by the author to locate human thought and actions towards and within the environment as an extension of the ethic to "love your neighbour". Within this initial attempt of exploration were the seeds for a much greater and deeper exploration of geomorphic logic to theology, applying geomor-phological concepts in the pursuit of theology and in the context of this article, to historical theology. The aim is to find traction between the two very different fields of geomorphology and theology. <![CDATA[<b>A critical evaluation of theological distinctives of Pentecostal theology</b>]]> What is it about churches with a Pentecostal background that justifies their existence apart from churches from the Catholic, Reformed or Eastern traditions? Is it possible to define a Pentecostal hermeneutic distinctive from the other theological traditions existing within the Christian church? And how would such a distinctive determine the practice of the daily lives of Pentecostals? The question about the possibility of a Pentecostal distinctive is answered in the affirmative and described in terms of the Pentecostal hermeneutic. The distinctive is described in terms of the movement's emphasis on conversion, sanctification, Spirit baptism, healing and other spiritual gifts, and eschatological expectation, and these elements are then illustrated with references to the practice in Pentecostal churches. In this way it is shown how Pentecostals exist theologically and practically along their kindred in other Christian traditions. <![CDATA[<b>A Black Calvinist perspective on the economy</b>]]> The article aims to engage with John Calvin's view on the economy with special reference to Geneva and its background. It will specifically look into the marriage between Calvinism and capitalism, the issue of usury, property and work according to Calvin. Lastly, the importance of Calvinism today in South Africa will be discussed. <![CDATA[<b>The Bulgarian Evangelical Society (1875-1958) and its contribution to the development of Protestantism in Bulgaria</b>]]> The Bulgarian Evangelical Society (BES) was the first organised initiative of Bulgarian Evangelical Christians to take part in evangelising the Bulgarian people. Founded in 1875, the BES survived several wars and internal problems, until it was dissolved by the Communist regime in 1958. Apart from printing and distributing literature and providing financial aid to preachers and pastors, one of its major activities was to support unity among Evangelical Christians. The annual meetings of the membership proved to be an important platform for its different ministries. As an interdenominational organisation that enjoyed the broad support of a major part of the Bulgarian Evangelical community, the Bulgarian Evangelical Society played an important role in the development of Protestantism in Bulgaria.