In die Skriflig
On-line version ISSN 1018-6441
VAN DER WALT, Barend J.. H.G. Stoker (1899-1993) as Christian philosopher: historical legend and icon, or still a contemporary mentor? . In Skriflig (Online) [online]. 2013, vol.47, n.1, pp. 54-68. ISSN 1018-6441.
Tradition which includes a philosophical tradition, can only been kept alive when its story is told to younger generations. This is the motivation behind this introductory overview of the unique philosophy of the South African philosopher, Henk Stoker. In comparison with the two other founders of a reformational philosophy, Dirk H.Th. Vollenhoven (1892-1978) and especially Herman Dooyeweerd (1994-1977), Stoker's ideas are in South Africa, as well as abroad, less well-known among reformed people. The introductory part of this article, therefore, investigates the possible reasons for the relatively small impact of his thinking. The next section requires attention for the South African context in which his Christian philosophy was born. This is followed by a detailed discussion of the possible internal and external theological and philosophical influences of especially Herman Bavinck (1865-1921) and Max Scheler (1874-1928) on the emergence of Stoker's philosophy of the idea of creation. A few of Stoker's original contributions to a Christian philosophy are then highlighted. Next the debate between Stoker and Dooyeweerd and some of Dooyeweerd's followers is reviewed. Finally, in the light of these differences between two of the fathers of the triumvirate already at the origin of a Reformational philosophy, the misconception that this kind of philosophy is a static and closed system, should be corrected.