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Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae

On-line version ISSN 2412-4265
Print version ISSN 1017-0499

Studia Hist. Ecc. vol.35 n.2 Pretoria Oct. 2009

 

Oral history interviewing and its value in practical theological hermeneutics: An example from a study about a Pentecostal congregation

 

 

Andrew J Thomas

Department of Practical Theology, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa

 

 


ABSTRACT

Prior experience has been recognised as an important element of hermeneutics in both secular and theological studies. A problem for practical theologians who are investigating Pentecostal situations is the quality of the historical record that is available for analysis. This is an issue that is also relevant to this research and it was therefore decided to use the social scientific approach of oral history interviewing to provide a more detailed documentary record. The resulting interaction between contextual perception and the historical record revealed three central themes for further analysis: (1) autonomy, (2) authority and (3) the role of the Spirit. The lack of community was identified as a key issue in these areas, especially concerning participation. The importance of participation through ministry in the Spirit was identified as a possible means whereby an attractive community with a strong identity in Christ can be developed in the future.


 

 

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Works consulted

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Denis, P & Ntsimane, R (eds.) 2008. Oral history in a wounded country: interactive interviewing in South Africa. Scottsville: University of KwaZulu-Natal Press.         [ Links ]

Farley, E 2000. Interpreting situations: an inquiry into the nature of Practical Theology, in Woodward, J & Pattison, S (eds.), The Blackwell Reader in Pastoral and Practical Theology, 118-127. Oxford: Blackwell.         [ Links ]

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Interviews

Nick. Interview 1 with author, 28 January 2009.         [ Links ]

Ruth. Interview 2 with author, 20 April 2009.         [ Links ]

Mark and Sara. Interview 3 with author, 29 June 2009.         [ Links ]

Chris and Isla. Interview 4 with author, 30 June 2009.         [ Links ]

Edward. Interview 5 with author, 1 July 2009.         [ Links ]

Linda. Interview 6 with author, 10 July 2009.         [ Links ]

 

 

1 Co-researcher, research programme on "Religion, health and well-being in Southern Africa: practical theological perspectives", Department of Practical Theology, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa.

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