On-line version ISSN 2412-4265
Print version ISSN 1017-0499
Studia Hist. Ecc. vol.39 n.2 Pretoria Feb. 2013
This is the third and final issue of Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae (SHE) for 2013. Because it will be available early in 2014 it already introduces the 40th year of the existence of Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae, making it one of the oldest and most established theological journals in South Africa. The first issue of SHE was published in 1974, and during 2014 the supplement to SHE will celebrate its own history and the impact SHE has made on the academic world both nationally and internationally. The year 2014 also celebrates 20 years of democracy in South Africa that was obtained in 1994. The envisaged supplement aims at honouring both these historical highlights.
You are therefore invited to submit manuscripts for possible publiccation in the supplement of Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae. The supplement is fully accredited.
The contents of the submission must focus on an aspect of the history of Christianity in sub-Saharan Africa over the past 40 years. Preference will be given to articles that highlight the contribution of SHE itself to representing the history of Christianity in sub-Saharan Africa, and to articles that review the influence of Christianity on the social and political processes in South Africa 20 years before and during the 20 years after 1994. The submission date is 30 April 2014.
Appropriately, however, we have to review the performance of SHE during 2013. During the past year three issues of SHE were published. It contained a total of 58 articles, all of them of course being doubly peer-reviewed. A word of thanks goes to those who diligently and with great loyalty made time to submit reviews that were fair and thorough.
The authors of the articles represent both black and white academics in equal numbers. Because the supplement was dedicated as a Festschrift to Professor Cornel du Toit from the University of South Africa, many authors were invited into the field of Church History who have not contributed to SHE before. This expanded the profile of the authorship of SHE as a journal seeking interdisciplinary cooperation. To be mentioned here, too, is that this is the third time the past 5 years that a supplementary issue of SHE has been dedicated as a Festschrift to an academic of historical significance within the local theological scene. In 2008 Prof Simon Maimela, retired from the University of South Africa, was honoured for his contribution to Black Theology in South Africa and abroad. In 2010 Prof Philippe Denis from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, on his 60th birthday, was recognised for his novel work in the field of oral history research in South Africa.
To continue the profile of the authors who contributed to SHE during 2013, it has however to be noted that, as usual, a vast majority of authors were male, and only 7 articles were written by women, who were Indian, Black, Coloured or White. Church History, indeed, needs to attract the attention and scholarship of many more women academics.
An analysis of the themes presented in the articles published in SHE during 2013 makes interesting reading. Because of the Festschrift of Du Toit, the history of thought on the relationship between Science and Religion was a prominent theme. A smaller, less pronounced but important theme was represented by articles describing periods of history in the lives of missionaries, missionary societies, churches and church movements. A few articles focused on figures of historical importance that fall outside the sub-Saharan church historical scene, such as Chrysostom, Dante and, of course, Calvin.
The two major themes that surfaced were those of resistance and response. Firstly, then, a majority of articles describe and analyse the resistance of faith-based organisations (FBOs) which is a more acceptable academic term to be used here, one that includes churches against injustices such as apartheid and patriarchy, both in the church and in academia. Resistance, too, against HIV and AIDS by FBOs is described, as well as the resistance of people of faith to be missionalised.
A second prominent theme was the responses of FBOs to situations of societal and political violence, corruption and the exploitation of the vulnerable. The FBOs responded to their contexts by means of confessions and open letters, and a significant number of articles focused on the analysis of these documents. They include the Confession of Accra, the Confession of Belhar, and the Kairos Southern Africa. Also, valuable analyses of the Land Act of 1913, which remember a century of pain and dispossession, were published.
These themes point to the relevance of Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae and to its impact on international and national bodies of societal knowledge. Assaf, the Academy of Science of South Africa, then, also published a report of all theological journals in South Africa in which SHE is commended for its professional contents and presentation and in which its ongoing accreditation is recommended.
Finally, then, it can be mentioned that the year 2013 saw the publication of the first issue of the Oral History Journal of South Africa. Although it is not a theological journal per se, members of the Church History Society of Southern Africa may be interested in publishing in this journal, which is not accredited yet but needs to publish good academic articles to move towards accreditation in a year's time. Manuscripts, using the Harvard method of reference, and containing between 5000 and 7000 words, can be sent to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A word of thanks, then, to all who contributed to SHE during 2013, either as authors or reviewers and as book reviewers. May the year 2014 be an academically prosperous year for us all.