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Verbum et Ecclesia

versão On-line ISSN 2074-7705
versão impressa ISSN 1609-9982

Verbum Eccles. (Online) vol.33 no.2 Pretoria  2012 



Etienne de Villiers as etikus van verantwoordelikheid


Etienne de Villiers as ethicist of responsibility



Dirkie Smit

Department of Systematic Theology, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa





The paper considered six ways to describe Etienne de Villiers as ethicist of responsibility. They broadly corresponded with chronological phases in his academic career. The first was the way in which he initially took responsibility to teach theological ethics in a methodologically reflective way. The second was the way in which he increasingly found answers to these methodological concerns in responsibility ethics as an approach. The third was the way in which he spent much time analysing the work of responsibility ethicists. This critical engagement led to a fourth phase, still ongoing, developing his own approach. Against this background, the paper argued that he had always been an ethicist of responsibility in the fifth sense that he addressed urgent moral challenges. Developing this, a final section claims that he was an ethicist of responsibility according to Weber's description of science as vocation. The paper was read as key note presentation at the University of Pretoria on 09 November 2011, when D.E. (Etienne) de Villiers was honoured on the occasion of his retirement. On the specific request of the organisers, the speech was held in Afrikaans and the original oral form was retained here, including the personal rethorical style of the introduction and conclusion.



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Oberman, H., 1974, Contra vanam curiositatem, Theologischer Verlag, Zürich.         [ Links ]

Weber, M., 1917, Wissenschaft als Beruf, Duncker & Humblot, München.         [ Links ]

Weber, M., 1919, Politik als Beruf, Duncker & Humblot, München.         [ Links ]



Dirkie Smit
Private Bag X17
Matieland 7602
South Africa

Received: 23 Apr. 2012
Accepted: 18 July 2012
Published: 06 Dec. 2012

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