Scientific-theoretical research approach to practical theology in South Africa

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Peer-Reviewed Research

Abstract:

In this article, I present a critical literature study of the theoretical approach of practical theologians in South Africa to our discipline, in honour of Yolanda Dreyer on her 60th birthday. Some of my colleagues’ approaches at the universities of Stellenbosch, Free State, Pretoria, Unisa and NWU (Potchefstroom campus) are discussed. All of them work with practical theological hermeneutics. The basic hermeneutic approach of Daniël Louw is widened with an integrated approach by Richard R. Osmer in which practical theology as a hermeneutic discipline also includes the empirical aspect which the action theory approach has contributed to the discussion. After discussing Louw’s basic hermeneutic approach, all the other colleagues who basically accepted Osmer’s approach in their publications are discussed. Important and new ground is being broken by contemporary colleagues, including research in public practical theology, without neglecting the focus on Christian congregations, and new work is being done at the grass roots level of African issues in our country.