Formalised curiosity at the Faculty of Theology
“Research is formalised curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose,” said the American novelist Zora Neale Hurston. It is a sentiment that rings as true today as it did all those many decades ago. It is also a maxim that the Faculty of Theology at the North-West University (NWU) has embraced with a fervour.
The does not merely extol the virtues of the Faith, it continuously strives to promote a greater understanding thereof.
To aid in this purpose the faculty can rely on a research unit and a research focus area. The Unit for Reformational Theology and the Development of the SA Society (URT) is a research unit like no other. The unit has seven focus areas namely Bibliological Perspectives, Ecclesiological Perspectives, Ecumenical Perspectives, Missiological Perspectives, Moral Development of the Society, Practical-Theological Perspective as well as Public Practical Theology and Civil Society.
The unit is also recognised as the most productive research entity at the NWU in its strive to make a a theological-scientific contribution to important debates in South Africa. In particular the unit concerns itself with debates that relate to the normative function of canonical Scripture and the contribution that Christian communities, through the Christian Church, make toward the development of our society in the international context.
The unit’s research does not focus only on the Bible in its original contexts, it also offers hermeneutical lenses for how the reception of these texts in contemporary situation can open up surprising and truthful insights into the origin of life, renewal of like and purpose of life. It is research that has relevance for modern society and its dynamics of change and renewal.
Since 2016 the unit published seven books that address societal issues. It served as a unique opportunity to reflect on the role of faith communities within society and to become aware of burning issues like inter alia corruption, childhood in Africa and togetherness in South Africa. Aspects like racism, gender, student protests, human rights and hate speech were also addressed.