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Om die Skrif tot stilte te bring: Gewaarwordinge oor Afrikaanse Bybelse spiritualiteit

Show simple item record Lombaard, Christo 2013-01-18T05:43:52Z 2013-01-18T05:43:52Z 2012-11
dc.identifier.citation Lombaard, C. (2012) Om die Skrif tot stilte te bring: Gewaarwordinge oor Afrikaanse Bybelse spiritualiteit. In: Litnet Akademies 9(3) December 2012 pp 929- en
dc.description.abstract Spirituality may be understood as the way in which human beings internalise impulses of faith that reach them in various ways, and how they then give expression to these internalised faith impulses in order to communicate in some way the awareness they have come to hold as sacred. Although silence is a recurring theme in the tradition of spirituality writing, it plays no role as a topic in Afrikaans Bible scholarship. With the Bible as the primary source of “Afrikaans spirituality” (conceptualised here within the open parameters of a Weberian ideal type), and with taking action as its primary characteristic, silence is by no means a prominent element within this form of spirituality. These two aspects find their roots within the salvation by grace understanding of earlier Dutch Calvinism, which also led among Afrikaners to a strong missionary awareness, and within the pioneering “can do” mentality which is typical of Afrikaans culture. From these historical impulses quietism of any kind has no place as an expression of faith. This remains valid also for those who break away from traditional expressions of Afrikaans Calvinism: in their rebellion, many of the basic tenets of Afrikaans spirituality are retained. Yet, surprisingly, two largely unrecognised central moments do occur in which the lived Afrikaans Christian faith does relate foundationally to silence, and in this contribution these LitNet Akademies Jaargang 9(3), Desember 2012 930 are indicated and briefly described phenomenologically. Hiding, as it were in plain sight, these two moments occur in: (1) in the most popular Afrikaans hymn, “Silent night”, which touches deeply the existential roots of Afrikaans believers’ experience of their own individual and group piety, even for those who have lost any personal inclination towards faith in some melancholy way; and (2) a substantial part of religious devotions among Afrikaans Christians, a form of regular personal Bible study that has, apart from informational intentions, primarily personally transformational expectations, with these devotional exercises commonly referred to as “silent time”. In these two key moments of Afrikaans Christian spirituality the topic of silence thus comes to the fore, giving expression to a locally underlying yet broadly more recognised, current within the broad field of Christian spirituality on silence before God and/or with God as an important aspect of the expression of faith. However, four further occurrences of silence are indicated: negatively, (1) in ecclesiastical debate when often a call to a temporary moratorium on discussions is really intended to smother a controversial issue to silence; (2) related to sexuality discussions within church circles, where silence rules on issues related foundationally to human joy; and (3) with respect to a traditionally exclusive form of liberalism on religion within the public sphere in Western and Western-style democracies, which officially and artificially impose barriers of silence, yet which may now be replaced by a more inclusive form of liberalism, namely one in which matters of faith are regarded as a normal aspect of human life over which the state has no more powers than over any other aspects of human existence, simply by virtue of it being religious, thus rendering individuals with greater freedom in society; and positively (4) – as a first contribution on this matter – with silence as an existential experience among exegetes as they take seriously the dynamics of trying to understand that which seems impenetrable, and then in different ways succeed and fail. These different aspects related to silence, both positively and negatively, within Afrikaans Christian spirituality are bound together within the theoretical framework provided by the relatively new academic discipline of Biblical spirituality. This discipline seeks to bring together Holy Scripture and holiness experiences by (1) analysing, historically and exegetically, the faith impulses that led to the Bible texts’ being created and were then taken up in these ancient texts, and (2) analysing, more contemporarily contextually and phenomenologically, how later, including latter-day, readers of these texts respond to them in various constructions of faith and non-faith. Thus theological and social-scientific methodologies are combined in this discipline in a hermeneutical and interpretative exercise that requires much sensitivity and humility. This contribution was presented by the author on 1 March 2012 as only the third inaugural lecture within the new academic discipline of Biblical spirituality within South African universities, the first such lectures having been on nothingness, by C.E.T. Kourie (now retired), also at the University of South Africa, and on peace, by P.G.R. de Villiers at the University of the Free State, where he holds an extraordinary professorship in Biblical spirituality. en
dc.language.iso Afrikaans en
dc.subject Spirituality en
dc.subject Bible en
dc.subject Afrikaans en
dc.subject Silence en
dc.subject Exegesis en
dc.title Om die Skrif tot stilte te bring: Gewaarwordinge oor Afrikaanse Bybelse spiritualiteit en
dc.type Article en
dc.description.department Christian Spirituality, Church History and Missiology en

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