Prof Johan Buitendag, former Dean of the Faculty of Theology and Religion at the University of Pretoria, recently received the CLF-Elise Tempelhoff Award from the Andrew Murray Prize Fund for his significant contribution in the field of theology and ecology. As outlined in the citation from the Fund itself, Prof Buitendag did “pioneering work when he became the first South African to write a doctoral thesis on theology and ecology. He is the author or co-author of 38 articles on creation and ecology in recognized scientific journals and has written 10 chapters in internationally recognized books about ecology. Buitendag makes a significant contribution to a comprehensive theological approach to ecology that can also be described as "a hermeneutic of ecological accountability to the Creator and creation".
In his response to this great honour, Prof Buitendag reminds us that, “the press report on my award pertinently refers to my 1985 dissertation and the work I have since done in the theology and ecology field. It, therefore, takes a period of almost 40 years that I grappled with this particular theme – in effect, it is my entire academic career. Coincidentally, I'm also turning 70 years old this year. We all are aware of the rich significance of this figure. I would also like to regard this award as the crowning achievement of my academic career tonight. I'm so grateful to those who imagined and motivated my work.”
Many of those years of service to the academy and to society were spent at the University of Pretoria, where Prof Buitendag contributed both in a lecturing and research capacity, until he was invited to lead the Faculty of Theology and Religion as its dean. He distinguished himself in this position by pioneering its status as one of the premier faculties in the field globally, and the most respected of its kind in Africa. So, the Faculty would like to add our hearty congratulations to Prof Buitendag for this significant achievement. It is an honour well-deserved, and has been joyfully celebrated by his friends, peers and former colleagues alike.
Read Prof Buitendag's acceptance speech here.