Young theologians honoured with Desmond Tutu-Gerrit Brand Prize for debut work

Posted on April 14, 2016

A debut volume with contributions from a number of UP theology students, titled Jong teoloë praat saam, was crowned as winner of the 2016 Desmond Tutu-Gerrit Brand Prize for debut work in an official South African language.

In this book, published by Bybelkor, young theologians from the richly diverse Christian tradition discuss contemporary religious and life questions. Fifteen young theologians from the universities of Pretoria, the Free State and Stellenbosch share the fruit of their growth and development in the theology with the wider religious community.

Prof Cas Wepener, Head of the Department of Practical Theology in UP's Faculty of Theology, was co-editor with Annette Potgieter, who is currently busy with her PhD at the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin in Germany. Both editors are from UP.

The contributions are ordered into three theological volumes – sources, religious convictions, and practices – and gives the reader a bird's eye view of the 21st century's theological landscape. Nine of the contributions were made by UP theology students. In the first volume, Annette Potgieter made a contribution titled 'Eggo's van oorlog in Habakuk 2:4 – 'n Perspektief op lewe', while Lodewyk Sutton shared his knowledge with the contribution 'On the right hand of God – perspectives induced by Psalm 110:1 for a postmodern South African context'.

The second volume contains contributions from Peter Kotze, with a piece about missional ministry in the city centre, and Yolande Steenkamp, with a piece titled 'Of poetics and possibility: Richard Kearney's God-who-may-be'.

Suzanne van der Merwe's work about the pastoral dimension of the holy supper appears in the third volume, as well as that of Eliska Muller, titled 'Doopkategese in praktyk: 'n Studie in die Ring Van Barberton'. Daléne Flynn's contribution discusses the value of liturgical moments in sport, and Leonie Johnson's article ventures into an ecological lifestyle as testimony, while Liza Steenekamp wrote about the function of crying in pastoral care. Prof Johan Buitendag, Dean of UP's Faculty of Theology, wrote the book's preface.

According to Prof Wepener, who has published numerous books and thus can't be considered for a debut prize, this prize gives well deserved recognition to all the debutants. He says that the book's goal was to ensure a wider readership to all the fresh, new perspectives within the theology.

'Each year, our final-year students write dissertations, which are bound and placed on the library's shelves. Few of these are really read by anyone other than the two examiners. Often that work offers fantastic new insights that deserves to be heard. This book offered that platform. It also encourages the contributors to continue with the research and to write about it.'

The book will encourage further discussion, as it focuses on issues that currently stands central in ecclesiastic and public debates, in both local and international contexts. The prize that was awarded to this book, opens the door for similar books to be published in future. 

- Author Petronel Fourie

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