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Nico T. Bakker

These days no one believes in the redemptive essence of history (Lyotard). The individual of today lives without culture, history, social engagement and moral norms (Lasch). It is in this intellectual climate that History as a Theological Issue has been written.

Nico Bakker analyses seminal conceptions of history from the past and from our day, and compares them with the newest notions of history in biblical and systematic theology. In so doing he engages in conversation with thinkers from Augustine to Popper, along with many others. His thinking is informed in particular by the work of Barth, Pannenberg, and the Dutch reformed theologians Miskotte and Breukelman.

Of central significance is his ability to apply basic theological notions to culture. In this way he connects the present-day crisis of culture with the permanent alienation of church and Christianity from its own origins in the scriptures. Now that since the 1950s a new awareness structure is beginning to emerge (Gebser), the author considers that theology is in need of a radical rethink.

History as a Theological Issue is written primarily for theologians, historians, biblical critics and philosophers of religion and is recommended reading for all who are seriously interested in the present-day crisis of culture and in the widespread alienation from the Bible, Church and Christianity.

Gerard van ’t Spijker

Gerard van 't Spijker

Abstract

In view of the actual debate on funeral rites in Christian Churches in Africa, a revision of the old position of missionaries that forbade all traditional ritual concerning death as belonging to paganism should be undertaken on the basis of social anthropological research which analyses structure and function of the funeral practices. Thus the mourning rites are understood as means of purification and reconciliation of the bereaved extended family. Parallels between African rituals and those of Israel of the Old Testament may also be taken into account. The efforts towards contextualisation of the Christian message in days of mourning by the ancient Ethiopian Church and by churches in Zimbabwe of today may serve as guidelines for developing rituals marking the end of mourning focused on reconciliation and the victory of life over death.