(How) Are we doing ecotheology in (South) Africa? Some hermeneutical reflections

Authored by: Ernst M. Conradie

The Routledge Handbook of African Theology

Print publication date:  June  2020
Online publication date:  May  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138092303
eBook ISBN: 9781315107561
Adobe ISBN:


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This essay addresses the question in the title of this contribution by focusing on each of the terms employed. It offers some hermeneutical reflections on the ways of doing ecotheology. It raises the counterintuitive question of whether what is done under the name of ecotheology could indeed be regarded as constructive contributions to address contemporary ecological concerns theologically. Is that commensurate to the gravity of the challenge? Is that theologically adequate in the sense that it helps us to discern what God is doing at this point in history, in this place? Or does ecotheology as it is studied and debated today masquerade for something else in the sense that it extrapolates positions adopted elsewhere (e.g., in confessional theologies but also in particular theological schools, including black, African, feminist, or liberation theologies) in what amounts to be a colonizing way to ensure the proper scope, viability, and sustainability of such discourses but does not actually address the gravity of ecological concerns theologically? This discussion is made relevant to the African and, more specifically, the South African context.

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