Original Research - Special Collection: Wentzel van Huyssteen

A celebratory turning alone to Wentzel van Huyssteen: An academic appreciation

Danie Veldsman
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 42, No 2 | a2309 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v42i2.2309 | © 2021 Danie Veldsman | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 29 May 2021 | Published: 30 July 2021

About the author(s)

Danie Veldsman, Department of Systematic and Historical Theology, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa


In appreciative celebration of Van Huyssteen’s contribution as international pattern-setter for the theology-science dialogue and especially on the nature of theological reflection and rationality, the article focuses specifically on the South African context and three contributions that Van Huyssteen made in engagement with Johan Heyns over a period of almost four decades. From his critical commentary on the Heyns/Jonker (1977) book publication Op weg met die Teologie through his Teologie as Kritiese Geloofsverantwoording (Van Huyssteen 1986) to his delivering of the Johan Heyns Memorial Lecture (2016), the two key theological-methodological issues that he consistently addressed were truth and progress. Van Huyssteen’s basic concern throughout his academic career was on why the theologian would try to speak publicly, and the ever accompanying question on who would care to hear his voice. In critical engagement from a South African context with Van Huyssteen’s answer to the question that he poses, it is argued that Van Huyssteen in his very sophisticated post-foundational approach, characterised by contextuality and transversality, ultimately does not methodologically take care of the constitutive interdisciplinary significance of affectivity of embodied persons in our publicly cognitive sensemaking of our respective lifeworlds, deeply characterised by pluriversality.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: The article explores and critically discusses the initial Critical-Realistic approach that later developed into a post-foundational approach by Wentzel van Huyssteen. The discussion is consciously restricted to his South African publications and covers the fields of the philosophy of science, systematic theology, philosophy and evolutionary theology within contemporary science-theology discourses.


Wentzel van Huyssteen; post-foundationalism; theology-science dialogue; transversality; contextuality; pluriversality; religious experience


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