Original Research

Practical theology as life science: Fides Quaerens Vivendi and its connection to Hebrew thinking (Hālak)

Daniël J. Louw
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 51, No 1 | a2239 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v51i1.2239 | © 2017 Daniël J. Louw | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 23 January 2017 | Published: 28 July 2017

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Daniël J. Louw, Faculty of Theology, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa


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Abstract

The term practical theology is complex and, due to many different religious and cultural settings, a many layered concept. During the past 40 years the paradigm in theory formation for an academic and disciplinary approach to practical theology shifted from the clerical and ecclesial paradigm of ministerial actions to experiences of faith with the emphasis on an empirical based epistemology. Rather than a deductive approach, the shift is towards a more inductive approach within the methodological framework of phenomenology. Currently, in the international discourse on theory formation, there is a tendency towards a hermeneutical approach with the focus on the networking, relational dynamics of civil society Thus, the attempt to describe practical theology as a kind of ‘life science’ (the concern for the mundane and existential reality of everyday life – Alltagsreligion). Within the context of African spiritualties, with its emphasis on the communal dynamics of vital, human relationships, the focus on lifestyles becomes vital. In light of an ontology of life (l’energie spirituelle – Henri Bergson), the notion of fides quaerens vivendi [faith seeking lifestyles] is researched. With reference to the theory of complexification and chaosmos as well as the impact thereof on different theories in life sciences, the connection between sapientia and the vivid praxis of God is critically explored. The focus of this article is on the question: What is the impact of an ontology of life on both praxis thinking and theological reflection? Instead of the Cartesian framework of causative definitions, the notion of the ‘infinition of God’ is proposed within the praxis of Hebrew, wisdom thinking.

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