Original Research

In what sense can a Christological image of the Divine provide cultural orientations?

Michael Welker
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 46, No 1 | a54 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v46i1.54 | © 2012 Michael Welker | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 July 2012 | Published: 08 November 2012

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Michael Welker, Faculty of Theology, University of Heidelberg, Germany


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Abstract

A few years ago, some colleagues from the universities of Heidelberg, Chicago, Harvard and Yale tried to launch a research project which was meant to explore fruitful commonalities and differences amongst the Jewish, Christian and Islamic faith traditions. Over against conventional doctrinal and comparative religious explorations, it intended to explore the impacts which basic contents and forms of faith have on societies and cultures. This approach was also chosen to relate different traditions of research to each other – one more dominant in the European and the other in the Anglo-American world, namely that of the history of ideas (Geistesgeschichte) and the other based on cultural and social studies. As a title of these investigations, the majority of the group voted for Images of the Divine and cultural orientations. At that time, however, we did not discuss the standards and qualities we wanted to connect with the vision of cultural orientations. Nor did we deal with what one could call ‘the iconic problem’ in religious contexts.

Tot watter mate kan ’n Christologiese beeld van God kulturele oriënterings voorskryf? ’n Paar jaar gelede het verskeie kollegas van die universiteite van Heidelberg, Chicago, Harvard en Yale onderneem om ’n navorsingsprojek van stapel te stuur met die bedoeling om vrugbare of lonende ooreenkomste en verskille tussen die Joodse, Christelike en Islamitiese geloofstradisies te ondersoek. In teenstelling met konvensionele dogmatiese en vergelykende religieuse verkenningstogte, was die bedoeling hier om die impak wat basiese inhoude en vorme van geloof het op gemeenskappe en kulture vas te stel.  Hierdie benadering is ook verkies om die verskillende navorsingstradisies met mekaar in verband te bring – die een is meer algemeen in die Europese en die ander in die Anglo-Amerikaanse wêreld, naamlik die geskiedenis van idees (Geistesgeschichte), en die ander gebaseer op kulturele en sosiale studies. As naam vir hierdie ondersoek het die meerderheid van die groep Images of the Divine and Cultural Orientations (Beelde van God en kulturele oriëntasies) verkies. Destyds het ons egter nie die standaarde en waardes bespreek wat ons met die idee van kulturele oriënterings wil verbind nie enons het ook nie dit wat na verwys kan word as die ‘ikoniese probleem’ in religieuse kontekste, hanteer nie.

Keywords

cultural orientations; Divine Spirit; iconic images; interfaith communication and cooperation; threefold spiritual presence

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