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date: 23 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the reception of Bonhoeffer in global contexts by taking one such context as a detailed case study, namely South Africa. The chapter begins by examining the complex concept of ubuntu, which has been appealed to in South African ‘Truth and Reconciliation’ processes. Exploring the emphases upon the notions of solidarity, communion, unity and reconciliation which are ingredient within that influential concept, the chapter then moves to outline some of the concerns that have been levelled against this concept and its application in public theology, before suggesting how Bonhoeffer’s own relational anthropology, with its Christological and ecclesiological dimensions, might ameliorate some of these potential problems. It concludes by suggesting that Bonhoeffer’s thinking here can make a significant contribution to the development of a contemporary public theology of human dignity and rights both in South Africa and beyond.

Keywords: South Africa, ubuntu, reconciliation, relational anthropology, human rights, public theology

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