In this article, I present a critical literature study of the theoretical approach of practical
theologians in South Africa to our discipline, in honour of Yolanda Dreyer on her 60th birthday.
Some of my colleagues’ approaches at the universities of Stellenbosch, Free State, Pretoria,
Unisa and NWU (Potchefstroom campus) are discussed. All of them work with practical
theological hermeneutics. The basic hermeneutic approach of Daniël Louw is widened with an
integrated approach by Richard R. Osmer in which practical theology as a hermeneutic
discipline also includes the empirical aspect which the action theory approach has contributed
to the discussion. After discussing Louw’s basic hermeneutic approach, all the other colleagues
who basically accepted Osmer’s approach in their publications are discussed. Important and
new ground is being broken by contemporary colleagues, including research in public practical
theology, without neglecting the focus on Christian congregations, and new work is being
done at the grass roots level of African issues in our country.
Prof. Dr Pieterse is
participating in the research
project, ‘Gender Studies and
Practical Theology Theory
Formation’, directed by Prof.
Dr Yolanda Dreyer,
Department of Practical
Theology, Faculty of
Theology, University of