To provide the historical-theological background to his own intellectual pursuit of
interdisciplinary theology, Wentzel van Huyssteen tells his story that was prompted in his
student days at Stellenbosch by the then young, newly appointed lecturer Johan Heyns. It
sprung from the basic understanding and confrontation with the question: How is theology to
be understood as a science? The very question became Van Huyssteen’s most basic research
question for his academic career, guided by the deep conviction that Heyns adamantly
proclaimed, namely that the content and methodology of theology could never be deduced
from ‘the truth of revelation’ itself, but would in fact always be shaped by ‘a general theory of
science’. For Van Huyssteen, this conviction pointed directly to the tentative and hypothetical
nature of all theology. It helped him to put into words what would eventually become the
defining character of his own theology, namely seeing the intellectual context of theology as a
deeply cultural and contextual venture in which the sciences, politics and philosophy would
play a defining role. This role is explicated in the article by focusing firstly on the structure of
theological solutions, secondly on interdisciplinarity as challenge, subsequently on continuity
and change, and lastly on problem-solving within a post-foundationalist theology.
INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS : A post-foundational approach argues
for the interdisciplinary character of theology as science. The approach transcends traditional
boundaries of theological, philosophical and social reflection, establishing an intellectual
context of theology as a deeply cultural and contextual venture.
This article represents the reworking of the paper delivered by Wentzel van Huyssteen at the Johan Heyns Memorial Lecture on 25
May 2016 at the University of Pretoria.