26 February 2018 Photo Eugene Seegers
Dutch scholar honours Faculty of Theology and Religion with special book dedication
Prof Bram van de Beek hands over his book, Mijn Vader, uw Vader, which contains his dedication to the UFS Faculty of Theology and Religion, to Prof Fanie Snyman, Dean of the faculty.

While surveying recent publications, staff members at the Faculty of Theology and Religion discovered, almost by coincidence, that a world-renowned systematic theologian and professor emeritus of the Free University Amsterdam (VU Amsterdam) in the Netherlands, Prof Bram van de Beek, had dedicated his most recent volume on Systematic Theology to the Faculty of Theology and Religion at the UFS in Bloemfontein.

Even before Prof Fanie Snyman, Dean of this faculty, had any knowledge of this special honour, Prof Van de Beek was invited to conduct the Scripture reading and sermon on the programme of the University of the Free State (UFS) Faculty of Theology and Religion’s official opening and Theological Day. This event provided the perfect opportunity for Prof Van de Beek to officially hand a copy of his book over to the faculty.

Prof Van de Beek accepted the invitation and on 19 February 2018 conducted the sermon in the Odeion Theatre at the UFS based on the theme of the Theological Day, Reconciliation: Biblical imperative and the South African reality. He then formally presented his book, with the title Mijn Vader, uw Vader, which contains the dedication, to Prof Snyman, saying: “It is an honour for me to have the opportunity to present my book today. It was a pleasure for me to dedicate it to the Faculty of Theology and Religion in Bloemfontein. I did so because of my great appreciation for the work these colleagues are doing.”

'It was a pleasure for me
to dedicate this book to the
UFS Faculty of Theology and Religion.'
—Prof Bram van de Beek
Dutch Systematical Theologian
and Dogmatician

Prof Van de Beek continued: “They keep to academic standards in difficult circumstances. It is not only the pressure of ‘publish or perish’ which must be resisted, but also the pressure of society, and most of all, of church members who want an adapted theology according to their desires. True theology, like any academic discipline, is interested in the truth and is not based on interests. I notice the courage by colleagues of this faculty to keep to this standard in both the training of students and in their research. They even had the courage to reflect on the very rationale of the existence of theology at a public university. Nothing can be taken for granted, for at the very moment we do so in the university, we lose our critical attitude, which is the basis for academic work. So it is with great esteem that I dedicated my book to this faculty.”

In his acceptance, Prof Snyman expressed his utmost appreciation that a European theologian of worldwide renown would take note of a university and faculty so far removed from his sphere of activity.

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