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22 August 2018
Prof Coetzee is retelling old stories in a new book
"Failing to Learn Doomed to repeat" was one of the bookworks on display.

The title of Prof Jan K Coetzee’s latest book, Books & Bones & Other Things, says it all. The book looks into the many aspects that have built our society by presenting in a new way the stories contained in old books collected over the years. 

Prof Coetzee is a Senior Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of the Free State (UFS). Books & Bones & Other Things was launched on 14 August 2018 and coincided with an exhibition of various “bookworks”   art installations by Prof Coetzee that feature old books, sculptures, artefacts, and fossils.
 
Book resulting from research programme 
   

“This is a book on books so the library is the perfect venue to launch a book on old texts as documents of life,” said Prof Coetzee.

For the past seven years he has been directing a Master’s and PhD programme in Sociology called The Narrative Study of Lives. His project, Documents of Life, from which this book came, focuses on a collection of old texts the oldest of which dates back to 1605.

“We live in storytelling societies and for as long as we can remember we have been telling stories. Over time the ability to produce books was born. Any collection of books can tell you a lot about your own life and the society you live in."

“I cannot read the stories of many of these old books because their narratives are closed. I have to re-narrate the books, change the narrative convention and present them in a way that makes sense to me. By combining the books with art and artefacts I want the books to tell their ancient stories in new ways.”

Book launches and intellectual discussions

At the book launch, Prof Corli Witthuhn, Vice-Rector: Research said: “What we have achieved with this launch and exhibition is unbelievable. We always try to create an intellectual space in the library.

“A book such as this is the pinnacle of an academic career. It is multidisciplinary and it looks at the world in a different way. That is what scholarship is about.”

A painting by Robert Hodgins was also handed over to the Johannes Stegmann Gallery, home of the corporate collection of the UFS, at the event. 

News Archive

Honorary Professor delivers inaugural lecture in the Faculty of Theology
2010-10-27

Prof. Peter Lampe.

Prof. Peter Lampe recently delivered his inaugural lecture as an Honorary Professor in the Department of New Testament in the Faculty of Theology of the University of the Free State (UFS).

The title of Prof. Lampe’s inaugural lecture was Theology and rhetorics: how do "res" and "verba" relate to each other, in which he addressed the fundamental question of the role and importance of words and the issue/content in theology. Can content simply be conveyed in any manner? Also in theology, Martin Luther observed that some theologians’ works contain words (verba) and those of others the content (res). In his inaugural lecture, Prof. Lampe pointed out that our knowledge of God/reality specifically has to be construed through the use of words. Words and terminology therefore have to be selected with circumspection. Res and verba stand in close relation to each other.

Prof. Lampe declared that in the post-modern world, a “competition” exists for the best constructed worldview and theologians could make a significant contribution to the construction of a better reality through better judgement of the words they use. 

Prof. Lampe, currently the Chair of New Testament Theology at the University of Heidelberg in Germany, has a rich and varied history in the field of theology. Having attained degrees in theology, philosophy and archaeology in Gottingen, Rome and Berne, Prof. Lampe has enjoyed an illustrious professional career. After receiving his Ph.D. at the University of Berne and teaching New Testament Studies there, Prof. Lampe held the Chairs of New Testament Studies in Virginia (USA) and History and Archaeology of Early Christians in Kiel (Germany), before being appointed to the post he currently holds.

In 2003 he was awarded the German Ecumenical Preaching Award and in Turkey he was the leader of an expedition that discovered the long-lost Montanist headquarters of Pepouza and Tymion.

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