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18 April 2019 | Story Rulanzen Martin

The Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice IRSJ) has initiated a Social Justice Week at the University of the Free State (UFS), which started on Friday 12 April  until Wednesday 17 April 2019. 

Ten key events took place during the week. It ranged from dialogues, workshops, talk shows, debates, and interactive displays and events on issues of multilingualism and diversity, social innovation, engaged scholarship, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, gender sensitisation, sexual consent, sexual preparedness, universal access, disability, anti-discrimination, and security.

There was also a round-table discussion on 17 April 2019 with various UFS stakeholders on off-campus student security as well as an inter-institutional discussion on the same topic. The UFS Debating Society will take on the topic of the UFS Language Policy, while Olga Barends from the Free State Centre for Human Rights will host a dialogue on sexual consent.

The IRSJ has also designed and implemented SOJO-VATION: Social Innovation/ Social Change, which strives to create a foundational platform where ideas of social justice, innovation, and engaged scholarship at the UFS and in society can be hosted. SOJO-VATION partners with the Office for Student Leadership, Development, and Community Engagement.

The collaborating partners for the Social Justice Week includes various UFS stakeholders such as the Sasol library, the Gender and Sexual Equity Office, UFS Protection Services, the Free State Centre for Human Rights, the Student Representative Council (SRC), the Office for Student Leadership Development, Kovsie Innovation, GALA, the FFree State Centre for Human Rights, SRC Associations, the Office for Student Governance, Kovsie Innovate, Start-Up-Grind, EVC, EBL, Community Engagement, the Institutional Transformation Plan (ITP) Dialogues Office, Residence Dialogues, UFS Debating Society, Debate Afrika!, the Center for Universal Access and Disability Support (CUADS), and the Gateway Office. 

News Archive

International Bible scholars attend conference on Apocalyptic Literature and Mysticism
2017-09-18

Description: Bible Scholars Tags: Bible Scholars, UFS Faculty of Theology and Religion, Prof Francis Petersen 

Prof Francis Petersen, UFS Rector and Vice-Chancellor,
second from left, flanked by three
deans of theology: Prof Fanie Snyman (UFS),
Prof Jörg Frey (University of Zurich),
and Prof Gregory Sterling (Yale Divinity School).
Photo: Eugene Seegers


Apocalypticism and mysticism have become two key areas of research that have converged to form the heart of contemporary spirituality. It was with this in mind that leading local and international Bible scholars were invited to a collaborative international conference jointly hosted by the UFS Faculty of Theology and Religion and Yale Divinity School, with the theme Apocalyptic Literature and Mysticism—Investigating a Turn in Recent Apocalyptic Research.

It is perhaps unknown to many that a number of the most profound thinkers, both of Judeo-Christian tradition and other religions in general, were mystics. Their lives and writings speak of a longing for an intimate relationship with God, reflecting on universal existential questions such as understanding our human existence, our creation, and ultimately, the meaning of life.

Apocalypticism, on the other hand, focuses on texts and prophecies describing how an alternative, future world might replace our existing one, a process often cataclysmic in nature, thus, like the mystics, also reflecting on the deeper foundations of human existence and our possible demise.

Traditionally, both have been misunderstood and controversial, but more recent research has revealed their formative role in religious discourses, with many scholars finding growing commonalities between apocalyptic and mystical texts. Moreover, these commonalities help to establish a better understanding of Judeo-Christian traditions, as well as other religions in general.

This hugely successful UFS collaborative effort, as well as others of its kind, contribute to the growth of theology as a discipline, with a positive impact on the broader religious community, the church, and society as a whole in the common desire for a just, equitable, and humane world.

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