2018 International Barth Conference

The International Barth Conference, co-hosted by the Faculty of Theology at Stellenbosch University, the School of Humanities at the University of South Africa (UNISA), and the Center for Barth Studies at Princeton Theological Seminary, will take place on October 21-25 at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa.

The theme of the conference is “Embracing Things Past and Things to Come.” This theme is drawn from Barth’s remark, quoting Calvin in the introduction to his The Theology of Calvin (1922), that we should learn from history “on the simple grounds that we humans are not oxen and asses that know only the present but have a reason that embraces things past and things to come. We have, then, a sense of time.” In this spirit, the conference seeks to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Barth’s death with a view to our ambivalent pasts and its resources, as well as to our contemporary challenges, hopes, and fears for the future.

During the conference, the plenary presentations will engage the work of Karl Barth on many fronts and for various purposes: to critically engage the history of Barth reception, to place Barth into conversation with pressing socio-political and cultural issues in the present, and to look forward with a global perspective about the possible future for Barth studies. The conference will also include two parallel sessions, for which a call for papers will be circulated.



Regular consultation fee (Refreshments included): $120 (R1500)

Student fee (Refreshments included): $50 (R600)

Accompanying persons: $50 (R600)

There are a few bursaries (scholarships) available for participants from lower income countries. Please contact Marita Snyman (maritasnyman@sun.ac.za) for more information.

To register, please download and complete the paper registration form below. After you have completed the form, scan and return the form by email to Marita Snyman at maritasnyman@sun.ac.za

Please note that the deadline for paper registrations is September 30, 2018.

Download Registration Form Here

Plenary Speakers


Concurrent Speakers


Plenary Speakers

Parallel Speakers


Day 1: Sunday, October 21, 2018

18:30—Meet at Faculty of Theology: walk to Rhenish Church at Die Braak

19:00—Evening Service at Rhenish Church (Preacher: Nico Koopman; Liturgist; Andries Daniels)

Day 2: Monday, October 22, 2018

08:00-09:00—Registration and refreshments

09:00-09:15—Opening and Welcome (Reggie Nel, Dean of Faculty of Theology)

09:15-10:00— Plenary 1: John de Gruchy (University of Cape Town/Stellenbosch University) - “The Reception and Relevance of Karl Barth in South Africa: Reflections on ‘doing theology’ in South Africa after sixty years in conversation with Barth”



11:00-11:45— Plenary 2: Margit Ernst-Habib (University of Hildesheim, Germany) - “‘We, here, now, confess this!’ - Karl Barth, Confessional Hermeneutics, and Reformed Identities around the World”

11:45-12:30—Discussion and Conclusion


14:00-15:30—Parallel Session I

IA: Room 1006:

  • Hendrik Bosman (Stellenbosch University) - “Karl Barth’s Interpretation of Scripture from the Perspective of a ‘Second Naivety’”
  • Tim Hartman (Columbia Theological Seminary) - “African Religions as ‘Parables of the Kingdom’?: Karl Barth and Kwame Bediako on Revelation and Culture”

IB: Room 2002

  • Wim Dreyer (University of Pretoria, SA) - “Barth on the Canons of Dort”
  • Blair Bertrand (Zomba Theological College, Malawi) - “Abusa Chimwala’s Exorcism: Demons, Barth, and the Church of Central Africa (Presbyterian)”

IC: Curatorium Seminar Room

  • Yagian Chen (Fudan University, Shangai) - “From ‘I am’ to ‘I-Thou’: A Brief Analysis of Karl Barth’s “Gegenstaendlichkeit”
  • Anlené Taljaard (Stellenbosch University) - “Humanity Matters: The Strange Priestly Yes of God actualised in the Midst of the Many Handcrafted Pig Stalls of Life”


16:00-17:30—Parallel Session 2

2A: Room 1006:

  • Derek Woodard-Lehmann (University of Otago, Nieu Zeeland) - “Barth, Barmen, and Belhar: The Theology of Confession and the Politics of Protest”
  • Michelle Wolff (Augustana College, Illinois)

2B: Room 2002:

  • David Haddorff (St. John’s University, New York)
  • David N. Field (Methodist e-Academy, Basel, Switzerland)

2C: Curatorium Seminar Room:

  • Jantine Nierop (Heidelberg University, Germany) - “What Should We Do? What Can We Do? Re-reading Karl Barth’s Self-Dialogue on Preaching”
  • L. Maria Mudimekli and Jan van der Westhuizen (University of Venda, South Africa)

17:30-18:30—Welcoming function

18:30-19:30—Public lecture/Plenary 3: Rothney Tshaka (University of South Africa/UNISA) - “Karl Barth and Liberation Theologies: Reflections from a South Africa perspective”

Day 3: Tuesday, October 23, 2018

09:00-09:15—Opening - Janine Williams

09:15-10:00—Plenary 4: Bruce McCormack (Princeton Theological Seminary, USA) - “Suffering in God, What Does It Mean and How is it Possible?”



11:00-11:45—Plenary 5: Katya Tolstaya (VU Universiyt, Amsterdam) - “‘Theology After’: What Can Barth’s Theology Contribute to Post-Traumatic Culture and Society, A Post-Soviet Case?”

11:45-12:30—Discussion and Conclusion


14:00-15:30—Parallel Session 3

3A: Room 1006:

  • Martin Laubscher (University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa) - “Barth and Public Witness in South Africa Today”
  • Stephen Kapinde (University of Basel, Switzerland)

3B: Room 2002:

  • Michael Bartholomaeus (University of Otago, New Zeeland) - “Preaching to the Choir: Karl Barth and James H. Harris”
  • Raymond Carr (Pepperdine University, California) - “The Hedgehog and the Fox: The Spirit of Freedom in the Theologies of Karl Barth and Thomas Merton.”

3C: Curatorium Seminar Room:

  • Mark Edwards (College of New Jersey, United States) - “In Grace We May Forget: Barth and Mandela on Forgiveness in Recollection”
  • Yosua Harahap (Jakarta, Indonesia) - “Analogia Fidei and Post-Traumatic Liberation Theology”

15:30-16:00— Refreshments

16:00-17:30—Parallel Session 4

4A: Room 1006:

  • Manitza Kotzé (North-West University, South Africa) - “The (trans)human being to come in view of the incarnate Human Being past: Barth’s anthropology and human biotechnological enhancement”
  • Rachel A. Heath (Vanderbilt University, United States)

4B: Room 2002:

  • Khegan Delport (Stellenbosch University)
  • Petrus Paulus Kruger (North-West University, South Africa) - “Interfaith Pilgrim’s Play: A Cue from Barth’s Lessing Evaluation?”

Evening: Free time

Day 4: Wednesday, October 24, 2018


09:15-10:00—Plenary 6: Thomas Qu (Beijining Normal University, China) - “A Post-Kantian Interpretation of Karl Barth’s Critique of Religion with Reference to Future Possibilities of Sino-Christian Theology”



11:00-11:45—Plenary 7: Willie Jennings (Yale Divinity School, USA) - “The Obedience of the Prison: Karl Barth and the Contours of Criminality”

11:45-12:45—Panel and discussion: Willie Jennings, Kait Dugan, and Teddy Sakupapa

12:45-14:00—Packed Lunch - Shuttles will leave at 13:00 from the faculty for the excursion to Paarl

14:00-16:30—Excursion Drakenstein Correctional Centre, Paarl, with Llewellyn McMaster

16:30-18:00 - Tour of Old Cellar Museum and tasting of award-winning wines at Nederburg Wines

19:00—Dinner Reception: Red Table Restaurant, Nederburg Wines

Day 5: Thursday, October 25, 2018


09:15-10:00—Plenary 8: Andrea White (Union Theological Seminary, USA) - “Spectacles and Diatribes - The Hope of Poor Prophets”



11:00-12:15—Plenary 9: Setri Nyomi (Trinity Theological Seminary, Ghana) - “Karl Barth and the Confessing Church - the Spirit Lives On”




Call for Applications

Those currently enrolled in a doctoral program or with completed doctorates are invited to submit paper proposals for the parallel sessions of the conference. We invite papers which set Karl Barth’s life, theology, and politics into constructive conversation with theologies and theories including but not limited to: liberation, black, disability, post-colonial, womanist, feminist, queer, political, comparative, dogmatic, historical, and contextual. We especially encourage women, Africans, people of color, international students, new voices, and other under-represented voices in the Barth discussion to submit proposals.

Abstracts not exceeding 300 words should be sent to barth.center@ptsem.edu no later than April 15, 2018. Paper presentations should be no more than 3,500 words in order to be delivered in 30 minutes and allow 15-20 minutes for Q&A. Please include your current academic standing with submissions and put “International Barth Conference” in the subject line of your email submission.


There are various bed and breakfast hotels and self-catering accommodations within walking distance from the University of Stellenbosch (Faculty of Theology, 171 Dorp Street, Stellenbosch):

Bed and Breakfasts:

Albarosa Guest House
7 Helderberg Street
Tel: +27 (0)21 883 3353
Email: info@albarosa.co.za

Avenues Guest House
32 The Avenue
Tel: +27 (0)21 887 1843
Email: theavenues@mweb.co.za

Bonne Esperance Guest House
17 Van Riebeeck Street
Tel: +27 (0)21 887 0225
Email: stay@bonneesperance.com

Caledon Villa Guest House
7 Neethling Street
Tel: +27 (0)21 883 8912
Email: info@caledonvilla.co.za

De Hoek Manor Guest House
c/o Drostdy and Church Streets
Tel: +27 (0)21 886 9988
Email: info@dehoekmanor.co.za

Eendracht Hotel
161 Dorp Street
Tel: +27 (0)21 883 8843
Email: info@eendracht-hotel.com

Just Joey Guest House
13 Noordwal-Wes Street
Tel: +27 (0)21 887 1799
Email: bookings@justjoey.co.za

Life & Leisure Guest House & Apartments
20 Van Riebeeck Street
Tel: +27 (0)21 886 6955
Email: info@lifeandleisure.co.za

Malans Guest House
4 Keerom Street
Tel: +27 (0)83 664 1517
Email: malansgh@gmail.com

Middedorp Manor
16 Van Riebeeck Street
Tel: +27 (0)21 883 9560
Email: info@middedorp.com

Oude Werf Hotel
30 Church Street
Tel: +27 (0)21 887 4608
Email: hotel@oudewerfhotel.co.za

River Manor Guest House
6 The Avenue
Tel: +27 (0)21 887 9944
Email: info@rivermanor.co.za

Roosenwijn Guest House
c/o Neethling & Van Riebeeck Streets
Tel: +27 (0)21 883 3338
Email: bookingsenquiries@roosenwijn.co.za

Stellenbosch Hotel
c/o Dorp & Andringa Streets
Tel: +27 (0)21 887 3033
Email: reservations@stellenboschhotel.co.za

Villa Grande Guest House
1 Keerom Street
Tel: +27 (0)21 887 8454
Email: info@villa-grande.com


Faculty of Theology, 171 Dorp Street, Stellenbosch:
House of Maggie: one double bed, bathroom, and kitchen
Chapel Flats: three single bed rooms (2 rooms), shared bathroom, and kitchen
171 Dorp Street, Stellenbosch
Tel: +27 (0)21 808 9128 (Office hours: 08:00-16:30)
Email: toerusting@sun.ac.za (Mrs. Amanda van Niekerk)

22 Die Laan Self-Catering Accommodation
22 Die Laan
Tel: +27 (0)21 886 8753
Email: info@22dielaanguesthouse.co.za

Quiver Tree Self-Catering Apartments
2 Faure Street, Stellenbosch
Tel: +27 (0)72 208 3433
Email: enquiries@livequivertree.com

Stellenbosch Tourism
Contact Jenna Moses for assistance with your accommodation booking:
Stellenbosch 360
36 Market Street, Stellenbosch
Tel: +27 (0)21 883 3584
Email: jenna@stellenbosch360.co.za

Maps and Directions

The conference will take place at the University of Stellenbosch. The address is: Faculty of Theology, 171 Dorp Street, Stellenbosch, South Africa.

Airport Transfer Options from Capetown International Airport:

Citi Hopper
Tel: +27 (0)21 936 3460/1
Email: bookings@citihopper.co.za

Zee’s Cape Tours
Tel: +27 (0)82 258 0820
Email: info@zeescapetours.co.za

Ride with Uber

Shuttle Up
Tel: +27 (0) 72 246 4592
Email: info@shuttleup.co.za


If you have questions related to conference registration, lodging, or meals, please contact Marita Snyman at maritasnyman@sun.ac.za

If you have general questions related to the conference or questions related to the call for papers, please contact Kait Dugan at kaitlyn.dugan@ptsem.edu

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