international barth conference


Oct 21 2018 - Oct 25 2018


8:00 am - 6:00 pm

2018 International Barth Conference

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 ( 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

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

Download Registration Form Here

Plenary Speakers

Andrea White

Andrea C. White is Associate Professor of Theology and Culture at Union Theological Seminary in New York. Her forthcoming volumes are The Back of God: A Theology of Otherness in Karl Barth and Paul RicoeurThe Scandal of Flesh: Black Women’s Bodies and God Politics; and a future edited volume with Fortress Press entitled Feminist and Womanist Theologies. She is Executive Director of the Society for the Study of Black Religion and co-chair of the American Academy of Religion Black Theology Group. She serves on the Karl Barth Society Advisory Board and several editorial boards, including the Journal for the American Academy of Religion. She earned a Ph.D. in theology from The University of Chicago and M.Div. with a concentration in philosophy of religion from Yale Divinity School.

John de Gruchy

John de Gruchy is currently Emeritus Professor in Christian Studies at the University of Cape Town and an Extraordinary Professor in theology at the University of Stellenbosch. He has a doctorate in theology, writing his dissertation on the ecclesiology of Karl Barth and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and another in the social sciences, along with several honorary doctorates. In 2000, he was awarded the Karl Barth Prize by the Evangelical Church of the Union in Germany. He has lectured in many countries and authored or edited many books and journal articles on Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the church in South Africa, Reformed theology, social history, Christianity and the arts, reconciliation and justice, and Christian humanism. With his wife Isobel, he is now a resident member of the Volmoed Community for Reconciliation and Healing near Hermanus where he writes, gives seminars, and makes furniture. Among his books are Christianity, Art and Social TransformationReconciliation: Restoring JusticeBeing Human: Confessions of a Christian HumanistJohn Calvin: Christian Humanist & Evangelical ReformerBeing Led Into Mystery: Faith Seeking Answers in Life and Death, and The End is Not YetHis writings have been translated into German, Korean, Japanese, Italian, and Swedish.

Margit Ernst-Habib

The Rev. Dr. Margit Ernst-Habib is a theologian and lecturer with a research and teaching focus on Reformed theology from a global perspective, the theology of Karl Barth, as well as Feminist and Postcolonial theologies. After studying theology in Wuppertal and Göttingen (Germany), she worked as a research assistant for the Karl-Barth-Institute at the Georg August University in Göttingen, where she co-edited, among other volumes, Barth’s Die Theologie reformierter Bekenntnisschriften.

For several years, Ernst-Habib taught theology at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur/GA (USA), before moving back to her native Germany with a broadened, globalized perspective on Reformed theologies and Reformed ways of being church, which continues to deeply influence and challenge her writing, research, and teaching. As one on the Frierson Distinguished Scholars, she participated in the international Clarence N. and Betty B. Frierson Distinguished Scholars’ Conference at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary in 2014, where her interest in and emphasis on theworldwide Reformed tradition was further intensified and diversified.

During her work with the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) as the theological coordinator of the project “Global Players. How Reformations Still Change the Work”, her theological approach was very much shaped and informed not only by being part of a global network of Reformed theologians, but also by listening to and learning from diverse approaches and challenges from theologians and churches of the worldwide Reformed tradition, trying to incorporate those voices into her own theological work.

She is the author of Reformierte Identität weltweit: Eine Interpretation neuerer Bekenntnisse aus der reformierten Tradition and But Why Are You Called a Christian? An Introduction to the Heidelberg CathechismIn addition to her monographies, Ernst-Habib has published numerous theological essays, both in English and in German related to Reformed theology, feminism, and ecumenism.

Willie James Jennings

Willie James Jennings is Associate Professor of Systematic Theology and Africana Studies at Yale Divinity School. His book The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race (Yale 2010) won the American Academy of Religion Award of Excellence in the Study of Religion in the Constructive-Reflective category the year after it appeared and, in 2015, the Grawemeyer Award in Religion, the largest prize for a theological work in North America. Englewood Review of Books called the work a “theological masterpiece.” Jennings is also the author of Acts: A Theological Commentary on the Bible. He is currently working on a major monograph provisionally entitled Unfolding the World: Recasting a Christian Doctrine of Creation.

Writing in the areas of liberation theologies, cultural identities, and anthropology, Jennings has authored more than 40 scholarly essays and nearly two-dozen reviews, as well as essays on academic administration and blog posts for Religion Dispatches. Jennings is an ordained Baptist minister and has served as interim pastor for several North Carolina churches. He is in high demand as a speaker and is widely recognized as a major figure in theological education across North America. A Calvin College graduate, Jennings received his M.Div. from Fuller Theological Seminary and his Ph.D. in religion and ethics from Duke.

Nico Koopman

Since 1 July 2016, Nico Koopman is the Vice Rector Social Impact, Transformation and Personnel at Stellenbosch University. From 1 June 2015 to 30 June 2016, he was acting in this position. From 2010-2015, he was dean of the Faculty of Theology. He is professor of Systematic Theology and Public Theology at Stellenbosch University, and an ordained pastor of the Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa. Since 2008, he is a member of the Council of the University of Stellenbosch. He is chairperson of the Global Network for Public Theology. During the academic year of September 2007 to June 2008, he was public theologian-in-residence at the Center of Theological Inquiry in Princeton. He plays a leading role in public discourses in the academy, churches and broader society, both locally and internationally. He was warden of Stellenbosch University Residences Huis Marais and Huis Visser for seven years.

Nico is a member of various scientific societies, namely the International Reformed Theological Institute, the Society for Christian Ethics in the United States of America, the Theological Society of Southern Africa, and The Society for Practical Theology in South Africa. He is also the founding member of the Ethics Society of Southern Africa. He has published various articles in South African and international journals, and also chapters in books as well as various popular publications.

Bruce L. McCormack

Bruce Lindley McCormack is the Director of the Center for Barth Studies and Charles Hodge Professor of Systematic Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary. Bruce earned his Ph.D. from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1989. He also holds an M.Div. from Nazarene Theological Seminary and an honorary doctorate of theology from the Friedrich Schiller Universitat in Jena, Germany. A Presbyterian, Bruce is interested in the history of modern theology, from Schleiermacher and Hegel through Karl Barth. His courses cover Schleiermacher’s Glaubenslehre and the doctrine of atonement in Christian tradition. He is a member of the General Assembly committee commissioned to write a new catechism for the Presbyterian Church (USA) and has been a member of the panel on doctrine for the Church of Scotland. A member of the Karl Barth-Stiftung in Basel, Switerzland, he is North American editor of the Zeitschrift fuer Dialektische Theologie, published in Holland.

Setri Nyomi

Rev. Dr. Setri Nyomi is a Ghanaian theologian. His theological studies began at the University of Ghana, Legon, and Trinity Theological Seminary, Legon in the 1970s. He received a Master of Sacred Theology (STM) degree from Yale University Divinity School, New Haven, Connecticut (1981) and a Ph.D. in Pastoral Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, New Jersey (1991) – both in the USA. He was ordained in the Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Ghana in August 1980 and served as parish pastor in both Ghana and the USA.

He was a lecturer in Trinity Theological Seminary in Legon, Ghana in the 1990s and returned to this teaching again in 2016. In between, he spent six years as a Senior Executive of the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) in Nairobi Kenya, and almost 15 years with the World Communion of Reformed Churches.

Dr. Nyomi became General Secretary of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) in April 2000, the first non-European General Secretary of, one of the oldest confessional bodies that unites Presbyterian, Reformed, Congregational, Waldensian and some United and Uniting Churches. In June 2010, under his leadership, the World Alliance of Reformed Churches and the Reformed Ecumenical Council united to become the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) – serving more than 80 million Christians in about 108 countries. Dr. Nyomi continued to be the General Secretary of the WCRC until August 31, 2014 having served fourteen and half years in total as General Secretary. Dr. Nyomi is also committed to interfaith dialogue and interfaith action together. He was one of the Presidents of the World Conference of Religions for Peace (RfP) from 1999 until 2012 when he finished his term. He is now one of the Honorary presidents of the RfP.

From January to June 2016, Setri Nyomi spent the Spring Semester teaching in Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, New Jersey, USA as the John Mackay Visiting Professor of Ecumenics, and from April to August 2018, he served as Visiting Professor in the Theology Faculty of the University of Goettingen, Germany.

Rev. Dr. Setri Nyomi is currently a Senior Lecturer in Trinity Theological Seminary, Legon (Ghana) and the District Pastor of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Adenta, Greater Accra Region, Ghana. He is also currently the Chairman of the University Council of the Evangelical Presbyterian University College in Ho, Ghana.

Dr. Nyomi is an ecumenical leader known for his commitment to the mission of the church and its relevance to the 21st century and to the church’s role in being a beacon for justice in the world today. He is also very committed to Christian unity and ecumenical action.

He is married to Mrs. Akpene Esther Nyomi; they have three adult children, two of whom are married.

His areas of academic interest are: Ecumenics, Pastoral Theology and Christianity in Africa

Thomas Xutong Qu (瞿旭彤)

Associate Prof. Dr. Thomas Xutong Qu (瞿旭彤) is the Director of the Institute of Religion and Culture and Associate Professor in the School of Philosophy at Beijing Normal University in Beijing, China. He previously served as the Assistant Dean of International Affairs for the School of Philosophy at Beijing Normal University. Thomas received his Doctor of Theology and Master of Theological Studies from Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg, Germany. In 2017, he received the Manfred Lautenschlaeger Award of Theological Promise from the University of Heidelberg, and in 2016, he received the Liyun Award for Best Academic Publications from Beijing Normal University. He coordinates the Karl Barth Translation and Research Project in China. He is also on the editorial committee for several academic journals, and is the author of Barth and Goethe: Die Goethe Rezeption Karl Barths 1906-1921. His research interests include Karl Barth and metaphysical philosophy since Aristotle.

Katya Tolstaya

Katya Tolstaya is a systematic theologian and works at the at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, where she is Associate Professor and Founding Director of the Institute for the Academic Study of Eastern-European Christianity (INaSEC). She is also Founding President of the International Association for Post-Soviet Theology and Study of Religion (PAST).Her main research and valorisation interest is to establish the totally new field of interdisciplinary and interreligious post-Soviet theology, within the interdisciplinary landscape/scope of post-traumatic, post-totalitarian and post-genocidal studies. Theology after Gulag is the first phase of this project. Tolstaya has created a global network to support her in this ambition. Tolstaya obtained her MA (cum laude, 2000), and her PhD (cum laude, 2006), both at the Protestant Theological University (PThU), Kampen, The Netherlands.

Dr. Tolstaya was laureate of a prestigious NWO VENI Talent Scheme Innovational Research Incentives Humanities (2009-2012). As a Visiting Professor, she teaches in different post-Soviet countries, e.g. at Lev N. Gumilyov Eurasian National University, Astana, Kazakhstan, and at the Ukrainian Catholic University, Lviv, Ukraine. She was Visiting Researcher at the Karl Barth-Archiv, Basel (2009) and recently Visiting Fellow at Aleksanteri Institute, Finnish Centre of Excellence in Russian Studies, University of Helsinki (May-July 2017).

Tolstaya’s initial research was dedicated to Western systematic theology, a.o. Barth and early dialectical theology, and literary studies, a.o. Dostoevsky and Bakhtin. For over a decade Tolstaya’s research focuses on the post-Soviet religious revival, and the role of theology in public and societal engagement with the past. To promote the research field of post-Soviet theology she has established three international research networks: the project “Theology after Gulag” within INaSEC; a research group “Theology after Gulag” in the Netherlands School for Advanced Study of Theology and Religion (NOSTER); and an NWO-Internationalisation in the Humanities network on the Russian Orthodox Church (2015-2018). These projects engage over twenty academic, ecclesial and cultural institutions, and NGO’s, and over fifty committed international scholars and stakeholders working in post-Soviet studies, post-Holocaust theology, transitional justice, Gulag studies and further related fields who support her call for a rethinking of methodological and theoretical issues in the study of post-Soviet religion and theology. With her INaSEC-team, Tolstaya devotes herself to a broad valorisation program, varying from international conferences and public lectures to exhibitions.

Rothney Tshaka

Dr. Rothney Tshaka is professor of Systematic Theology and Ethics as well as Director of the School of Humanities at the University of South Africa. He taught ethics and theology at the New Brunswick Theological Seminary in New Jersey, USA. He has also taught in Zimbabwe. Tshaka is an ordained Minister of Word and Sacrament in the Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa (URCSA). His research interests are in the areas of Politics, Race and Theology, and Afrophobia, as well as the intersections of being African and Reformed. As a theologian specialising in the history of the Reformed faith in South Africa, Tshaka has published numerous articles on the intersections of these two aspects of the African Christian. Tshaka is author of the book, Confessional Theology?: A Critical Analysis of the Theology of Karl Barth and its Significance for the Belhar Confession. He has also published a number of articles on Black Theology of Liberation in post-apartheid South Africa. His most recent works engages the subject of race and theology critically, see for instance, “The Black Church as the Womb of Black Liberation Theology? Why the Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa (URCSA) is Not a Genuine Black Church.” He is a member of several editorial boards of theological journals in South Africa as well as a member of the editorial board for Black Theology: An International Journal, which is based in the UK.

Parallel Speakers

Michael Bartholomaeus

Michael Bartholomaeus is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Otago in New Zealand under the supervision of Christopher Holmes and Murray Rae. He received a Masters degree from Tabor College in Adelaide, Australia. Michael’s research interests include Karl Barth’s doctrine of sanctification, Barth’s understanding of the relationship between judgment and grace, and what Barth can teach us about preaching. He currently lives in Dunedin where he attends a Baptist church and serves in the young adults ministry.

Blair Bertrand

Rev. Dr. Blair D. Bertrand teaches at Zomba Theological College and with Theological Education by Extension Malawi (TEEM) both in the central African country of Malawi. Rev. Dr. Bertrand has a PhD in Practical Theology (PTS) and is an ordained minister with the Presbyterian Church in Canada. Recently he has completed editing Conflict and Consensus: Practical Theology for Congregations in the Work of Richard R. Osmer (Pickwick, 2018) and is at work on a manuscript called How To Be a Missionalary: Ministry in a Globalized, Secularized, Post-Colonial World.

Hendrik Bosman

Hendrik Bosman did his undergraduate and postgraduate studies at the University of Pretoria, where he was awarded the Hons (Philosophy) in 1978 and a DD in Old Testament in 1983. During his academic career, he was initially (1979 to 1990) appointed as lecturer, senior lecturer, associate professor, and professor in Old Testament at UNISA. In 1991, he became a professor in Old Testament at Stellenbosch University. He was head of Old and New Testament from 1998 to 2011 and acting dean for the Faculty of Theology, Stellenbosch University from 2013 to October 2017.

Hendrik has authored numerous books and journal articles as well as contributed to make theological dictionaries and encyclopaedias. He has twice received the Andrea Murray – Desmond Tutu prize for theological publications. He served as co-editor of Scripture from 2000-2017.

Hendrik’s research interest has been in the field of Old Testament ethics and theology with special attention to the exodus as a narrative concerned with origin and migration and constitutive of religious identity. An additional perennial interest in theological hermeneutics has led to an ongoing reflection on how the interpretation of the Bible is influenced by different modes of theologising and anthropological presuppositions. In 2018, he formed part of a research group of twelve scholars at the Centre for Theological Inquiry (Princeton NJ, USA) concerned with issues related to “Religion and Migration”.

When not attempting to photograph birds, he usually reads topics related to 19th century British and German imperialism and sometimes finds solace in making wine.

Raymond Carr

Dr. Raymond Carr is an Assistant Professor of theology and ethics in the Religion and Philosophy Division at Pepperdine University. His research interests are theologically ecumenical, historically sensitive, and radically inclusive. Dr. Carr received his Ph.D. from Graduate Theological Union in Systematic and Philosophical Theology. He teaches courses on the theology of Martin Luther, Theology Born of Struggle, and the Old Testament in Context. He is currently working on a theological aesthetics, Theology in the Mode of Monk: Barth and Cone on Revelation and Freedom, which combines together his research interests and uses the music of Thelonious Monk as a form of parabolic suggestiveness. Previous publications include “Merton and Barth in Dialogue on Faith and Understanding: A Hermeneutics of Freedom and Ambiguity,” The Merton Annual: Studies in Culture, Spirituality, and Social Concerns 26 (2013), 181-194.

Yaqian Chen

Yaqian Chen is an editor in the editorial department of Fudan Journal, a prestigious academic journal in China. She is also a PhD student at the University of Zurich under the supervision of Prof. Perrier Buelher. In 2001, she received her PhD from Fudan University in Shanghai, China with a dissertation focused on Hegel’s conception of the unhappy consciousness. Her research interest previously focused on German Idealism and Kierkegaard. She encountered Barth’s Church Dogmatics in the summer of 2006 in Hong Kong. Since then, she has become more and more fascinated with this great work. Her second dissertation will center on Barth’s concept of Gegenstaendlichkeit.

Khegan Delport

Khegan is a Ph.D candidate in Systematic Theology at the University of Stellenbosch working under the supervision of Professor Robert Vosloo. His postgraduate studies have been focused on the theology of Rowan Williams and Donald MacKinnon with a special interest on the inter-connections between Christian metaphysics and philosophies of the tragic. His work has been published in the Stellenbosch Theological JournalStudia Historia Ecclesiasticae, and The Heythrop Journal.

Wim Dreyer

Wim Dreyer is a senior lecturer in Historical Theology at the Faculty of Theology, University of Pretoria.

Before starting his academic career in 2010, Wim Dreyer served for 22 years in ministry. During 2005 he was appointed as general secretary of Mission and Ecumenical Relations of the Nederduitsch Hervormde Kerk van Afrika (NHKA). He served four terms (2001 – 2013) on the Moderature of the NHKA, also as moderator. He also served as editor of Die Hervormer, official newspaper of the NHKA from 1995 to 2001.

During 1995, Wim Dreyer completed a doctoral thesis in Church History on the relation between church and state in South Africa. In 2011 he completed a PhD in Practical Theology in which he explored new approaches to ecclesiology in a dissertation on ‘Practical Ecclesiology’.

With assistance from the University of Pretoria, in association with the Johannes à Lasco Library (Emden) and the Hardenberg Fellowship Programme, Wim Dreyer started a research project ‘Church and Justice’. The main focus is on the contribution reformed theology made to social, economic and political justice in different contexts. It also explores the contribution reformed theology and churches could make in promoting fundamental values such as justice and human dignity on the African Continent and specifically South Africa. This research also links to the Accra Declaration of the World Communion of Reformed Churches. His teaching responsibilities include courses on reformed theology.

Wim Dreyer is the author of two monographs, 7 chapters in books, 35 articles in theological journals as well as more than a hundred popular articles in various newspapers and magazines.

Mark Edwards

Mark Edwards earned his Ph.D. at Princeton Theological Seminary in 2013 with a dissertation on Barth’s treatment of time and eternity. He works as a full-load adjunct professor of philosophy and ethics at The College of New Jersey, as an occasional adjunct professor of theology at Princeton Theological Seminary & Fuller Seminary, and as a youth pastor at Nassau Presbyterian Church in Princeton, NJ. This is his third time to the African continent and his first time in South Africa.

David N. Field

David N. Field is the academic coordinator of the Methodist e-Academy, a project of Methodist Churches in Europe providing supplementary and continuing education for Methodist pastors from across Europe based in Basel, Switzerland. He is a South African with Ph.D. from the University of Cape Town focusing on eco-theology. He is the author of two books Bid Our Jarring Conflicts Cease: A Wesleyan Theology and Praxis of Church Unity and Our Purpose is Love: The Wesleyan Way of Being the Church, and the co-author with Ernst Conradie of Rainbow over the Land: Equipping Christians to be Earthkeepers, as well as articles dealing with eco-theology, political and public theologies, the theology and ethics of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, theology and migration, and the ethics in the Methodist tradition. His present research focuses on political and public theology in dialogue with decolonial and postcolonial thought, theological ethics in the Methodist tradition, and theologies of migration.

David Haddorff

David Haddorff is Associate Professor of Theology and Ethics at St. John’s University, New York. His principle research interests include the fields of social and political theory and ethics, and the theology and ethics of Karl Barth. He is an ordained minister in the Reformed Church in America, and also serves in various capacities in that denomination. His doctorate is in historical theology from Marquette University, where he studied modern theology and ethics. In addition to historical studies, he’s published in the fields of systematic theology, Christian ethics, and Karl Barth studies. His published books include: Dependence and Freedom: The Moral Thought of Horace Bushnell; a 70 page monograph: “Karl Barth’s Theological Politics” in the reprint of Karl Barth’s Community, State, and Church: Three Essays; and most recently, Christian Ethics as Witness: Barth’s Ethics for a World at Risk, where he provides a detailed study of Barth’s theological ethics and applies to the current ethical issues in politics, economics, and the environment. He is currently working on the book: Trinitarian Politics: A Political Theology of Divine Action, in which he brings together studies in trinitarian theology and political theology, particularly in light of Barth’s theology.

Yoshua Harahap

Yoshua Budiman Harahap received his MTh from Jakarta Theological Seminary and ordained as a pastor at Christian Churches of Java, Indonesia. As a pastor-scholar, his focus intertwined between ecclesiaacademia, and societa which challenge him to articulate and doing theology “here and now.” Constructive public theology, post-traumatic theology, sosio-pastoral theology, social theology, and religion and culture are some of his field. His publications include, “Liberatio Communio: The ecclesiological identity of Sadrach’s Javanese Community” International Bulletin of Mission Research 41.3 (July 2017) and “Mending the Memory? A Socio-Pastoral Approach to Re-experiencing the Peaceful Religion through Ruwatan” in Mending the World (Wipf and Stock, 2017). He also actively engaged in interreligious dialogue in the Interfaith Youth Dialogue (PELITA) in South Tangerang, Banten and served as the Head of “Kabar Baik” Institute of Research and Development (LPPKB), a non-profit R&D institution focused on dialectical relation between church mission and Indonesia pluralistic society, especially around Jakarta, Bekasi, Depok, Bogor, and Banten.

Tim Hartman

Tim Hartman, Assistant Professor of Theology at Columbia Theological Seminary, holds a B.A. from Stanford University, a M.Div from Princeton Theology Seminary and a PhD in Theology, Ethics, and Culture from the University of Virginia. He is currently completing a manuscript that constructively engages Karl Barth and Ghanaian theologian Kwame Bediako.

Rachel A. Heath

Rachel A. Heath is a PhD student and a Theology and Practice Fellow in the Graduate Department of Religion at Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TN, USA). Her research interests and publications center on the confluences of multiple religious belonging, theologies of multiplicity, queer and feminist theories and theologies, multifaith chaplaincy, and interfaith praxis. She holds an M.Div. from Yale Divinity School and a certificate in Religion and the Arts through the Yale Institute of Sacred Music. Prior to doctoral studies, she worked in various capacities at the University of Chicago. She has served on the executive committee (2015-2017) for the National Association of College and University Chaplains (NACUC) and was a 2011 seminary fellow with the Fellowship at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics (FASPE). She currently serves on the leadership council for the newly emerging Association for Interreligious/Interfaith Studies (AIIS).

Stephen Kapinde

Stephen Asol Kapinde is a doctoral assistant at the faculty of Theology (Extra-European Christianity), University of Basel, Switzerland. He is also an assistant research fellow at Centre for African Studies, Basel. He holds a Master of Arts Degree in Religious Studies from Pwani University, Kenya with an emphasis in church-state relations. His current research works on ‘Prophetic Church Leadership in Kenya’s Democratic Processes between 1982 and 2002’. He combines an interdisciplinary work in his writings that cuts across history, religion, theology, and politics. Currently, he is working on his PhD thesis entitled ‘Political Sermons towards Democratic Governance in Kenya between 1986 and 2010’ with reference to Anglican clerics. In this work, he conceptualized ‘prophetic preaching as doing theology’, which he refers to as Critical Pulpit Theology (CPT). Prior to joining Basel, he served as an adjunct assistant lecturer at Pwani University and as a consultant on counter violent extremism in Mombasa, Kenya. Stephen is dedicated to research and the pursuit of academic excellence.

Manitza Kotzé

Manitza Kotzé is senior lecturer in Dogmatics at North-West University. She received her PhD in Systematic Theology and Ethics at Stellenbosch University, after which she completed a postdoctorate and lectured at the University of the Western Cape for three years before joining North-West University in 2016. She is primarily interested in how Christian doctrine can assist the ethical reflection on matters pertaining to biotechnology, and she is working on human biotechnological enhancement at present, in particular questions it raises around inequality.

Petrus Paulus Kruger

Dr. Petrus Paulus Kruger was born in Pretoria, South Africa, on the 17th of July 1940. After completing graduate and post-graduate studies at the North West University and at the Free University of Amsterdam (under prof. G. C. Berkouwer) he served as Minister in various Reformed congregations for nearly 40 years. He also served as an Accredited Lecturer of the North West University, being the first head of the Department of Systematic Theology, at the Mukhanyo Theological College (KwaMhlanga, Mpumalanga) for more than 16 years. He holds the degrees of BA and ThD (NWU) and Theologiae Doctorandus (Free University).

At the moment he is involved in the work of the Unit for Reformed Theology and Development of the South African Society, Faculty of Theology at the North West University, as a Research Fellow.

Kindled by his Amsterdam studies and his doctoral thesis that centered on the ecclesiology of the Roman Catholic renewal-theologian Hans Küng, his research on ecumenical relations and convergences between post-Vatican-Two Rome and the Reformation continues. Furthermore, during the past decade a growing appreciation for an emerging ‘Theodramatic’ approach to theology has manifested itself intensively in his research, especially focused on dogma-historical, ecological and land debates.

Martin Laubscher

Martin Laubscher studied theology at the University of the Stellenbosch and the Free University Amsterdam. He was for six years a minister in a congregation, and since 2012 he teaches full time homiletics and liturgy at the University of the Free State, Bloemfontein. He is currently busy with a PhD on the prophetic office in Barth’s theology, entitled “Public Theology as Prophetic Theology? A Critical Examination of the Socio-ecclesiological Implications of the Threefold Office in the Theology of Karl Barth.” His other areas of interest includes theologians as preachers; South African theology; prophetic preaching; public theology; and liturgy and life.

L. Maria Mudimeli

Dr L. M. Mudimeli is currently a lecturer at the University of Venda, Limpopo Province, South Africa. Prior her appointment as a lecturer, from June 2002 to September 2016, she served as a chaplain in the South African Police Service. It was there where she received a commendation as a hard worker due to her commitment to effective service delivery. In addition, she also served as a chaplain in the department of Correctional service between 2016 and 2017. Maria Mudimeli is also serving as a senior pastor of Grace Missionary Chapel at Tshituni tsha fhasi. She has been a pastor who served the church in several congregations for more than 20 years. She received her Master of Theology degree from the University of Venda and proceeded to Unisa where she completed her Doctor of Theology in Systematic Theology under the supervision of Professor Christina Landman.

Jantine Nierop

The Rev. Dr. Jantine Nierop teaches at Heidelberg University and serves as an academic director of the Center of Gender Issues of the Protestant Church in Germany. Dr. Nierop has a PhD in Practical Theology (Leiden University) and is an ordained minister with the Protestant Church in the Netherlands. She published articles on homiletics, pastoral care, and pastoral theology.

Anlené Taljaard

Anlené Taljaard is a PhD candidate at Stellenbosch University. Her research focuses on Christology with an emphasis on the office of the priesthood of Christ in the reformed tradition among the works of John Calvin, Karl Barth, and Thomas F. Torrance. Her christological interests, alongside her awareness of the contributions of African public theologians, enables constructive research engagements concerning the significance of the gospel for society in the South African context. Anlené is the author of a number of published articles engaging the reformed tradition, and she was formerly a Lecturer of Systematic Theology and Ethics at the University of the Free State. She is an ordained minister of the Uniting Reformed Church of Southern Africa

Jan van der Westhuizen

Rev. Jan D N van der Westhuizen is currently a Senior Lecturer at the University of Venda, Limpopo Province, South Africa. Prior to his appointment (January 1983) as a Lecturer at the University of Venda, he worked at the University of Pretoria and UNISA from 1978-1980. From 1981-1982 he served as a chaplain in the South African Defence Force. Jan also served as a part time pastor in various Dutch Reformed congregations for 23 years. He is currently completing his doctorate.

Michelle Wolff

Michelle Wolff is an assistant professor of Religion at Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois where she teaches courses on ethics, race, and religion. Wolff is the author of “Madonna and Child of Soweto: Black Life Beyond Apartheid and Democracy” in Political Theology (2018). “God’s Baby, the Church’s Maybe: A Trans Grammar Lesson with Sally Gross,” is under review at Transgender Studies Quarterly, and “Beyond Barbie, Bombs, and Boredom: Do Sex Robots and Drones Promise a Transhuman Future?” co-authored with Kara Slade is forthcoming in Christian Bioethics. Duke University Press is currently soliciting Wolff’s book on Sally Gross.

Derek Woodard-Lehman

Derek Woodard-Lehman is a Lecturer in the Department of Theology and Religion at University of Otago (New Zealand) where he also serves as Wellington Programme Coordinator for the Centre for Theology and Public Issues. He works broadly in the moral and the theological traditions of Western Christianity, with an emphasis on Karl Barth’s contributions to debates about the relationship between reason and revelation, the role of social practices in scriptural interpretation and ecclesial confession, and the nature of freedom in church and society. His recent and forthcoming publications include “The Law as the Task of the Gospel: Karl Barth and the Possibility of an Apostolic Pragmatism” (Journal of Jewish Ethics, 2016), “The Radical Autonomy of Karl Barth: Modern Moral Philosophy and the Ethics of Divine Command” (Oxford Handbook of Karl Barth, 2018), and Liberating Barth?: From a Theological Critique of Idolatry to a Political Critique of Ideology” (T&T Clark Companion to Political Theology, 2018). He is currently revising a manuscript entitled Confessing Freedom: Karl Barth and the Spirit of Democracy.


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 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

Avenues Guest House
32 The Avenue
Tel: +27 (0)21 887 1843

Bonne Esperance Guest House
17 Van Riebeeck Street
Tel: +27 (0)21 887 0225

Caledon Villa Guest House
7 Neethling Street
Tel: +27 (0)21 883 8912

De Hoek Manor Guest House
c/o Drostdy and Church Streets
Tel: +27 (0)21 886 9988

Eendracht Hotel
161 Dorp Street
Tel: +27 (0)21 883 8843

Just Joey Guest House
13 Noordwal-Wes Street
Tel: +27 (0)21 887 1799

Life & Leisure Guest House & Apartments
20 Van Riebeeck Street
Tel: +27 (0)21 886 6955

Malans Guest House
4 Keerom Street
Tel: +27 (0)83 664 1517

Middedorp Manor
16 Van Riebeeck Street
Tel: +27 (0)21 883 9560

Oude Werf Hotel
30 Church Street
Tel: +27 (0)21 887 4608

River Manor Guest House
6 The Avenue
Tel: +27 (0)21 887 9944

Roosenwijn Guest House
c/o Neethling & Van Riebeeck Streets
Tel: +27 (0)21 883 3338

Stellenbosch Hotel
c/o Dorp & Andringa Streets
Tel: +27 (0)21 887 3033

Villa Grande Guest House
1 Keerom Street
Tel: +27 (0)21 887 8454


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: (Mrs. Amanda van Niekerk)

22 Die Laan Self-Catering Accommodation
22 Die Laan
Tel: +27 (0)21 886 8753

Quiver Tree Self-Catering Apartments
2 Faure Street, Stellenbosch
Tel: +27 (0)72 208 3433

Stellenbosch Tourism
Contact Jenna Moses for assistance with your accommodation booking:
Stellenbosch 360
36 Market Street, Stellenbosch
Tel: +27 (0)21 883 3584

Maps & 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

Zee’s Cape Tours
Tel: +27 (0)82 258 0820

Ride with Uber

Shuttle Up
Tel: +27 (0) 72 246 4592


If you have questions related to conference registration, lodging, or meals, please contact Marita Snyman at

If you have general questions related to the conference or questions related to the call for papers, please contact Kait Dugan at