ABSTRACT

I remember one of my Barthian colleagues in Utrecht once telling me that only great thinkers like Barth or Heidegger are called upon to produce an original Philosophy or Theology. Like the vast majority of philosophers and theologians, we are mere ordinary mortals who should not strive after originality but should devote our academic efforts to reproducing, propagating, explaining, commenting upon or trying to understand the thought of the great thinkers within the historical context in which they worked. It struck me at the time that this was more or less the kind of view to which I had intuitively been introduced as a student at Stellenbosch. There we studied the history of philosophy as the history of Philosophies that we were trained to understand, interpret and compare.