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Climate Change and the Common Good: Some Reflections from the South African Context

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This article is based on the observation that any theological discourse is always from a particular location and a particular point of view, which is immediately recognized by others. At the same time, any (theological) discourse cannot escape the use of universals, of common categories that we need to communicate with others. We make constructions of the whole, of that which is common, albeit that we ineluctably make particular constructions of the whole. This poses particular challenges for discourse on the common good in the context of public theology. On this basis the article investigates a selection of ecclesial statements on climate change produced during the course of the year 2009 alone that are available in English. It focuses on how these statements handle the dilemma of speaking about the universal and the particular, given the moral ambiguities surrounding any Christian discourse on climate change. It argues that most of these documents are plagued with problems of reception; namely, whether the stipulated addressees would actually receive and read the documents, let alone respond to them appropriately.

Affiliations: 1: University of the Western Cape South Africa


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