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Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae

On-line version ISSN 2412-4265
Print version ISSN 1017-0499

Studia Hist. Ecc. vol.36  suppl.1 Pretoria Jul. 2010


"Direct experience of God": A quest for refinement and illumination in Christian faith and practice



Jennifer Slater

Department of Philosophy and Systematic Theology. University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa




"Direct experience of God", a concept that is frequently used by theologians, was a topic Simon Maimela wrestled with in conjunction with his students since its meaning became increasingly complicated through the processes of secularisation. In the 1960's, it was asserted that modern people cannot have a direct experience of God; albeit one could still live by faith and by commitment to religious values in a world which claimed that "God is dead". This article explores the concept "experiencing God directly" according to Karl Rahner, who situates a direct experience of God in a human self-transcendent (philosophical-theological) environment. This article is an effort to return to theology's historical quest of ascertaining the experiential relevance of God in a human milieu that is often riddled with social, human, economic, political and cultural complexities. It is also a tribute to Simon Maimela, who did not hesitate to present his students with theologically challenging topics for academic exploration.



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