Being human in the time of Covid-19

HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies. 2020;76(1):e1-e6 DOI 10.4102/hts.v76i1.6029


Journal Homepage

Journal Title: HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies

ISSN: 0259-9422 (Print); 2072-8050 (Online)

Publisher: AOSIS

Society/Institution: Reformed Theological College of the Netherdutch Reformed Church of Africa, at the Faculty of Theology of the University of Pretoria, Pretoria (South Africa)

LCC Subject Category: Philosophy. Psychology. Religion: The Bible | Philosophy. Psychology. Religion: Practical Theology

Country of publisher: South Africa

Language of fulltext: English, Dutch, Afrikaans

Full-text formats available: PDF, HTML, ePUB, XML



Johann-Albrecht Meylahn (Department of Practical Theology, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, Pretoria)


Double blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 15 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

The novel coronavirus – officially named severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), causing a disease (Covid-19) which has flu-like symptoms – seems to be responsible for the current global lockdown or maybe one can even refer to it as a global event. Neither the virus nor the disease that it causes is truly novel, as the virus is part of the SARS virus family and therefore known, and likewise the symptoms of the disease (Covid-19) are also well known, even flu-like, and therefore also not novel. Yet, what is truly novel about the virus or the disease it causes is its effect, not specifically referring to the health effect, but its global socio-economic and political effect. It is for the first time in the history of humanity that such drastic global lockdown measures have been taken and that governments have taken the conscious decisions to ‘lay lame’ (cripple) their economies. Such a radical decision is truly novel. Besides the economic ‘lockdown’, there are numerous socio-economic repercussions; for example, in a single day, millions (3.3. million) of citizens in the United States file for unemployment, and similarly in many other countries. Covid-19 is a challenge to the economies of the world, to society at large, to the poor and vulnerable in particular, and to individuals who are ‘locked safely’ in their homes. Religious institutions, which traditionally provide collective meaning, can no longer gather in public places, and offer communal solace. Covid-19 maybe challenges what being human means, or at least, what one has come to believe concerning the meaning of being human. In this article, this question of being human in the time of Covid-19 will be explored.