Reading ‘blackface’: A (narrative) introduction to Richard Kearney’s notion of carnal hermeneutics

HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies. 2016;72(3):e1-e9 DOI 10.4102/hts.v72i3.3122


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



Helgard Pretorius (Faculty of Theology, Vrije Universiteit, the Netherlands; Faculty of Theology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa)


Double blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 15 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

Prominent Irish philosopher Richard Kearney’s notion of ‘carnal hermeneutics’ is introduced by applying it to a case study of a recent event that took place at one of South Africa’s university campuses. The narrative assists in illuminating some of the core principles of carnal hermeneutics and illustrates the applicability of carnal hermeneutics as a ‘diagnostic caring for lived existence’. In the process, an analysis is also given of the event in question, which is connected to what has widely been labelled as ‘blackface’. In conclusion, the contextual, philosophical, ethical, and theological implications of carnal hermeneutics are explored with an eye on theological praxes in South Africa today.   Keywords: Carnal Hermeneutics; Hermeneutics; Flesh; Body; Richard Kearney; Merleau-Ponty; Ricoeur; Blackface