New Testament Society of Southern Africa

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New Testament Society
of Southern Africa

The vision of the NTSSA is to be the scholarly home for those committed to the research and teaching of the New Testament and related writings, primarily in the context of South Africa and the African continent.

  • academic excellence
  • the free flow of information and healthy debate
  • tolerance for various viewpoints and approaches
  • interdisciplinarity
  • equity
  • mutual support
  • diversity as an asset and
  • transparency.

Research

Teaching

Publication

Equity

The purpose of the Society is to encourage, develop and support scholarship and research in the field of New Testament and early Christian studies and related disciplines, specifically within the South African context, to stimulate effective teaching, to promote publication in the field, and to offer its members opportunities for mutual support, intellectual growth, and professional development.

Events & Community

Annual Conference, Potchefstroom University, 26-29 June 2023

Tributes – In Memoriam…

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Petra Dijkhuizen (Click to Read Tribute by Prof. Marius Nel)

Pieternella (Petra) Dijkhuizen passed away from cancer on the 2nd of January 2024, leaving a profound void in the Southern African academic community.

Born on the 22nd of November 1965 in Harderwijk in the Netherlands, Petra started her academic journey by first qualifying as a teacher before obtaining a Master of Divinity in World Evangelization from Tyndale Theological Seminary, as well as Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Theology (all cum laude) from the University of South Africa. At the time of her untimely death, Petra was pursuing a PhD in New Testament Studies under the supervision of Prof Pieter Botha.

Petra began her career in Southern Africa by teaching English and Biblical Studies at Kingsgate High School in Lesotho (1991) before becoming a lecturer at Mukhanyo Theological College in KwaMhlanga (1999). She was also a lecturer and researcher at the University of South Africa (2007-2012) and a researcher at the University of the Free State (2016-2024).

Petra’s commitment as an editor (2013-2017) and administrator (2018-2024) of Neotestamentica, the academic journal of the New Testament Society of Southern Africa, was unparalleled. She had an exemplary work ethic, a meticulous nature, and a genuine commitment to the journal. It is in this capacity, and as treasurer of the New Testament Society of Southern Africa, that Petra managed to secure the financial sustainability of both entities. We will be forever grateful and indebted to her for this astonishing achievement. This legacy of hers will continue to empower future generations of African scholars.

Petra’s willingness to assist everyone who needed help, along with her unwavering professionalism, has left an indelible mark on all the lives she touched. Her boldness to confront obstacles will be deeply missed and her absence is keenly felt by all who knew her.

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Canon Prof. John Suggit (Click to Read Tribute by Petra Dijkhuizen)

Canon Prof. John Suggit passed away on 30 July 2023 at the age of 101. He was a longstanding member and, in his later years, honorary member of the NTSSA (1977–2023). He also continued to be active as Prof. Emeritus of New Testament at Rhodes University until his death.

The NTSSA published a Festschrift when he turned 80 in 2002 – Neotestamentica 36 (1&2).

See https://www.jstor.org/stable/i40118260

This was coordinated and co-edited by Jonathan Draper, McGlory Speckman and Nicholas Taylor.

In 2016 Prof. Suggit contributed to the 50-Year-Anniversary issue of Neotestamentica (50.3) when I was editor.

He wrote an article for that special edition titled: “Jesus’s True Crown.” It turned out to be his last contribution to Neotestamentica.

The 2002 Festschrift includes “An Appreciation” by Bishop Duncan Buchanan titled: “John Suggit Humble Scholar and Man of God”

Buchanan relates the centrality of the eucharist in John Suggit’s life and teaching:

He [John Suggit] made a profound impression on his students at Rhodes by … his amazing ability to relate virtually everything in the New Testament to the eucharist. The students of denominations other than Anglican, and for whom the eucharist was not so important, were mesmerised by what they believed to be a sort of academic sleight of hand, but learned also to appreciate the deep devotion to our Lord in the eucharist which was at the heart of Johns spirituality. (p. xiii)

I can testify to this as well from my personal life. The two times that I wrote an article on the Lord’s Supper in Neotestamentica (50.2 and 55.2) there was a response from John Suggit. In one of his communications he ends with the exclamation: “the unravelling of the mystery of the eucharist has no ending!” But for John this mystery was not outside of himself; it was profoundly personal. He cherished Augustine’s words in this regard: “Since then you are the Body of Christ and his members, it is your mystery that is placed in the Lord’s Table; it is your mystery that you receive” (Sermon 272, PL 38.1247). In the same vein John asserted: “So in our Christian liturgy, the words ‘This is my body’ means ‘This is myself, now risen’ both as a person and as members of the Body of Christ.”

We are honoured to have known Prof. John Suggit.

Petra Dijkhuizen

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Professor Gerhard Daniel (Daan) Cloete (Click to Read Tribute by Prof. Bernard Combrink)

It is with great sadness that we learned of the passing on of our esteemed colleague prof Daan Cloete. After serving as minister in the former Dutch Reformed Missionary Church in Worcester-South, he completed his doctoral dissertation (“Hemelse Solidariteit: ‘n Weg in die relasie tussen Christologie en Soteriologie in die Vierde Evangelie”) with distinction in Kampen under the supervision of the renowned professor Herman Ridderbos. On returning to South Africa, he joined the Faculty of Theology at the UWC as Professor in New Testament, and later served as Dean. He was an active member of the NTSSA, participating for many years amongst others in the subgroup dealing with the Fourth Gospel. He also was a longstanding member of the international New Testament Society (Societas Novi Testamentum Studiorum).

Prof Cloete not only was Dean of the Faculty of Theology at the UWC, but he also served as acting Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UWC during the transitional period between the terms of Professors Jakes Gerwel and Cecil Abrahams.

Through the years he regularly attended annual meetings as well as subgroup meetings of the NTSSA in the Western Cape at various locations. He recently served as Honorary President of our Society for 2019-2020 in recognition of his contributions through his long career to the study of the New Testament in the academy, church, and the broader society. He was also involved already from the planning stages, and also as an exegete translator, and an esteemed member of the Steering Committee of the 2020-Afrikaans translation of the Bible. He underscored the importance of this translation for the life of his church. As his colleagues, but also as his friends, we came to know and love him through the years in different contexts as a gentle and humble person, with a fine sense of humour, and respecting his often quiet but resolute convictions.

Due to his numerous international academic contacts, the Society often benefited from international colleagues visiting him at the UWC and then also contributing to and sharing in our conferences. His memorial service held on Sunday 6th August 2023 in the URCSA congregation of Belville, was streamed live to various international locations, again testifying to his broad number of international and ecumenical contacts and friends. It also became evident that he demanded the utmost respect from his former students and colleagues because his life and teaching instilled in them academic integrity, respect for the wisdom and insight of people from all backgrounds, also to strive for reconciliation and justice in complex situations, working towards a theology and ethics of interconnectedness and solidarity. It is therefore fitting that he published a volume “Vrede vloei soos ’n rvier: Oor die strome van my lewe.”

It was an honour to have Professor Daan Cloete as a member and Honorary President of our Society, as a colleague but also as a friend. We shall dearly mis him and honour his rich contributions and impact in the life of the academe, church, and society.

Bernard Combrink

How to become an NTSSA member

  • Click on “Apply” (new members) or “Register” (returning members)
  • Choose the fee in accordance with the Society’s sliding scale fee structure
  • Click on “Checkout”
  • Follow the steps to complete your order
  • Membership is active for one year (from date of application) upon which you need to renew

Once this website registration is completed, the new member has access to all the content available on the Society’s website, including information on conferences, minutes of meetings, the NTSSA membership list, and current and back issues of the Society’s journal – Neotestamentica.

Members are eligible to present papers at the Society’s annual conference and to receive financial assistance from the Scholars’ Development Fund in order to be able to attend conferences and workshops. Members have voting rights when they are present at business meetings, whether in-person or virtual.

Neotestamentica is the Journal of the NTSSA, which has been published annually since 1966 and currently provides two issues per annum with a total of about 450 pages. The journal showcases South African and African scholarship, including the publishing of contributions from the annual conference of the NTSSA. Submissions by international experts in the field of New Testament are also most welcome. A critical book review section is included in each issue. The journal has 125 print subscribers Around 75 of these represent international libraries in prestigious universities worldwide. Of the latter many are now moving from print to electronic subscription. Members of the NTSSA, also, have opted to start reading their journal electronically. They have free online access to the Neotestamentica homepage on the Project Muse platform.

Books for Review

Books for review are available in the categories below. If you are interested, please contact Dr. Philip du Toit at Philip.DuToit@nwu.ac.za

A book review is an important part of an academic’s publication portfolio. Apart from introducing new research, a book review showcases the reviewer’s expertise. The benefit of a book review in Neotestamentica is the fact that the full text of a book review may be distributed publicly, immediately after publication. A book review in Neotestamentica can thus be uploaded to academic social media platforms to enhance the exposure of an academic’s publication profile. Internet searches on book reviews normally tend to draw more attention than specialised articles.

Gospels / Jesus

General Letters

Grammar

Pauline Letters or Related

Revelation

Board of Executives

Chairperson

Marius Nel
Stellenbosch University

Secretary

Gertrud Tonsing
Lutheran Theological Institute

Treasurer

Petra Dijkhuizen
University of the Free State

Journal Editor

Pieter Botha
University of South Africa

Development Officer

Paul Adebayo
Stellenbosch University

Media Officer

Joel Brown
Stellenbosch University

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