Blessed? A critical analysis of salvation in Denise Ackermann that portrays human flourishing as liberation, grace and the goodness of life

Nadia Marais


Happiness and human flourishing has increasingly become a theological
research focus in a variety of theological disciplines, including systematic theology (cf
Charry, 2012), practical theology (cf Long, 2012) and biblical theology (cf Strawn, 2012). In
systematic theology the focus of such research often is often creation, salvation and
eschatology. The doctrine of salvation has particularly interesting (including etymological)
connections with the notions of well-being and health. This paper, which forms part of PhD
research on human flourishing, proposes to do a critical analysis of renowned Circle theologian
Denise Ackermann’s understanding of salvation, since (1) feminist theology (and feminist
theologians) has a particular concern for the ‘flourishing of all’, and (2) African theological
voices on human flourishing should contribute to the emerging theological thinking on human
flourishing. In this paper, it will be argued that salvation in Ackermann’s thought is infused
with the vision for ‘abundant life for all’, which culminates with the notion of


Human flourishing; Feminist theology; Liberation theology; Practical theology; Salvation; Christian doctrine

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ISSN 2226-2385 (online); ISSN 0028-2006 (print)

© 2014 Pieter de Waal Neethling Trust, Stellenbosch.

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