Article

Religious Responses to Environmental Crises in the Orange Free State Republic, C. 1896-C. 1898

Citation

Steyn P (2018) Religious Responses to Environmental Crises in the Orange Free State Republic, C. 1896-C. 1898. Perichoresis, 16 (4), pp. 95-113. https://doi.org/10.2478/perc-2018-0025

Abstract
The purpose of this article is to explore the religious responses within the Orange Free State republic to the environmental crises in the period c. 1896 to c. 1898. During this time the state was subjected to severe drought, flooding, and the outbreak of various diseases. The article examines the way in which these afflictions where interpreted by the Christian and wider community in terms of God's wrath for unrepented sins. The persistence of synchronistic elements of folk religion was seen to have brought plagues like those found in Exodus which were visited upon the Pharaoh and his kingdom. This interruptive frame work led to calls for national repentance, but also a resistance to scientific and medical resolutions to the crises. It also reinforced racial divisions. Black Africans were perceived as the carriers of the disease so their movement was prohibited. The article goes on to show how the effect of this biblical frame of reference protected the concept of God as the ever-present active God in every aspect of life against the scientific rationalism of the age, while at the same time ironically hindering the work of mission and the life of the church

Keywords
crisis; environment; religion; response; Orange Free State Republic

Journal
Perichoresis: Volume 16, Issue 4

StatusPublished
Publication date31/12/2018
Publication date online24/12/2018
Date accepted by journal01/02/2018
URLhttp://hdl.handle.net/1893/28793