Die sluitingsdatum vir hierdie vakature is verby en aansoeke word nie meer ingewag nie.

Area of postdoctoral research project: A qualitative analysis of the hermeneutical dynamics operative in the interpretation of the scriptures of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.


• A PhD from any recognised and accredited tertiary institution in South Africa or abroad;

• The PhD must have been obtained after 1 January 2014 (thus no longer than 5 years ago);

• The research field of the PhD must have been in Old Testament/Hebrew Bible, New Testament, Qur’an studies, or religion studies, or any related field;

• The PhD study must have included a hermeneutical focus.


• A keen interest in the interpretation of the scriptures of any (or all) of the three monotheistic religious traditions represented in South Africa;

• Some exposure to, or experience in, qualitative research methods;

• A team player with an openness towards critical engagement and research development.


• Planning of a research project (as outlined in the appendix);

• Setting up the infrastructure for the qualitative research project;

• Implementing the initial stages of data collection and analysis;

• Writing of research outputs (such as scientific articles to be published in accredited journals/books);

• Advising the project team on the further development of the proposed Centre for the Interpretation of Authoritative Scriptures (CIAS) at Stellenbosch University.

Value of postdoctoral fellowship: Typically R180 000 per annum, renewable for a second year (2020), depending on satisfactory research progress and outputs.

[Take note that this is a bursary without any employee benefits, and that all further expenses such as travel and costs for moving to Stellenbosch/Western Cape will be the responsibility of the successful candidate.]

To apply:

Send (i) a cover letter, (ii) a CV (with full particulars of previous studies, research foci and experience), and (iii) the names and contact details of three referees (of which one should be the doctoral supervisor) to prof Louis Jonker (

Also send (iv) an abstract of no more than 500 words of how you would plan and implement the proposed postdoctoral project as described in the appendix.

Closing date/time for applications: 31 October 2018 by 12:00 noon.

Only full aplications (as indicated above) will be accepted.

Starting date: 15 January 2019.



A project is presently based at Stellenbosch University to investigate the viability and theoretical basis for establishing a Centre for the Interpretation of Authoritative Scriptures (in ancient and contemporary contexts) [shortly, CIAS] at the said university. The project is jointly funded for the period 2018-2020 by the National Research Foundation (NRF) as well as the office of the Vice Rector (Research & Innovation) of Stellenbosch University. During 2018 some consultations were held to develop the theoretical basis for the proposed centre, and to establish contact with local South African and international scholars having an interest in the hermeneutics of the three scriptural traditions. During 2019 some pilot research projects (through a Master’s study, a PhD project, and this postdoctoral project) will be started, while the project team will continue developing the research and physical infrastructure for the proposed centre. The focus in the centre will eventually be on the academic analysis of the hermeneutical processes that brought about the scriptures of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, that facilitated their transmission processes and (in some cases) canonisation, that regulated the history of interpretation in each tradition, and that determine contemporary interpretations of these scriptures in the South African society. This research wants to contribute to developing a hermeneutical basis for dialogue between the three traditions on the interpretation of their scriptures. As a further spin-off, the project could also contribute to social cohesion in South Africa, in contrast to social conflict.

Outline of proposed postdoctoral project:

The successful postdoctoral fellow will be required to plan, set up, and implement a qualitative empirical project in which the hermeneutical strategies that determine the pluriformity of interpretations of the scriptures of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam can be described and analysed. The desire is that such an initial descriptive project will lead the project team to a deeper understanding of the dynamics of interpretation in the three scriptural traditions, as well as to how the dynamics of interpretation impact on dialogue between these traditions. It will be expected of the successful candidate to utilise descriptive qualitative instruments that had been developed in former projects on intercultural Bible reading for the benefit of this new project. The project team is well aware of the fact that such a qualitative empirical project will need more than two years to complete, and will therefore plan the required progress in the period of the fellowship in consultation with the successful candidate after appointment. The agreements will be formalised in a memorandum of understanding. The successful candidate will have full access to the SU library and research facilities. Further needs in terms of research infrastructure will be finalised in consultation with the successful candidate and the Faculty of Theology at Stellenbosch University.