• james r. cochrane
  • Professor, Department of Religious Studies/
    Research Institute on Christianiity in South Africa


    Contact Information
    Current Projects
    Biographical (for the bored)
    Personal Interests
    The More Interesting Stuff?

  • Contact Information

    E-mail: cochrane@socsci.uct.ac.za

  • Use email for the most secure communication--I will usually respond!
  • Snail-mail: Dept of Religious Studies, University of Cape Town
    Private Bag, Rondebosch 7701, Rep. of South Africa

    Web address (RICSA): http://www.uct.ac.za/depts/ricsa.html

  • This takes you to information on RICSA's programmes & activities.
  • Office phone: +27 21 650 3461 / 3458 / 3452

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    Current Projects (selected)

    Overall Theme: Church & Theology in Public Life
    1. Religious & cultural resources for reconstructing civil society

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    Biographical (only for the bored!)

  • Married, to Renate: a memorable ceremony in Waldenburg, Germany, 28th June 1978, ten days after Theo Kotze had illegally left SA to take over the Christian Institute in Holland, with him and Jürgen Moltmann (friend to Renate) officiating.
  • Three children, all wonderful of course: Thembisa is 14, Thandeka is 12, and Tebo is 7.
  • Born in Krugersdorp, South Africa, a long time ago; Scots grandfather (the name--naturally!), and three "Boer" grandparents, one of German, one of Flemish, and one of Hugenot origin. Grew up English-speaking. Still, you can see where the stubborn rebellious streak comes from.
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    Personal Interests

  • Besides too much work, I enjoy being in (boogie board and body surfing) and on (surfski boating, wave-skiing) the water, mostly in Hout Bay, Cape Town, where we live.
  • Classical, folk, some jazz, rock and variouis other music (audiophile quality); casual chess; novels when possible; hiking in the mountains; computer is my playground; lay reading in cosmology
  • Gourmet cooking (doesn't happen often--not with fussy kids who want simple tastes!); photography (when it was cheaper); quality film and television; occasional woodworking; design; wines; desk top publishing; and ....
  • .......(well, sport, almost any ball sport--yes, I am a Bafana Bafana fan)!
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    Selected Publications


    1. Servants of Power. Johannesburg: Ravan, 1987. 278pp.
    2. Church and Labour. Johannesburg: Skotaville, 1986. 54pp.
    3. In Word and Deed: Towards a Practical Theology for Social Transformation. With J W de Gruchy & R Petersen. Pietermaritzburg: Cluster Publications, 1990. 153pp.
    4. The Three-Fold Cord: Theology, Work and Labour. Editor, with G West. Pietermaritzburg: Cluster Publications, 1991. 288pp.
    5. (Forthcoming) Circles of Dignity: Incipient Theologies and the Integrity of Faith in a Postcolonial Age. (Fortress Press). 200pp.
    Selected Essays in Books
    1. Christian Resistance to Apartheid: Periodisation, Prognosis. In Christianity in Southern Africa, M. Prozesky (ed), London: MacMillan, 1990; pp. 81-100.
    2. Christian Conservatism and the Human Project: a Historic Struggle. In A Democratic Vision for South Africa, Prof K Nürnberger (ed), Pietermaritzburg: Encounter Publications, 1991; pp.60-70.
    3. Nation-building: a Socio-Theological Perspective. In Building a New Nation, W S Vorster (ed), Pretoria: UNISA, 1991; pp. 51-75.
    4. Workers, the Church and the Alienation of Religious Life, with A Bhiman, N Taki, N Mvambo & N Ngada. In The Three-Fold Cord: Theology, Work and Labour, J R Cochrane & G West (eds), Pietermaritzburg, Cluster Publications, 1991; pp 253-275.
    5. Christianity in South Africa during a Period of National Consolidation, 1912-1948. In The History of Christianity in South Africa, J W Hofmeyr & Prof G J Pillay (eds), Haum: Pretoria, 1994.
    6. Theology and Faith: Tradition, Criticism and Popular Religion. In Theology and Praxis Volume 1, J de Gruchy & C Villa-Vicencio (eds), Cape Town: David Philip, 1994. Pp. 26-39.
    7. Resistance, Reconstruction and Theology: Truth and Method in Question and Under Fire. In The Relevance of Theology for the 1990’s, J Mouton & B Lategan (eds), Pretoria: HSRC, 1994. Pp. 59-82.
    8. Redeeming the Broken Body: Salvation and the Reconstruction of Society. In Happiness, Well-Being and the Meaning of Life: A Dialogue of Social Science and Religion, V. Brummer & Marcel Sarot (eds), Studies in Philosophy Series, Utrecht: Kok-Pharos, 1996. Pages 76-98.
    9. God and the World: The Possibility of the New. In Bonhoeffer for a New Age, ed. J de Gruchy. Eerdmans, 1997, pp.

    Selected Journal Articles

    1. Christ and Culture: Now and Then, Journal of Theology for Southern Africa, June 1990; pp3-17.
    2. War, Remembrance and Reconstruction, with G O West, Journal of Theology for Southern Africa, Vol. 84, September 1993, pp25-40.
    3. Participating in Power: Elections, the Church and a Democratic Citizenry, Journal of Theology for Southern Africa, Vol. 86, Mar 1994. Pp.39-51.
    4. God in Context: The Symbolic Construction of a Religious Universe in a Base Christian Community, Scriptura S12, 1994. Pp. 35-56.
    5. The Grave, the Song and a Gestalt: Local Theologies and the Integrity of Faith, Scriptura S11, 1995. Pp. 116-130.
    6. Review Article: A Critical Review of Charles Villa-Vicencio’s Theology of Reconstruction, in Journal for the Study of Religion, 8:1, 85-95, March 1995.
    7. Conversation or Collaboration? Base Christian Communities and the Dialogue of Faith, Scriptura Vol 57, 1996:2. Pp.103-124.
    8. Through the Unknown, Remembered Gate: On Three Oppositions in the Meeting of Contexts, Scriptura Vol 85, 1996:3. Pp.233-250.
    9. Übergang und Wandel in Südafrika, ein Jahr danach: Bemerkungen zu einer sozio-theologischen Stimmung, Evangelische Theologie, Vol 2-96, 1996, pp.171-189.
    10. Theology and the formation of public policy: The church and the reconstruction of South African society. Journal of Theology for Southern Africa, 97, March 1997, pp. 1-15.
    11. The Boundaries of Hegemony: Configuring Public Space From The Margins. Scriptura, 1997. 18 pages.
    12. Religious and Social Transformation in Plural Africa: Challenges and Constraints. Journal of Theology for Southern Africa, 20th Anniversary Edition, November 1997.

    Research Reports

    1. Report on Human Sexuality: Contemporary Dimensions in a Theological Perspective, for the United Congregational Church, 1992, 19 pages.
    2. Report on The Symbolic Construction of Religious Meaning in Selected Local Base Christian Communities, HSRC Research Project, 1994, 30 pages.
    3. Report on The Contextualisation of Theological Education, proceedings and documents of the National Consultation, Pietermaritzburg, 1996, 45 pages.

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    The More Interesting Stuff?

    Dry trivial humour is my hallmark! You want some examples? OK .... go ahead!

    A current favourite quote, a current favourite book, etc. .......... try it out.

    An article that seems better than most ..... go for it.

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    Last Revised: JRC 5 May1998