Department of Biblical and Ancient Studies

Prof SW van Heerden

College of Human Sciences
School of Humanities
Department: Biblical and Ancient Studies
Tel: 012 429 4687
Fax: 012 429 4495


  • DTh Old Testament (UNISA, 1988)

NRF Rating


Fields of academic interests

  • Ecological theology
  • Narrative theory and biblical interpretation
  • Biblical hermeneutics
  • African and biblical proverbs

Field of Specialisation

  • Ecological theology
  • Wisdom literature in general, Proverb studies in particular
  • Biblical hermeneutics
  • Book of Jonah


Book chapters:

  • Gous, Ignatius & Van Heerden, Willie 2006. From No Hope to New Hope. The Bible and Life Crises. Pretoria: Unibibsa Publishers.
  • Van Heerden, Willie 1999. Making Sense of, and with, the Bible. Bible Reading in a Complex World. Pretoria: Unibibsa Publishers.

Journal articles

  • 2006.”It’s on the Old Mat that One Weaves the New One”: The Dialogue between African Proverbs and Biblical Texts. Old Testament Essays 19/2, 429-440.
  • 2006. Finding Africa in the Old Testament: Some Hermeneutical and Methodological Considerations. Old Testament Essays 19/2, 500-524.
  • 2008. Strategies applied by interpreters of the paradox in Proverbs 26:4-5. Journal for Semitics 17/2, 591-617.
  • 2009. Taking Stock of Old Testament Scholarship on Environmental Issues in South Africa: The Main Contributions and Challenges. Old Testament Essays 22/3, 695-718.
  • 2014. Ecological Interpretations of the Jonah Narrative — have they succeeded in overcoming Anthropocentrism? Journal for Semitics 23/1, 114-134.
  • 2014. Dealing with the History-Nature Dualism in Ecological Theology. Journal for Semitics 23/2, 547-568.
  • 2017. Shades of Green —  or Grey? Towards an Ecological Interpretation of Jonah 4:6-11. Old Testament Essays 30/2. 459-477.

Professional positions, fellowships & awards

  • Coordinator: Ecology Group, Old Testament Society of South Africa
  • Coordinator: Community Bible Schools Project
  • Academic consultant: Ecology Task Team of the General Synod of the Dutch Reformed Church


  • Ecology Group, Old Testament Society of South Africa
  • Community Bible Schools Project (Departmental Community Engagement Project)