South African missiologist. Born near Kuruman, South Africa, Bosch graduated from the Universities of Pretoria, South Africa, and Basel, Switzerland (D.Th. in New Testament, 1957) and then went to the Transkei as a missionary of the Dutch Reformed Church. Nine years later, he was appointed to teach at the Theological School of Decoligny near Umtata, Transkei. In 1975 he was appointed professor of missiology at UNISA (University of South Africa) Pretoria, where he served until his death. He was also the first editor of its journal Missionalia.
Bosch influenced missiology worldwide through his numerous articles and books. Within southern Africa, he had lasting influence in Christian mission itself, as well as the study of missiology. He was always open to the world around him, listening carefully and with empathy, an incisive theologian with a strong pastoral inclination. His missiology was never a closed dogmatic system but was always open to new insights. He was equally welcome in ecumenical and evangelical circles, well loved in South Africa among both black and white. In 1979 he served as chairperson of the executive committee of the South African Christian Leadership Assembly, the first interracial representative gathering of South African Christians.
Among his most influential publications are A Spirituality of the Road (1979), Witness to the World (1980), and especially Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shifts in Theology of Mission (1991). To celebrate his sixtieth birthday, SAMS devoted its 1990 congress to a dialogue with him. The papers were published in a Festschrift, Mission in Creative Tension: A Dialogue with David Bosch, Willem Saayman and Klippies Kritzinger, eds. (1990).
Kevin Livingston, “A Missiology of the Road: The Theology of Mission and Evangelism in the Writings of David J. Bosch,” (Ph.D. diss., Univ. of Aberdeen, 1989) and “The Legacy of David J. Bosch,” IBMR (1999); Willem Saayman and Klippies Kritzinger, eds., Mission in Bold Humility: David Bosch’s Work Considered (1996). A collection of Bosch’s unpublished articles is kept by the Department of Missiology, UNISA, Pretoria.
This article is reproduced, with permission, from Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, copyright © 1998, by Gerald H. Anderson, W. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan. All rights reserved.