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A Theology of Liberation: History, Politics, and Salvation (15th Anniversary Edition with New Introduction by Author) Paperback – March 1, 1988


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 334 pages
  • Publisher: Orbis Books; Revised edition (March 1, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0883445425
  • ISBN-13: 978-0883445426
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #62,983 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English, Spanish (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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The book was not light reading for me, but it is well worth the effort.
Novice
Having just read LOVE IN A TIME OF HATE, I bought this book expecting to read flesh-and-blood examples of liberation theology as brought into the streets.
Craig Chalquist, PhD, author of TERRAPSYCHOLOGY and DEEP CALIFORNIA
I thank Gustavo Gutierrez for his life, his amazing humility and compassion...in total, for his example of service to humanity!
Mary Navarro Farr

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 44 people found the following review helpful By jergq@aol.com on March 26, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is the first and probably the most crucial book on Liberation Theology to follow Vatican II and the Medellin conferences. It's not an easy book to read, but it will challenge you, as well as challenge what you think you know about liberation theology. For any student of modern theology this book is well worth the time and effort. Robert McAfee Brown's summary book is no substitute for the real thing.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on February 17, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A Theology of Liberation is a recognized classic in its field, which, one can even say, the author, Peruvian Dominican monk, Gustavo Gutierrez, literally invented the field since he coined the term "Liberation Theology" in a 1969 paper on the subject, shortly after the 1968 Medellin conference of Bishops, at which he was a consultant.

The book may be one of the first full explorations of what is now called "contextual theologies", presentations of Christian theology "from the underside", from the point of view of the severely, chronically disadvantaged peoples of the world. The long and the short of this book is that the importance of Gutierrez message deserves its weighty title, but Gutierrez weakens his case by slighting contemporary and historical theology and ignoring some central "theological" issues. But the book has reached the status of "classic" and for that reason deserves to be read today.

What may surprise some people is the fact that Gutierrez is not presenting a radical point of view. The book follows hard on a decade of dramatic moves by the Catholic Church, beginning with Pope John XXIII's 1963 encyclical, Pacem in Terris, the first addressed to the whole world, rather than to the Catholic faithful. The eventful half decade ended with the close of the Vatican Council II, under Pope Paul VI and his 1968 encyclical, Populorum Progressio, which stated that the economy of the world should serve everyone, not a privileged few. Thus, Gutierrez is firmly within the heart of Catholic teachings, when he speaks for the disadvantaged of the almost entirely Catholic continent of South America.

The sense of "contextual theology" is that doctrines grow out of the circumstances and practice (praxis) of a particular part of the world.
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36 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Craig Chalquist, PhD, author of TERRAPSYCHOLOGY and DEEP CALIFORNIA on April 7, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
...penned by the man who coined the term "Liberation Theology," which later inspired Ignacio Martin-Baro's "Liberation Psychology," for which he was martyred by a Salvadoran hit team.
My impression was that this was written mainly for clergy getting their activist feet wet. In that sense the book is an invaluable milestone. Because of this, it poses liberation (in the sense of liberation from oppressive social conditions like poverty and tyranny) as an intellectual issue, historically and theologically. Correction: it appeals to an intellectual understanding of what the author obviously has lived and felt very deeply.
Having just read LOVE IN A TIME OF HATE, I bought this book expecting to read flesh-and-blood examples of liberation theology as brought into the streets. You won't find much of that here. It's more of an account of how the movement has gone on in circles theological. As such, it poses vital questions to believers and clergy alike--questions of conscience, questions of the relevance of Scripture and the risks involved in living a Christian life of service and conscience in perilous situations.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By odysseus on December 31, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Even if one is not an adherent of Liberation Theology, this work is vital to understanding how honest religion and social justice are inseparable. Truly, what could be more sinful than the hoarding of wealth in the face of human suffering? However, this book is rather academic in nature and, while appealing to those with a passion for sociology and philosophy, may be a bit overwhelming for people seeking a less technical introduction to liberation theology. Nevertheless, I found it a very rewarding read and have highlighted many quotations from the book. I do disagree that it is the task of religion to develop the social structure to accomplish justice in the world. Rather, I believe the task for religion, insomuch as it relates to social justice, is to magnify the morality of life in the human heart, thereby effectuating social justice in the world via the enhanced morality of humanity. The mission of Christ was not to establish government, but rather to establish the WORD in the hearts of men. Humanity cannot seem to grasp the fact that social justice will not be rendered into the world by the means of any specific system of government. Social justice will come into the world only when it is solidified in the hearts of men, to the extent that it becomes the popular culture, and to the extent that it becomes the thing that is most elevated in humanity.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Novice on December 17, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Serious reading. An indepth look at a complex topic, well-written and documented. Seventy-five pages of notes on the text, most helpful. Pages of biblical references. You'll feel that you have a good understanding of the topic. The book was not light reading for me, but it is well worth the effort.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Steven H Propp TOP 100 REVIEWER on July 20, 2010
Format: Paperback
Gustavo Gutiérrez Merino (born 1928) is a Peruvian theologian and Dominican priest who is regarded as the founder of Liberation Theology. He holds the John Cardinal O'Hara Professorship of Theology at the University of Notre Dame.

He states in the Introduction to this 1971 book, "This book is an attempt at reflection, based on the Gospel and the experiences of men and women committed to the process of liberation in the oppressed and exploited land of Latin America... Our purpose is ... to reconsider the great themes of the Christian life within this radically changed perspective and with regard to the new questions posed by this commitment. This is the goal of the so-called theology of liberation."

He writes, "Since God has become man, humanity, every man, history, is the living temple of God. The 'pro-fane,' that which is located outside the temple, no longer exists." He adds, "The Christian ... has not perceived clearly enough yet that to know God IS to do justice." Later, he states, "One must be extremely careful not to replace a Christianity of the Beyond with a Christianity of the Future; if the former tended to forget the world, the latter runs the risk of neglecting a miserable and unjust present and the struggle for liberation."

He concludes on the note, "The theology of liberation attempts to reflect on the experience and meaning of the faith based on the commitment to abolish injustice and to build a new society; this theology must be verified by the practice of that commitment, by active, effective participation in the struggle which the exploited social classes have undertaken against their oppressors. Liberation from every form of exploitation, the possibility of a more human and more dignified life, the creation of a new man---all pass through this struggle."
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