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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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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.Read more ›
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.
A Theology of Liberation is a dense, detailed, intense and difficult volume to comprehend. Esoteric language is often used and uncommon words found throughout. It probably doesn’t help that the book was originally written in Spanish and translated and retranslated into English. I found it redundant, repetitive and contradictory at times, nevertheless key concepts emerge. Some of the most important ones are:
• Liberation theology is not a call for social and economic development (which is rejected) but a call for revolution (pp. 16-17), a permanent culture revolution (p. 21) that may include violence (p. 64).
• It is a rejection of capitalism and promotion of socialism (pp. 17, 20, 54-55, 65-66, 116, 158-159). There must be liberation from capitalistic countries, especially the United States, and overthrow of private ownership of property (p. 150).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
From a theological point of view, there is very little merit. NEVERTHELESS, Gutierrez, is HIGHLY deceitful about his secular political leanings. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Kenneth J. Macari
I (and millions of others) spend HOURS a day in a commute - given the complexities of life having time to exclusively read is a luxury I do not have. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Yetanotherguy
If you are tired of boring theology that is all about head knowledge, this book is for you. If you want something different that will change your life, read this book!Published 11 months ago by Amazon Customer
If I could give this book a negative 5 stars, I would do it. It kidnaps the very essence of what Christianity is all about: FREEDOM OF CHOICE. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Laura
This is a tough book for me. I lean libertarian, honestly. But this has made me reassess, and leaves me with a lot of questions for myself. Read morePublished 13 months ago by David Eaton
I have not read this book, nor will I ever, considering what I recently read about who created Liberation Theology. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Phoenixguy
In the modern socio-political climate a work of this nature initially appears radical in its approach and conclusions. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Andrew Fellows