Item description for The Future of Liberation Theology: An Argument and Manifesto by Ivan Petrella...
Overview There is a notion amongst some academics that Latin American Liberation Theology has had its day. This book shows that this theology can be reinvented to bring its preferential option for the poor into the real world. It analyses the differences in democracy and capitalism as practised across the USA and Europe.
Publishers Description There is a notion amongst some academics that Latin American Liberation Theology has had its day, a dream killed off by the Nicaraguan and Salvadoran revolutions, the 1989 demise of socialism and the end of history claims of the champions of capitalism. However in this book Petrella proves this to be an ill-conceived notion, and shows that this theology can be reinvented to bring its preferential option for the poor into the real world. The actualisation of historical projects is possible by adopting the methods developed by the Brazilian champion of critical legal studies, Robert Unger. Doing so will entail the rejection of these theologians unitary concepts of a despised and rejected capitalism and a canonized and accepted socialism. Petrella argues for a reconstruction of these concepts and those of democracy and property too. He closely analyses the differences in democracy and capitalism as practised across the USA and Europe in support for the reconstruction of these concepts bringing about far-reaching suggestions for the future of liberation theology.
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Reviews - What do customers think about The Future of Liberation Theology: An Argument and Manifesto?
Well Argued Recovery of Latin American Theology of Liberation for the 21st Century Nov 7, 2009
Patrella's book is a refreshing reminder of the historical vision of Latin American Theology of Liberation. Written like a manifesto, Patrella's book sweeps through the founding voices of Latin American theology - Gustavo Gutierrez, Leonardo and Clodovis Boff, Jon Sobrino, Enrique Dussel, and others - to argue the recovery of the historical projects central to liberation, which have been lost in decades of spiritualization of liberation and fashionable declarations about 'the end of history' following the demise of socialism. Patrella denies these closures.
This quote from the books introduction outline Patrella's project:
"The time to reinvent liberation theology is now. Latin American liberation theology was born with the promise of being a theology that would not rest with merely talking about liberation but would actually help liberation people from material deprivation. If thus had two parts; a rereading of Christianity from the perspective of the oppressed and the construction of 'historical projects': models of political and economic organization that would replace an unjust status quoe. These two parts were inseparable in the pursuit of liberation...My purpose is constructive: the refashioning of liberation theology for a new century but an old challenge, the liberation of the poor." (Introduction, vii)
Chapters 1 and 2 look back to recover the missing project of history in liberation theology's inception and recovers it for the present. Chapter 3 grounds the politics of Patrella's outlook and asserts democracy as an undone historical project. Chapter 4 attacks the way capitalism has been theorized and suggests that liberation theology must rethink its approach to capitalism and socialism. The task is to look beyond capitalism vs socialism as mutually exclusive, i.e. false, alternatives. Chapter 5 looks beyond the determinism of Marx's social theory and, instead, draws on the social theory of Roberto Unger. Unger's social theory views society and institutions as much less unified and stable as often accepted. His concepts of institutional imagination and alternative pluralisms ground a fresh look at how institutions are both in flux and changable. Chapter 6 brings Patrella's argument full circle and revisits the future and possibilities of liberation theology.
I highly recommend Patrella's book to anyone - theologian or activist - who is concerned or committed to participating in history's future shape. There is a latent feeling of hope amidst malaise, which Patrella and Liberation Theology taps in the face of the triumph of the individual, triumph of the market, and quiet exclusion of the poor in a world where evangelical "freedom" and doctrine of salvation by economic growth reigns unchecked. Good read.