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The Hope of Liberation in World Religions

Miguel A. De La Torre, editor

Publication Year: 2008

Liberation theology emphasizes the Christian mission to bring justice to the poor and oppressed. As a part of Christian theology, liberation theology has been most frequently associated with the Catholic Church in Latin America. This groundbreaking work seeks to identify how the theological concepts of liberation theology might be manifested within other world faith traditions.

This is thus the first book that attempts to find a “common ground” for liberation theology across religions. All of the contributors are scholars who share the religion or belief system they describe. Throughout, they endeavor to articulate liberationist concepts from the perspective of those who have been marginalized.

Published by: Baylor University Press

Front Cover

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Title page


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. 1-12

Cuernavaca, Mexico is known worldwide as “The City of Eternal Spring.” This charming resort city is a tourist attraction for Mexicans and foreigners who come to enjoy its many gardens, tennis courts, spas, golf courses, bathing resorts, gourmet restaurants, and luxury hotels. Tourists can browse through its many quaint shops for ...

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1: Catholicism

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pp. 13-34

In this essay I will analyze the development of Catholic-based Latin American liberation theology in the 1970s and 1980s in what I will call its “classical” phase, and then describe the crisis of that stage of liberation theology and the emergence of a new stage of liberation theologies that focus on new constituencies: women, Afro-Latin peoples, ...

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2: Protestantism

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pp. 35-50

Liberation theology is misunderstood if it is seen mostly as a Roman Catholic phenomenon, invented by a select group of Latin American authors in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Crucial for the understanding of any liberation theology is that, unlike most other forms of theology, liberation theologies do not have their beginnings with great ideas developed in the academy or in the mind (or on the desk) of one or the other great theological thinker. ...

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3: Humanism

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pp. 51-64

Black religious life and thought suggest two primary modalities of humanism as theology and practice.1 I refer to them as theistic humanism and naturalistic humanism. The former involves a robust concern with human accountability and responsibility within the context of a deep belief in a divine reality. This theological anthropology and ...

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4: Judaism

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pp. 65-90

I was born in 1952 and, like all Jews of my generation, the shadow of the Holocaust permeated everything. Or almost everything. In those early years of my life, the Holocaust was as yet unnamed; the mass murder of Jews was too close at hand. The enormity took time to absorb and become articulated. The very name Holocaust lay years ahead, the experience awaiting that horrific name. ...

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5: Islam

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pp. 91-112

In the twentieth century, Western technology and scientific advancement were promoted to an unprecedented degree for the purpose of bringing about an equal distribution of its fruits. But in actuality, it was only an extension of the previous Western modes of hegemony and domination of the Third World (the “two-thirds world”). Scientific achievements of the West were being utilized, according to Herbert Marcuse, ...

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6: Hinduism

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pp. 113-130

Hinduism is an astoundingly diverse tradition as indicated by the name Hindu itself. Hindu is not the personal name of a founder nor is it descriptive of a central belief or practice. “Hindu” is the Iranian variation for the name of a river that Indo-Europeans referred to as the Sindhu, Greeks as the Indos, and British as the Indus. Those who lived on the territory drained by the Indus were derivatively ...

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7: Buddhism

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pp. 131-154

Buddhism is often criticized as a religion mainly concerned with personal salvation and lacking a social ethic that leads to social liberation. Although it seems so, Buddhist teachings on personal conduct contain principles that could be reinterpreted and extended to a social ethical theory as well as praxis leading to social liberation, hence the so-called Buddhist liberation theology.1 ...

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8: Zen Buddhism

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pp. 155-174

In Zen monasteries and meditation centers all over the world, practitioners chant “The Four Vows of the Bodhisattva” in different languages, an English version of which goes as follows: ...

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9: Confucianism and Daoism

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pp. 175-198

The idea of “liberation theology” stems from a concern for the poor and unfortunate of the world. Liberation theology insists that the church concentrate its resources and efforts in such a way as to alleviate the suffering of oppressed and impoverished people. Two principal, native Chinese religions, namely, Confucianism and Daoism (or Taoism, as it is sometimes written), ...

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10: Minjung Theology

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pp. 199-216

Minjung theology is one type of Christian theology practiced in Korea. Because of the long colonial history of Korea and its multireligious background, this theology has developed unique characteristics during its growth on Korean soil. To understand the characteristics of minjung theology, two Korean words must be explored: Minjung and Han.

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11: African Traditional Religions

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pp. 217-238

To those who subscribe to the economic, political, and civilizational orthodoxies of our time, African liberation theology may seem obnoxious, fallacious, or even blasphemous. And yet for the masses of Africans crushed by poverty, genocide, dictatorship, neocolonialism, economic exploitation, political oppression, and racism, much of the current “world order” is blasphemous. ...

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12: Orisha Traditions in the West

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pp. 239-256

Pinpointing exactly where the Orisha chose to rest their pots in the Americas and the Caribbean is no easy task. They have danced and exchanged raffia with so many other gods commencing on Africa’s soil and abiding across the Atlantic to slave settlements in the African diaspora.1 Today, in the Black Atlantic world, beyond traditions claiming the Orisha appellative, ...

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13: American Indians Religious Traditions

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pp. 257-274

Many American Indians refer to October 11, 1492, as the last day of perfect freedom on these continents called amerika.1 This is, first of all, a political commentary and not primarily a religious or cultural one. Yet freedom is important at deeply cultural and religious levels for Indian peoples in north America.2 So, to attend to the notion of liberation in American Indian religious traditions, ...

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pp. 275-278

I consider myself a man of faith. The rituals I participate in, and the doctrinal beliefs I hold, are very important to me. They give my life meaning and purpose. With all of my heart, soul, mind, and strength I believe that my particular faith tradition holds truths that are crucial for my life and the life of my faith community. ...


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pp. 279-302


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pp. 303-326

List of Contributors

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pp. 327-332


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pp. 333-342

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9781602581678
E-ISBN-10: 1602581673
Print-ISBN-13: 9781932792508
Print-ISBN-10: 1932792503

Page Count: 345
Publication Year: 2008

Edition: 1