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Liberation theology

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-K042-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved June 16, 2024, from

Article Summary

Also known as theology of liberation, liberation theology is simultaneously a social movement within the Christian Church and a school of thought, both of which react against human suffering due to poverty and various forms of oppression. The essence of liberation theology consists in an interpretation of Christian salvation that retains its transcendent eschatological content and draws out its historical dimensions and their implications for personal life, the social sphere and the public action of the Church. Salvation contains various levels of liberation.

Liberation theology is most commonly associated with Latin America, where it emerged during the 1960s. As both movement and theology, it is at present a worldwide phenomenon, taking on different characteristics according to culture, situation, the kind of oppression that predominates, and concrete political and social exigencies. Although some liberation theologians have employed Marxist language as a tool for social analysis, the underpinnings of liberation theology lie in Christian faith.

Liberation theology is predominately Roman Catholic in Latin America because of the Catholic majority; but as a movement and a school of thought it unites Catholic and mainstream Protestant Churches. Evangelical Christians are often antipathetic to liberation theology because of their individualism and other-worldliness.

Citing this article:
Haight, Roger. Liberation theology, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-K042-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
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