Latin American Liberation Theology

Latin American Liberation Theology

Latin American Liberation Theology

Latin American Liberation Theology

Synopsis

David Tombs offers an accessible introduction to the theological challenges raised by Latin American Liberation and a new contribution to how these challenges might be understood as a chronological sequence. Liberation theology emerged in the 1960s in Latin America and thrived until it reached a crisis in the 1990s. This work traces the distinct developments in thought through the decades, thus presenting a contextual theology. The book is divided into five main sections: the historical role of the church from Columbus's arrival in 1492 until the Cuban revolution of 1959; the reform and renewal decade of the 1960s; the transitional decade of the 1970s; the revision and redirection of liberation theology in the 1980s; and a crisis of relevance in the 1990s. This book offers insights into liberation theology's profound contributions for any socially engaged theology of the future and is crucial to understanding liberation theology and its legacies.

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Excerpt

As the eighteenth century drew to a close, it became clearer that the balance of power between Spain and its colonies in Latin America had reached a critical point. Spain's power had steadily dwindled as the vast wealth it had gained from its colonies in the New World had been used for short-term glory and expensive wars against the Protestants of northern Europe. Spain had done little to develop an industrial base, and much of the silver and gold from Latin America was spent in importing manufactured goods from England and other nations that were starting to expand their manufacturing base. Indirectly, the real beneficiary of this pattern was England. Its exports stimulated the economy to long-term growth while the Spanish economy stagnated. By the nineteenth century, English merchants were seeking direct trade with Latin America, and the social elites in the colonies were eager to reciprocate since Spain could not satisfy their desire for manufactured goods.

After three centuries, Spanish colonialism in Latin America was under threat. The creole elites of Latin America were ready to assume political leadership, and the British were poised to be the new economic power in the region. The transition took place with surprising speed in the first three decades of the nineteenth century and Latin America began a new era of history: post-Independence. However, despite these major political changes, the colonial legacy of dependency on Europe was hard to escape. The new era was based on a new form of colonialism referred to as neo-colonialism. The neo-colonialism of the nineteenth . . .

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