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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David Tombs is a lay Anglican theologian and the Howard Paterson Chair Professor of Theology and Public Issues at the University of Otago, Aotearoa New Zealand. He has degrees from Oxford University, Union Theological Seminary New York, and London University. He previously worked in Belfast as Lecturer in Reconciliation Studies for the Irish School of Ecumenics, Trinity College Dublin, and as Lecturer in Theology at the University of Roehampton, London.
'This well-written book stands as a significant contribution to liberation theology. In five parts, Tombs chronologically and contextually situates the development and maturation of the discipline in a way that allows students to access and appropriate it. The work is synthetic in that it integrates the sociological, political, historical, and economic realities of Latin America into a survey of both theological and philosophical developments. Two bonuses for the teacher-scholar are the extensive footnotes and excellent bibliography… [Tombs’s] masterful interweaving of the social, economic, historical, political, theological, and philosophical realities provides a deeper understanding of the history of Latin America… [Tombs] knows the issues and the debates and discusses them comprehensively.'
Thomas M. Kelly, Theological Studies, June 2004.
All who are interested in church history, Latin American studies and the emergence of political and contextual Christian theologies over the last four decades.