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Christianity in the Twentieth CenturyA World History$
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Brian Stanley

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691196848

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691196848.001.0001

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Good News to the Poor?

Good News to the Poor?

Theologies of Liberation in Latin America and Palestine

Chapter:
(p.216) Chapter Ten Good News to the Poor?
Source:
Christianity in the Twentieth Century
Author(s):

Brian Stanley

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691196848.003.0011

This chapter explains why it was that liberation theology was born and able to flourish very widely in the apparently uncongenial environment of the Cold War. The answer is fourfold. First, the theological architects of liberation were able to draw on wider trends in social and political theology observable from the late 1960s. The second key factor is that one geotectonic upheaval in Latin American politics—the Cuban revolution that reached its climax with the overthrow of Fulgencio Batista by Fidel Castro in January of 1959—sent shock waves reverberating throughout the Catholic world. Third, the idea of liberation took its material shape from the growing disillusionment that set in during the 1950s and 1960s with the optimistic postwar economic theories of development prescribed by northern economists as the solution to the needs of impoverished Latin American and African countries seeking to achieve economic takeoff into “modernization.” The fourth and last answer relates to the prominent role played by students in most of the radical protest and countercultural movements of the 1960s and 1970s. The chapter also examines the markedly different contours that a Christian theology of liberation assumed in the context of Palestine after the creation of the state of Israel in 1948, and more especially after the further loss of Palestinian territory effected by the Six-Day War of June of 1967.

Keywords:   liberation theology, Cold War, Cuban revolution, liberation, Latin America, countercultural movements, Palestine, social theology, political theology, economic theories

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