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Liberation hermeneutics

During the colonial period(16th to the beginning of 19th century), Colonial


interpretations spoke of the God-given authority of Iberian monarchs as the rightful
rulers of the indigenous peoples of the New World.
A notable exception to this was the Dominican Friar Bartolom de las
Casas(1474-1566), who was a dissident appalled at the inhuman treatment of the
Indians.
It was not until the late 1960s in the aftermath of Vatican II(1962-65) that a
significant minority of the Catholic Church shifted their political allegiance,
encouraged justice as a source of theology. And they encouraged Catholic Action and
ecclesial "base" communities, emphasizing the place of love and justice for the poor.
In response to the social injustices of Latin American societies, the Latin
American bishops, led by Gustavo Guitierrez, adopted an option for the poor at
their Episcopal conferences at Medelln (1968), which was the initial formal birth of
liberation theology. He developed his thought in his book "The theology of
Liberation."
Liberation theologians who committed themselves to solidarity with the people
and their struggles offered new understandings of the Bible in terms of political and
spiritual liberation.
Gustavo Guitierrez
1.

Guiterrez saw theology as a critical reflection on praxis.

This is heavily influenced by earlier Marxist thought and by biblical


eschatology. In practice this involves a going out of oneself and a commitment
to God and our neighbor.
2.

Guiterrez argued that the poorer countries must become master of their own destiny in
freedom. Agreeing with Marx, Freud and Marcuse, He said that "The goal is not only better
living conditions but a radical change of structures, a social revolution." And Galatians 5:1
supported this.(For freedom, Christ has set us free.) This is the meaning of liberation.

3.

His approach to the Bible stressed the central message of social justice and holistic
liberation to be found in Exodus, the Prophets, and the Gospels.

4.

He explored biblical themes alongside insights from the Catholic social tradition and
contemporary social analysis especially Marxism that highlighted the political and
economic nature of the biblical understanding of sin and salvation. He inferred that to
honor God is to do justice to the neighbor.