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Title: The existential dimension of the liberation theology of Juan Luis Segundo
Author: Tennant, Matthew Aaron
ISNI:       0000 0004 5356 8994
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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Juan Luis Segundo (1925-1996) was a Uruguayan Jesuit priest who, I argue, based his liberation theology on his understanding of existentialism. The major contribution of this thesis is the exploration of unknown and unexplored sources in Segundo's work. These sources support my thesis of his basis in existentialism and are corroborated by his mature theology. This thesis is significant because the connection between existentialism and liberation theology has been widely overlooked. My starting point is Segundo's 1948 book, in which he combines existentialism with personalism and develops a transcendental method grounded in love and inter-subjectivity. The following three chapters develop my argument through his engagement with four existentialist thinkers: Berdyaev, Sartre and Camus, and Heidegger. Chapter 3 demonstrates how Segundo follows Berdyaev's primacy of freedom, which allows for human creativity, but Segundo takes it as a "quality of the will" and relates freedom to love. Berdyaev influences Segundo's preference for a methodology yielding consistent growth rather than a systematic approach to theology. Chapter 4 shows how Sartre's and Camus' understanding of freedom and limits influenced Segundo's sense that a person's lived reality must be the starting point for theological reflection (e.g. the hermeneutic circle). In chapter 5, I use an unpublished manuscript to show how Segundo uses the place of tradition in the Christian church and the role of tradition in Heidegger's phenomenological analysis of Dasein in order to build his theology of "liberative human seeking and divine revelation". In the final two chapters, I draw the new sources together with two of Segundo's widely read books: Faith and Ideologies (1982) in chapter 6 and The Liberation of Theology (1975) in chapter 7. In chapter 6, the transcendental method he first wrote about in 1948 returns and he addresses materialism and personalism. Chapter 7 serves as my conclusion and uses Segundo's hermeneutic circle as the fullest manifestation of my argument.
Supervisor: Fiddes, Paul; Endean, Philip Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Theology and Religion ; Modern theology ; Philosophy,psychology and sociology of religion ; Liberation Theology ; Existentialism ; Juan Luis Segundo ; Nicholas Berdyaev ; Jean-Paul Sartre ; Martin Heidegger ; Systematic Theology ; Christian Doctrine