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Title: The poverty of a theology of the poor : an Althusserian exposure of the philosophical basis of Latin-American theology of liberation
Author: Lamola, Malesela John
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1991
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The emergence of Latin American theology of liberation was inspired by vistas exposed by a Marxian analysis of society and international power relations. This fact is attested to not only by critical analysts of liberation theology but by liberation theologians themselves. For the latter, the attestation of this fact is backed by deliberate attempts at applying a selection of fundamental aspects of Marxist theory to theological discourse. The resultant methodological orientation this imposes on liberation theology, namely a practical-materialist accent, is highlighted as a feature which distinguishes liberation theology from its antecedent traditional Christian theology, and which expressly establishes its socio-political utility as a theology for the liberation of the poor from historical forms of oppression. This study is a critical historico-philosophical evaluation of this relationship between Latin American theology of liberation and Marxist Theory. Drawing from Louis Althusser's perspective on Marxism, it reveals that the former is formulated upon a systematic failure to recognise the methodological-epistemological implications of Karl Marx's rejection of the humanist materialism of the philosophy of Ludwig Feuerback during and after 1845. In this way, liberation theology is exposed as being trapped into a pre-Marxian Feuerbachian epistemological framework which, in some major respects, incorporates precritical elements of the philosophy of G.W.F. Hegel as expressed in the pre-1845 writings of Karl Marx. In corroboration of this, similarities between the fundamental Feuerbachian epistemological presuppositions and liberation theology are identified. The conclusion defended is that, instead of being Marxist in its underlying philosophical orientation, as its proponents claim it to be, liberation theology is essentially Feuerbachian. As such, its usefulness in the struggle for the liberation of the poor and oppressed from capitalist domination is found as being extremely limited.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available