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From Theology to Social Theory

Juan Luis Segundo and the Theology of Liberation


Marsha Alleen Hewitt

This concentrated, critical study of Juan Luis Segundo reveals some of the deepest impulses of liberation theology itself. The book proves the implications of Segundo's dialogue with the social sciences and in particular, demonstrates the powerful impact of Karl Marx's social philosophy on Segundo's thought. The book explores the difficult yet fascinating contradictions that arise when theology attempts so thorough an integration of Marxian categories and concepts into its own methodological core. The profound influence of Marx on Segundo indicates the general indebtedness of liberation theology to Marx, with the effect that theology goes beyond itself and into social theory while maintaining its religious dimension. No study by a North American has yet focussed so pointedly on this crucial aspect of Segundo's work which shows the real challenge of liberation theology to all theology.

«This book makes an important contribution to the growing body of critical literature dealing with Latin American liberation theology from a North American perspective. ... A scholarly interpretation of the work of Juan Segundo that deserves attention.» (Gregory Baum, McGill University)
«The unusual merit of this book as compared with other studies on liberation theology lies in her use of critical theory. She has an excellent grasp of the theological material, but where her knowledge is altogether exceptional is in her familiarity with whole Left Hegelian development from Hegel himself through Marx and the Frankfurt School to Habermas. This gives her analysis and critique of Segundo's theorizing a new depth and power.» (Charles Davis, Lonergan University College)
«...this book is to be welcomed as a critical examination of the programmatic strengths and theoretical weaknesses of Segundo, who 'brings theology very close to something that could be called the end of theology'.» (John T. Ford, Religious Studies Review)
«She øHewitt! does an excellent job of pointing out the fundamental differences between the Vatican's position and that of liberation theologians, particularly Segundo.» (Curt Cadorette, Critical Review of Books in Religion)