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Book Title: The God of Life|
The author of the book: Gustavo Gutiérrez
Edition: Orbis Books
Date of issue: October 1st 1991
ISBN 13: 9780883447604
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 921 KB
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Reader ratings: 4.9
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Gustavo Gutierrez completed this book during the same year that his friends, the six Jesuits at the Universidad Centroamericana in El Salvador, and their housekeeper and her daughter, were assassinated for their work on behalf of the poor. Writing from "a continent where the majority live in an indescribable poverty resulting from radically inequitable and unjust social relationships," and where "the price [the poor] have had to pay for recognition of their dignity as human beings has been, and still is, a heavy one," Gutierrez offers a description and a defense of the faith of the poor in a "God of Life," drawing widely from the Bible, the Catholic magisterium, and spiritual tradition and experience.
The book is structured as an answer to five classic questions: Does God exist? What is God? Where is God? How are we to speak of God? and Why God? Really, the middle three are central to the book, and form its organization in three parts. I think it's also fair to say that these three questions are taken up by Gutierrez as a way to develop a trinitarian theology, in which reflections on Father, Son, and Spirit correlate with and answer the second, third and fourth questions respectively. The fifth question, Gutierrez explains, is essential to and inseparable from all the others. He does not handle it separately. A short answer to it might be that the reason of God's being is to love, entirely beyond reason, and especially to love the poor. He has no doubt this God lives and calls us to live likewise.
Gutierrez expresses some hostility to philosophical thinking about God, because philosophers can think only abstractly about God, as a possible concept, and not as a living, loving power in the world. He has a point, but I think here, as in other of his books, he protests too much. True, there's no explicit metaphysics here, let alone speculation as to how God might be both three and one; but he is a canny theologian, and surely understands that his remarks on matters like the presence and absence of God beg questions that want intellectual satisfaction, not just practical resolution.
I hadn't read this book in years. I am very glad to read it again. It's a great introduction to the work of this great theologian of liberation.
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Read information about the authorGustavo Gutiérrez Merino, O.P. is a Peruvian theologian and Dominican priest regarded as the founder of Liberation Theology. He holds the John Cardinal O'Hara Professorship of Theology at the University of Notre Dame. He has been professor at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru and a visiting professor at many major universities in North America and Europe. He is a member of the Peruvian Academy of Language, and in 1993 he was awarded the Legion of Honor by the French government for his tireless work. He has also published in and been a member of the board of directors of the international journal, Concilium.
He has studied medicine and literature (Peru), psychology and philosophy (Leuven), and obtained a doctorate at the Institut Pastoral d'Etudes Religieuses (IPER), Université Catholique in Lyon.
The founder of liberation theology, he was born in Peru, and spent much of his life living and working among the poor of Lima.
In September 1984, a special assembly of Peruvian bishops were summoned to Rome for the express purpose of condemning Gutiérrez, but the bishops held firm.
Gutiérrez's groundbreaking work, A Theology of Liberation: History, Politics, Salvation (1971), explains his notion of Christian poverty as an act of loving solidarity with the poor as well as a liberatory protest against poverty.
According to Gutiérrez true "liberation" has three main dimensions:
First, it involves political and social liberation, the elimination of the immediate causes of poverty and injustice.
Second, liberation involves the emancipation of the poor, the marginalised, the downtrodden and the oppressed from all "those things that limit their capacity to develop themselves freely and in dignity."
Third, Liberation Theology involves liberation from selfishness and sin, a re-establishment of a relationship with God and with other people.
Liberation theology and Gutiérrez have both been the subjects of repeated Papal scrutiny. A Theology of Liberation: History, Politics, Salvation was reviewed directly by then-Cardinal Ratzinger and found to contain ideas which, in the view of conservative Catholics, were disturbing. Although Gutiérrez himself was not censured, many other liberation theologians received Papal censure. Because of the perceived connection between followers of Liberation theology and leftist groups like the Sandinistas many liberation-minded clergy were killed in Central American countries during the 1980s, most notably, Archbishop Oscar Romero.
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