The World Come of Age: An Intellectual History of Liberation Theology

ISBN : 9780190695392

Lilian Calles Barger
336 ページ
156 x 235 mm
  • First book to historically connect Latin American liberation theology to black and feminist liberation theology in the U.S. as a part of a trans-American intellectual movement
  • Provides a history of the ideas and experiences in the Americans that led to the rise of liberation theology in the 1960s and 70s
  • Examines the key ideas of the first generation of liberation theologians

On November 16, 2017, Pope Francis tweeted, "Poverty is not an accident. It has causes that must be recognized and removed for the good of so many of our brothers and sisters." With this statement and others like it, the first Latin American pope was associated, in the minds of many, with a stream of theology that swept the Western hemisphere in the 1960s and 70s, the movement known as liberation theology.
Born of chaotic cultural crises in Latin America and the United States, liberation theology was a trans-American intellectual movement that sought to speak for those parts of society marginalized by modern politics and religion by virtue of race, class, or sex. Led by such revolutionaries as the Peruvian Catholic priest Gustavo Gutiérrez, the African American theologian James Cone, or the feminists Mary Daly and Rosemary Radford Ruether, the liberation theology movement sought to bridge the gulf between the religious values of justice and equality and political pragmatism. It combined theology with strands of radical politics, social theory, and the history and experience of subordinated groups to challenge the ideas that underwrite the hierarchical structures of an unjust society.
Praised by some as a radical return to early Christian ethics and decried by others as a Marxist takeover, liberation theology has a wide-raging, cross-sectional history that has previously gone undocumented. In The World Come of Age, Lilian Calles Barger offers for the first time a systematic retelling of the history of liberation theology, demonstrating how a group of theologians set the stage for a torrent of new religious activism that challenged the religious and political status quo.


Chapter 1 - Religion and Cultural Crisis
Chapter 2 - The Political is the Total
Chapter 3 - The Irony of America
Chapter 4 - Liberatory Sensibilities
Chapter 5 - New Foundations
Chapter 6 - The Vitalism of Religion
Chapter 7 - A Salvific Social Order
Chapter 8 - Secularizing Religion
Chapter 9 - The Feminine Principle
Chapter 10 - A Culture of Solidarity
Chapter 11 - A Tenuous Consensus
Chapter 12 - A New Orthodoxy


Lilian Calles Barger, Independent Scholar
Lilian Calles Barger was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina and immigrated the United States as a child. She received her PhD from The University of Texas at Dallas and is the author of Eve's Revenge: Women and a Spirituality of the Body and Chasing Sophia: Reclaiming the Lost Wisdom of Jesus.

Named a 'Best Black History Book' by Black Perspectives


"This is an important, comprehensive treatment of the social, political, and theological forces that contributed to the emergence of liberation theologies in the Americas in the 1960s and 1970s... The book is very well researched; the footnotes alone are a valuable resource... Summing Up: Highly Recommended." - CHOICE

"As a timely, ambitious, and rigorous intellectual history of liberation theology, The World Come of Age will be of interest to broad academic audiences, especially intellectual and religious historians, as well as scholars and students of liberation theology, political theology, and religious ethics. ... Barger's book displays the vitality of early liberation theology and the ongoing importance of efforts to recover its unappreciated resources for freedom dreams in the present." - Tyler Davis, Reading Religion

"This is a landmark work, whose depth and profundity may keep it off people's beach reading list, but give it a long shelf life in intellectual discussions." - Paul Harvey, University of Colorado

"This remarkable history should be read by anyone who thinks they understand the relationship between religion and politics. Barger convincingly demonstrates that liberationists participated in the forging of a secular age in which religious claims are a familiar feature of the public sphere. Lucidly written and theoretically nimble, this book will inspire a new generation of activists to think about how their moral calls to reform might change the world." - Kathryn Lofton, Professor of Religious Studies, American Studies, and History, Yale University

"The intellectual history of liberation theology is an obvious and yet tellingly neglected subject. Lilian Calles Barger has filled a large gap with a perceptive, comprehensive, and gracious book radiating her broad learning and her deep personal engagement with the subject." - Gary Dorrien, author of The New Abolition: W.E.B. Du Bois and the Black Social Gospel

"Lillian Calles Barger's The World Come of Age is a masterful exploration of the causes, course, and consequences of liberation theology in the twentieth century. Through extensive research across two continents, Barger skillfully weaves together the stories of thinkers and activists from varied backgrounds throughout Latin America and the United States. This book should be required reading for scholars of American and Latin American religious, cultural, and intellectual history." - Christopher Cameron, Associate Professor of History, University of North Carolina, Charlotte