Rubem Alves – Liberation Theology Pioneer

rubem-alvesBrazilian writer, theologian, philosopher and psychoanalyst Rubem Alves died on Saturday, July 19, 2014 in Campinas, Brazil.  Alves was 80 years old and is better known as one of the pioneers of liberation theology.

Liberation theology is an intellectual movement that interprets Christian theology through the eyes of the oppressed and the marginalized.  Rubem Alves published numerous works on liberation theology, among them What is Religion? and A Theology of Hope.  This latter work (his dissertation) was the first major text in what was to become liberation theology to clearly articulate the centrality of reading Christianity’s sacred texts through the lens of social liberation.

“The acts of remembering and hoping that determine the language of the community of faith, therefore, do not have any reality in themselves but [rather] in the engagement in the ongoing politics of liberation . . .”

A theologian and a psychoanalyst, Alves also spoke about the interplay between psychoanalysis and education. Throughout his career he worked with many people, including educator Paulo Freire, who donated half a million Spanish language bibles to the cause of liberation theology, and Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin of the Catholic Worker.

For our Spanish speaking readers — La Jornada coverage