Opting for the Margins: Postmodernity and Liberation in Christian Theology

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Overview

Ideas like the "preferential option for the poor"-arguing that people marginalized by the economy have a claim to "special consideration"-have been among the most significant insights in twentieth-century Christian theology. Arising out of various theologies of liberation, options for the poor and for people at the margins of society have provided major new impulses for biblical studies, systematic theology, church history, ecclesial practice, and the academic study of religion. Opting for the margins continues to be an important issue at a time when the gap between rich and poor is growing at an alarming rate both in the United States and in many other parts of the world, and when other gaps (based, for example, on differences in gender or race) continue to linger.
Recently, however, options for the margins have been challenged by postmodern shifts in intellectual, social, political, and economic realities that often replace preferential options with other emphases, such as general concerns for pluralism, otherness, and difference. Options for the margins are therefore (at best) reduced to the special interests of certain minority groups, or (at worst) rejected as antiquated and irrelevant for the twenty-first century.
The essays in this volume show how some forms of postmodern thought and theology can mask patterns of oppression and provide an excuse for deafness to voices from the margins. The authors, writing from a wide variety of national, ethnic, and theological perspectives, seek to revive the preferential option for the poor for the postmodern world, showing how options for the margins can engage postmodernity in new ways and break new ground in religious, theological, and ethical, as well as social, political, and economic thinking. The essays connect philosophical and theological arguments to the concrete realities of the postmodern world and to uncover new sources of energy in the life and death struggles of people across the globe.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Joerg Rieger is Associate Professor of Systematic Theology at Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University. He is the author of God and the Excluded: Visions and Blindspots in Contemporary Theology (2001) and Remember the Poor: The Challenge to Theology in the Twenty-First Century (1998).

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Table of Contents

Contributors
Introduction: Opting for the Margins in a Postmodern World 3
1 Subalternity and Advocacy as Kairos for Theology 23
2 On (Re)Centering the Margins: A Euro-African Perspective on the Option for the Poor 45
3 Liberation Theology in the Twenty-First Century 71
4 The Situation and Tasks of Liberation Theology Today 89
5 The Option for the Poor and the Exclusion of Women: The Challenges of Postmodernism and Feminism to Liberation Theology 105
6 More Than Ever: The Preferential Option for the Poor 127
7 Knowing the God of the Poor: The Preferential Option for the Poor 143
8 The Work of Love: Feminist Politics and the Injunction to Love 157
9 Theology and the Power of the Margins in a Postmodern World 179
Index 201
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