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Biblical Interpretation and MethodEssays in Honour of John Barton$
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Katharine J. Dell and Paul M. Joyce

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199645534

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199645534.001.0001

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Liberationist Reading

Liberationist Reading

Popular Interpretation of the Bible in Brazil

(p.132) (p.133) 11 Liberationist Reading
Biblical Interpretation and Method

Christopher Rowland

Oxford University Press

Liberationist readings of the Bible have formed a significant part of biblical interpretation and adult pedagogy in Christian churches in the second half of the twentieth century. They encompass feminist as well as ‘black’ theology, and all claim human experience as the key dynamic in biblical interpretation. While there is a distinctive political flavour to this phenomenon its origin lies in the actualization of the Bible in the context of life and experience and the reality of the contextual nature of all interpretative practice, which is characteristic of biblical interpretation within the Bible itself. This chapter concentrates on the hermeneutical characteristics of the method, its origins in Christian biblical hermeneutics, its classic exemplification in Latin American liberation theology, and the varying extensions of it in feminist and other so-called contextual theologies. As Brazil was the motor of liberation theology, not just as an academic discipline but a pastoral practice that pervaded the life of many churches, the chapter concentrates on examples of the method pioneered by Carlos Mesters and the Centro de Estudos Bíblicos.

Keywords:   book of life, Brazil, Carlos Mesters, Clodovis Boff, hermeneutics, Exodus, Latin America, liberation theology, Paulo Freire

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