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Marxism and Religion

5. Marxism and Liberation Theology

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About this Lecture

Lecture

In this lecture, we think about the influence of Marxist thought on Liberation Theology, a theological approach that emerged in Latin America in the 1960s. In particular, we think about: (i) what Liberation Theology is and where it emerged; (ii) the extent to which Liberation Theology engaged with Marxist thought; (iii) the extent to which the Catholic church were suspicious about the use of concepts borrowed from Marxist thought, which was described as "reductivist" and "connected with a praxis of class hatred and struggle […] and the denial of God"; (iv) the question of whether Liberation Theology succeeded or failed – or if it's too early to tell; and (v) the ideas of some of the most influential thinkers in the Liberation Theology tradition – Gustavo Gutierrez, Paolo Freire and Otto Maduro. The lecture ends with some concluding thoughts about Marxism and religion as a whole.

Course

In this course, Dr Paul-François Tremlett (The Open University) explores Marxist approaches to religion. In the first module, we provide a broad introduction to Marx himself, before turning in the second module to explore what Marx said about religion. In the third module, we turn to two twentieth-century thinkers who worked in the Marxist tradition – Louis Althusser (1918-90) and Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937) – and think about the concepts of power, ideology and hegemony in relation to religion. In the fourth module, we explore two thinkers associated with the Frankfurt School – Max Horkheimer (1895-1973) and Jürgen Habermas (1929-) – and think about the concepts of 'critical theory' and 'communicative action', before turning in the fifth and final module to consider the influence of Marxist thought on the theological approach known as Liberation Theology.

Lecturer

Dr Paul-François Tremlett is a Senior Lecturer in Religious Studies at The Open University. He is interested in theory and method in Religious Studies, and, as well as ethnographic research in the Philippines, has conducted research in Hong Kong and London on the Occupy movement.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Tremlett, P. (2021, August 23). Marxism and Religion - Marxism and Liberation Theology [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/marxism-and-religion/marxism-and-liberation-theology

MLA style

Tremlett, Paul-françois. "Marxism and Religion – Marxism and Liberation Theology." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 23 Aug 2021, https://www.massolit.io/courses/marxism-and-religion/marxism-and-liberation-theology