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Power, Knowledge and Authority in Public Theology

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image of International Journal of Public Theology

One of the most distinctive movements within Christian theology to have emerged over the past generation has been the various theologies of liberation which originated in Latin America but which now span a diversity of styles, including feminist and womanist, Black, Asian and lesbian/gay/bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) theologies. All theologies of liberation purport to give a voice to the experiences of those formerly silenced or marginalized by society and/or the Church. This is essentially an issue of power, since one of the authenticating marks of such theologies is the extent to which they enable such groups to move from powerlessness to empowerment. Yet theologies of liberation also represent, potentially, another redistribution of power, by enabling previously excluded groups to bring their interpretations and testimonies into theological discourse. This article examines the background to this intersection of power and knowledge in theology, and asks how public theology might assist such a process of theological empowerment.


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