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Beyond Universality and Particularity: The Problem of the Human Rights Language in Liberation Theology

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Abstract This comment demonstrates the changes of attitude among liberation theologians toward human rights language, from avoidance, through critical confrontation, to appropriation. The reluctance appears as a natural consequence of the idea of partiality and preferentiality held by liberationists, which has always been critical of any claim of universality such as human right. The comment also argues that the latest phase of appropriation is made possible after liberationists employ the ecclesial idea of the ‘preferential option for the poor.’ However, the acceptance of human rights language can only be possible if we see the poor as concrete universal and understand the idea of the ‘preferential option for the poor’ as a middle axiom.

Affiliations: 1: Jakarta Theological Seminary Indonesia


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