Studies in Latin American Social Christianity: Questioning Historiographical Islands

by David C. Kirkpatrick

Historiography on Latin American Christianity in the 1970s and 1980s was essentially a monologue on liberation theology. In the last two decades, studies on Pentecostalism have exploded, joining liberation theology on stage. Gustavo Gutiérrez These two strands of historiography have been largely understood in terms of a binary, Catholic-Protestant divide: liberation theology as rooted in the former, and Pentecostalism as a Protestant alternative. Professor Brian Stanley gave a paper this week in the History of Christianity seminar that challenged many widely held assumptions regarding liberation theology. I will use this seminar as a springboard for discussing new currents in the study of Latin American social theology and a solution to the historiographical islands that often give rise to partial or inaccurate narratives. Continue reading