Spring 2014

Liberation and Twentieth-Century Christian Thought

Listed in: Religion, as RELI-279

Formerly listed as: RELI-50


Andrew C. Dole (Section 01)


In the middle of the nineteenth century Karl Marx characterized religion as “the opium of the people,” a tool of the ruling classes to keep the poor in subjection. By the end of the century, in the face of rising unrest related to political and economic developments, Christian thinkers in Europe and the United States found themselves facing the question of the church’s role in relation to questions of social and economic justice. Should Christianity be a force for radical social change in a progressive direction, or should Christians instead work for peace and “brotherly love” within existing social structures? This course will track the development of debates on these subjects, discussing the “Social Gospel,” Christian pacifism and realism, German Christianity during the Nazi period, liberation theology and its descendants. Some of the authors to be treated are Adolf von Harnack, Kirby Page, Reinhold Niebuhr, Karl Barth, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Gustavo Gutiérrez, James Cone, and Elizabeth Schüssler-Fiorenza.

Spring semester. Professor A. Dole.

RELI 279 - L/D

Section 01
Tu 02:30 PM - 03:50 PM CHAP 204
Th 02:30 PM - 03:50 PM CHAP 204


2024-25: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2009, Spring 2011, Spring 2014