Gustavo Gutierrez & Matthew Ashley Syllabus

Theo 60853: Political and Liberation Theology

Summer, 2013


Prof. Gustavo Gutierrez & Prof. Matthew Ashley

June 17 – 28, MTWRF, 12:20-3:00 pm & 6:30-8:30 pm

320 Malloy Hall


Course Description

Political theology and liberation theology emerged at almost the same time, during the nineteen-sixties, in Europe and in Latin America, respectively. This course considers the origins and development of these theologies, with particular attention to the ecclesial and socio-cultural contexts that shaped them.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completing the course students will be able:

  1. To describe and explain the principal twentieth-century philosophical and theological influences on these two theologies.
  2. Explain and compare these theologies in terms of their ecclesial and socio-political contexts.
  3. Describe distinctive features of their approaches to traditional theological themes (God, Christ, salvation) and evaluate them in terms of their contexts.



                Gustavo Gutierrez, The Density of the Present: Selected Writings (Orbis, 1991). [-DP]

                Gustavo Gutierrez, Spiritual Writings, edited with introduction by Daniel Groody, C.S.C.

                                (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2011) [-SW]

Johann Baptist Metz, Love’s Strategy: The Political Theology of Johann Baptist Metz, edited by John K. Downey (Trinity Press, 1999) [=LS]

Johann Baptist Metz, Faith in History and Society: Toward a Practical Fundamental Theology 2nd revised translation (New York: Crossroad, 2007) [FHS]


Jon Sobrino and Ignacio Ellacuria, eds., Mysterium Liberationis: Fundamental Concepts of Liberation Theology (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2004) – This book will also be available on reserve.

Other readings for the course will be distributed electronically or at the beginnings of classes.

Principal Course Components

Lecture & Q/A: The early afternoon sessions will consist of lectures led by the two course instructors with time for questions and answers.

Discussions and Group Presentations: During the evening sessions we will watch audio-visual materials related to the two theses, discuss selected readings from the assigned texts, present and discuss on select theological themes using materials from other political and liberation theologians. In particular, students will be divided into groups of two or three (depending on final class size) and assigned a theme (theology of the Trinity; Christology; Soteriology) and will present a theologian’s approach to this topic for an hour on one fo the evenings of the second week.

On each Friday a take-home exam will be distributed on Friday, due the next day (Saturday) by 5pm.


Take home exams: 30% and 40% (the more successful exam is weighted more!)

In-class group presentation: 15%

Class participation: 15%

The Reading Schedule will be finalized by the end of May and emailed to all students registered at that time.