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Module Specifications

Archived Version 2022 - 2023

Module Title
Module Code

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NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None

The purpose of this module is to introduce students to what has been described as the most significant theological movement since the Reformation, that is, Liberation Theology. In this module students will: (i) acquire knowledge of the development of liberation theology and its historical context in Latin America; (ii) examine the methodology and key concepts of this new way of doing theology; (iii) critically engage with foundational and later texts of liberation theology; (iv) identify and analyse a range of criticisms of these theologies. Students will also develop their wider knowledge about theology, politics and culture, and will enhance their skills of analysis, comprehension and synthesis. Students are expected to attend lectures and seminars, and to engage with relevant texts.

Learning Outcomes

1. Demonstrate an understanding of the context in which liberation theology emerged in Latin America.
2. Discuss the methodology and key concepts in liberation theology.
3. Critically engage with select foundational and later texts of liberation theology
4. Identify and analyse criticisms of this theology.
5. Assess the contribution of this twentieth century development in theology to the broader field of theology and religious studies, and to the practice of Christian churches.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Independent Study48Assigned Readings
Independent Study24Independent Learning
Independent Study29Examination Preparation
Total Workload: 125

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Twentieth Century Theologies: The development of liberation and political theologies

History of Latin America and the Caribbean: Colonization, slavery and the underside of modernity (through text and film

Bartolomé de Las Casas: A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies (1542)

Development and Expansion of Liberation Theology: Key moments and figures (through text and film)

Methodology and Key Concepts: Praxis and the Option for the Poor

Critics of Liberation Theology: Insights from the hostile and the sympathetic

Relationship with Catholic social teaching and Christian social ethics

Linking Faith and Justice: Liberation theology as global and ecumenical

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment% Examination Weight%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Reassessment Requirement
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
Indicative Reading List

  • Boff, Clodovis and Boff, Leonardo.: 1987, Introducing Liberation Theology, Burns & Oates Tunbridge Wells,
  • Chopp, Rebecca and Ethna Regan in David Ford with Rachel Muers, eds.: 2005, The Modern Theologians, 3rd. Ed., 'Latin American Liberation Theology', Blackwell, Oxford,
  • Dorr, Donal.: 2012, Option for the Poor and for the Earth: Catholic Social Teaching, Orbis Maryknoll, NY,
  • Dussel, Enrique, ed.: 1992, The Church in Latin America 1492-1992, Burns & Oates and Orbis Books, Tunbridge Wells and Maryknoll, NY,
  • Gutiérrez, Gustavo: 1988, A Theology of Liberation: History, Politics and Salvation, Orbis Books, Maryknoll, NY,
  • Nigel Griffen, with an introduction by Anthony Pagden: 1992, A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies, Penguin Books, London/New York,
  • McGovern, Arthur F.: 2009, Liberation Theology and Its Critics: Toward an Assessment, Wipf & Stock:, Eugene, OR,
  • Petrella, Ivan: 2006, The Future of Liberation Theology: An Argument and a Manifesto, SCM Press, London,
  • Piketty, Thomas: 2014, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge MA,
  • Rowland, Christopher. ed.: 2007, The Cambridge Companion to Liberation Theology, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge,
  • Sachs, Jeffrey: 2005, The End of Poverty: How we can make it happen in our time, Penguin Books, London,
  • Sobrino, Jon and Ignacio Ellacuría: 1996, Systematic Theology: Perspectives from Liberation Theology, SCM Press, London,
  • Tamez, Elsa: 1989, Through Her Eyes: Women's Theology from Latin America, Orbis Maryknoll, NY,
  • Tamez, Elsa: 2002, The Amnesty of Grace: Justification by Faith from a Latin American Perspective, Wipf and Stock Eugene, OR,
Other Resources

36286, Conference, Consejo Episcopal Latinamericano. Second General Conference of Latin American Bishops, 1979, The Church in the Present-Day Transformation of Latin America in the Light of the Council, II: Conclusions, 3rd Ed.,, Washington, DC, 36287, Website, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 1984, Instruction on Certain Aspects of a Theology of Liberation, www.vatican.va, 36288, Website, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 1986, Instruction on Christian Freedom and Liberation, www.vatican.va,
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