Dalton, Frederick John. The Moral Vision of César Chávez. By Frederick John Dalton. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2003. Pages viii + 200. Paper, $20.00. ISBN: 1570754586
Reviewed by: Margaret R. Pfeil
This volume appeals to virtue ethics from the perspective of liberation theology to portray the moral meaning of César Chávez’s public witness as the founding organizer of the United Farm Workers of America. Beginning with the story of his own encounter with Chávez’s work and legacy, Dalton effectively employs a narrative approach to make the case that Chávez’s moral vision of the dignity of human labor was sustained by a lifelong process of character formation anchored in the virtues of nonviolent love, faith, justice, and solidarity.
Phan, Peter C. Christianity with an Asian Face: Asian American Theology in the Making. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2003. Pages, xvii + 253. Paper, $30.00. ISBN: 1570754667
Reviewed by Anselm Kyongsuk Min
Asians have been coming to North America for some decades now, yet there has been no significant theological output that represents the Asian American experience. Peter C. Phan, the first Asian American President of the Catholic Theological Society of America, has written a book that aims to be, as the subtitle states, “Asian American theology in the making.” The book is divided into two parts, the first dealing with methodological issues of intercultural theology, the second with substantive issues bearing on inculturation in the context of an Asian American theology.
Boff, Leonardo. Holy Trinity, Perfect Community. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2000. Pages, xvii + 125. Paper, $16.00. ISBN: 1570753326
Reviewed by: Michael E. Lee
In 1988, two years after he published his great work on the Trinity and the same year that its English translation, Trinity and Society, appeared, Leonardo Boff composed a condensed version of his text entitled Santíssima Trindade é a melhor communidade. Twelve years later, Boff’s attempt to present his trinitarian reflections in less technical language appears in its own English translation. Although delayed in its appearance, Holy Trinity. Perfect Community offers a timely reminder of the central importance of the Trinity to Christians and the role that this doctrine can play in the social project of liberation.
Goddess of the Americas/La Diosa de las Americas. Edited by Ana Castillo. New York: Riverhead Books, 1996. Pages, xv +231. Paper, $14.00. ISBN: 1573220299
Reviewed by: Lara Medina
Goddess of the Americas/La Diosa de las Americas edited by Ana Castillo offers an outstanding collection of creative writings by an impressive group of artists and intellectuals on the diverse meanings of Guadalupe/Tontanzin to their contemporary lives. In homage to the divine mother, and as an offering to a world in need of feminine wisdom, Castillo and her contributors challenge the reader to ponder the multiple ways that Guadalupe remains present and active in our troubled world. In short essays, poetry, performance narrative, and theological reflections, the reader encounters multiple perspectives on the complexity of Guadalupe's identity and the limitless power of her unconditional love. No longer confined by official ecclesial interpretations of the Guadalupe event as solely a Marian apparition, the authors re-image, reconstruct and reclaim the divine woman for themselves out of their own spiritual and socio-political contexts. As Castillo writes, “we make no claim to represent the Catholic Church here, thank goddess” (xxii).
Groody, Daniel G. Border of Death, Valley of Life: An Immigrant Journey of Heart and Spirit. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2002. Pages, xv + 188. Paper, $24.95. ISBN: 0742522415
Reviewed by: Roberto Goizueta
While the literature on Mexican immigrants is extensive, covering a broad range
of disciplines, little has been written on the spiritual lives of Mexican immigrants. If only
as a remedy for this lacuna, then, the publication of Daniel Groody’s book Border of
Death. Valley of Life represents an important achievement. Yet the book's value is not
limited to its significance as a resource for research on immigration, for this is a volume
that one will return to over and over again, in search not only of intellectual insight but
spiritual sustenance as well.
Gacria Treto Review of Gonzalez For the Healing of the Nations The Book of Revelation in an Age of Cultural Conflict
González, Justo L. For the Healing of the Nations: The Book of Revelation in an Age of Cultural Conflict. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1999. Pages, ix + 117. Paper, $15. ISBN: 1570752737
Reviewed by: Francisco García-Treto
This brief but important book is not a commentary on the Book of Revelation. Together with his spouse, the author has already produced such a commentary: Catherine Gunsalus González and Justo L. González, Revelation (Louisville: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1997). Rather, in this work González provides an enlightening example of the way in which a new look at the historical context of the production of this ancient book, carried out from the mestizo/multicultural perspective that González brings to his expertise in historical and biblical scholarship, can open for the contemporary church new and valuable vistas on the message of Revelation. The book’s six chapters fall into two symmetrical parts, the first ( “Garlic Wars? Culture and Conflict in the Twenty-first Century;”  “Culture and Conflict in the First Century;” and : “Culture and Conflict in the Early Church") provides a framework for the specific look at Revelation that the second presents.
Padilla, C. René, ed. Bases Biblicas de la Misión: Perspectivas latinoamericanas. Buenos Aires: Nueva Creación; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998. Pages xi + 474. Paper. ISBN: 0802809529 Reviewed by: Alberto L. García This work is the first fruit of efforts among Latin American evangelical theologians and exegetes to provide a missiological contextual reading of the entire Bible in light of the Latin American reality. The majority of the contributors are Latin American scholars from different theological traditions. There are also a few North American contributors who have worked for many years in Latin America. This insightful book was born from Latin American convictions that there are very few Latin American studies that analyze the Scriptures from a contemporary Latin American perspective. The collaborative effort for the volume was forged from a series of consultations sponsored by the Fraternidad Teológica Latinoamericana (FTE) in conjunction with three Latin American theological centers: Centro Kairos (Buenos Aires), Centro Evangélico de Misionología Andino-Amazónica (Lima) and La Comunidad Teológica (Mexico).
Tombs, David. Latin American Liberation Theology. Religion in the Americas Series 1. Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2002. Pages, xviii + 334. Paper $114. ISBN: 0391041487
Reviewed by: Peter Frick
David Tombs’ work is the first volume in a new series on religion in the Americas under the general editorship of Hector Avalos. The book is a fitting first volume for the series since the author provides a detailed introduction to the theological movement that is usually referred to as liberation theology. Tombs' specific task is the discussion of Latin American liberation theology, rather than liberation theologies in general. He articulates two purposes for writing Liberation Theology: “it is meant to be an accessible introduction to the challenges raised by Latin American liberation ... [and] to make a[n] analytical contribution to studies of theology by organizing material from the four decades when liberation theology was active as a movement” (xiii).
Greer, Allan, and Jodi Bilinkoff, eds. Colonial Saints: Discovering the Holy in the Americas, 1500-1800. New York and London: Routledge, 2003. Pp. xxii + 317. Cloth, $90.00; paper, $24.95. ISBN: 0415934966
Reviewed by John T. Ford, C.S.C.
The colonization of the Americas often took place through the combined efforts of crown and cross: the pilgrims of New England were motivated by a quest for religious freedom – quest partially aided by royal charters; similarly, the Spanish crown rewarded conquistadores with encomiendas that required their recipients to civilize and Christianize the indigenous inhabitants. Yet, even if the religion is a pervasive aspect of colonial history, most people do not automatically think of the various American colonies as locales of spirituality and sanctity. Nonetheless, such a view is supported by this volume’s fourteen essays, which were originally presentations at an academic conference at the University of Toronto in 2000.
Valentín, Benjamín, ed. New Horizons in Hispanic/Latino(a) Theology. Cleveland: Pilgrim Press, 2003. Pages, x + 261. Paper, $19.00 ISBN: 0829815422
Reviewed by: Orlando O. Espín
This volume is a collection of twelve original articles by Catholic and Protestant authors who belong to the scholarly generation some have come to call the “third wave” of U.S. Latino/a theology and religious studies. Most of these authors are already members of faculties at universities or seminaries, and a few were still in the process of completing or defending their doctoral dissertations when this book was published. A dedication to the members of the “first two waves” of Latino/a theology and religious studies opens the volume, followed by the list of contributors, “acknowledgments” and the editor’s introduction. The articles are divided into three thematic sections: “Experiences, Representation, and Critical Religious Discourse” (Part One), “Culture, Political Theory, and Theological Hermeneutics” (Part Two), and “Agency, Community, and Religious Practice” (Part Three).