Justo L. González and Zaida Maldonado Pérez. An Introduction to Christian Theology. Nashville: Abingdon, 2002. Pages 166. Paper, $18.00. ISBN: 0687095735
Reviewed by Alberto L. García
The purpose of this book is to offer a simple, straightforward introductory reading for those taking their first steps in the study of Christian theology. The authors' intention is to stimulate reflection within a wide ecumenical base, probing the strengths and weaknesses of various theological positions. They approach theology in this volume primarily as church historians and their book covers many theological topics in a clear, concise manner. One of the various strengths of this book is that González and Maldonado write with the vision of U.S. Hispanic theologians. They are also sensitive to the study of theology from a global perspective, from which they take their examples for theological discourse.
Jacobs, Janet Liebman. Hidden Heritage: The Legacy of the Crypto Jews. Berkeley:
University of California Press, 2002. Pages, x + 197. Paper, $19.95. ISBN: 0520235177
Reviewed by John T. Ford, C.S.C.
1492 was not only the year of the "discovery of the New World" by Columbus, but also the year in which an edict of Isabel and Fernando gave Spanish Jews the problematic option of converting to Roman Catholicism or going into exile. From the viewpoint of los reyes católicos, such an edict, coming at the conclusion of the Reconquista, formed part of their over-all strategy for unifying Spain, politically, economically, and religiously; in effect, their decision exemplified the principle cuius regio eius religio: rulers have the right to determine the practice of religion within their domains.
Introducing Latino/a Theologies. By Miguel A. De La Torre and Edwin David Aponte. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2001. Pages, xiii + 209. Paper, $20.00. ISBN: 1570754004
Reviewed by: Eduardo C. Fernandez, S.J. and Nancy Pineda-Madrid
Noting that there are few introductory texts to U.S. Latino/a Christianity, the authors have written a basic text “to introduce Christian concepts from the perspectives of Latinas/os in the United States and provide a foundation for more specific and advanced study of Hispanic Christian theology, culture, and religion” (2). The book contains an introduction, six chapters, a select annotated bibliography, and an index.
Faith Formation and Popular Religion: Lessons From the Tejano Experience.
By Anita de Luna, MCDP. With a forward by Timothy Matovina. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2002. Pages, xvii + 205. Paper, $26.95. ISBN: 0742513483
Reviewed by: Margaret C. Escobedo
The late Dr. Anita de Luna, MCDP, is well known to many readers of this journal. She taught in the Department of Religious Studies and was director of the Center for Women in Church and Society at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio. She was on the faculty with the Goddess Gate program in Mexico City, has served as visiting professor at several universities, and was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Notre Dame. A frequent lecturer on Hispanic spirituality, culture, evangelization and religious life at national conferences, she published numerous articles in journals and periodicals, and was renowned for decades as an activist and leader for Hispanic ministry and formation and the advancement of Latinas and Latinos in church and society.
Barber, Michael. Ethical Hermeneutics: Rationality in Enrique Dussel’s Philosophy of Liberation. By Michael Barber. New York: Fordham University Press, 1998. Pages, xxiii + 184. Paper, $24. ISBN: 0823217043
Reviewed by: W.S.K. Cameron
Barber’s primary goal is to introduce Enrique Dussel to an English-speaking audience—a task long overdue. Dussel has unquestionably become a major voice in philosophy, theology, and history, yet he has not so far been the subject of a full-length book in English on the entirety of his philosophy. This inattention is ironic given the current philosophical fascination with the Other: such discussions remain hopelessly abstract unless informed by close attention to the particular others of whom we speak, who alone can remind us of the real consequences of our self-(mis)perception.
García, Albert L. and A. R. Victor Raj, The Theology of the Cross for the 21st Century: Signposts for a Multicultural Witness
García, Albert L. and A. R. Victor Raj, eds. The Theology of the Cross for the 21st Century: Signposts for a Multicultural Witness. St. Louis: Concordia, 2002. Pages, 254. Paper, $14.99. ISBN: 0570052882
Reviewed by: Javier R. Alanís
As the subheading of this book indicates, the various essays on the theology of the cross are signposts for a multicultural witness for the 21st century. The thirteen essays explore the contemporary relevance of Luther's theology of the cross from the perspective of the tradition and experience of twelve multicultural theologians of the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod. This diversity in scholarship provides for a multifaceted expose of a central doctrine of the Lutheran tradition as reflected and embodied through the experiences of the writers and the particular cultures they represent and experience in ministry.
Doniger, Wendy. The Implied Spider: Politics & Theology in Myth. New York: Columbia University Press, 1998. Pages, x + 200. Paper, $17.50. ISBN13: 9780231111706
Reviewed by: Christopher D. Tirres, DePaul University
How is it that two or more distinct cultures, with dissimilar histories and geographies, can generate what appears to be a similar myth? In The Implied Spider: Politics & Theology in Myth, Wendy Doniger attempts to answer this question by crafting a space between a structuralist and historicist approach to myth. Whereas a full-blown structuralist approach would tend to focus on the myth’s “inherent,” “neutral,” and “natural” patterns, a historicist approach “if carried out to the letter” (52) would likely reduce myth to cultural production or to social function. Indeed, historicists fault structuralists for attempting to explain phenomena outside of history, and structuralists accuse historicists of downplaying the imaginative and subconscious power of myth.
Recinos, Harold J. and Magallanes Hugo, eds. Jesus in the Hispanic Community: Images of Christ from Theology to Popular Religion
Recinos, Harold J. and Magallanes, Hugo, eds. Jesus in the Hispanic Community: Images of Christ from Theology to Popular Religion. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2009. Pages, xxii + 225. Paper, $21.50. ISBN: 9780664234287.
Reviewed by: Claudio M. Burgaleta, S.J., Fordham University
Harold J. Recinos and Hugo Magallanes, both professors of the Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, have edited a volume containing the Christologies of U.S. Latina/o theologians from a broad spectrum of national, denominational and methodological perspectives. One undercurrent throughout this volume that at times surfaces in the references of a few authors, is Michelle A. González’s critique of the Christologies of U.S. Latina/o theologians. In her essay on Jesus in the Handbook of Latina/o Theologies (Chalice Press, 2006), she contends that U.S. Latina/o Christologies have neglected many of the classical and contemporary themes that have preoccupied the mainstream academy.
Sánchez, David A. From Patmos to the Barrio: Subverting Imperial Myths. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2008. Pages, xi + 209. Paperback, $21.00. ISBN: 9780800662592.
Reviewed by: Jacqueline M. Hidalgo
In From Patmos to the Barrio: Subverting Imperial Myths, David A. Sánchez impressively models a new approach to biblical scholarship. Sánchez’s focus is not strictly an exegesis of Revelation 12; rather he explores the ongoing life of that text as a site of community engagement, especially the afterlife of Revelation that can be found within the community from which he hales, Chican@s in East Los Angeles. Examining Revelation 12 as it travels in the multiple migrations of the Virgin of Guadalupe, Sánchez furthers the possibilities of biblical study opened up by scholars such as Musa W. Dube, Jean-Pierre Ruiz, Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, Fernando F. Segovia, R. S. Sugirtharajah, and Vincent L. Wimbush.
Powers, Tom. The Call of God: Women Doing Theology in Peru. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2003. Pp. 184. Paper. $18.95. ISBN: 0791457907.
Reviewed by: Cecilia González-Andrieu
Graduate Theological Union
Tom Powers is a brave scholar. The Call of God crosses many boundaries and steps into at least three potentially explosive areas. First, he relates the “talk of God” and the very personal “call” voiced and lived by women. Yet, Powers is unable to share in many of the formative and normative experiences in these women’s lives—being mother, being wife, being daughter, and being excluded and oppressed in both church and society. Second, the women who are the theologizing subjects in the book speak and live out of a culture which is not his. These Peruvian women share a series of cultural markers and cues, traditions and values which Powers can also only record externally. In this too, he is in danger of placing himself as interpreter and thus reducing the women’s reflection to what his interpretation will yield.