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Beyond the Pale
Reading Theology from the Margins
Editors Miguel A De La Torre & Stacey M. Floyd-Thomas
Publisher:Westminster John Knox Press from Hymns Ancient & Modern Ltd
It seems that those beyond the pale in this instance are the contributors to this collection of essays, not those theologians whose work they examine. Often the criticism of the writer directed at his or her subject seems not only harsh, but far fetched, and certainly unfair. St Irenaeus for example is accused of ‘otherness’, in that he began the Christian tradition of branding one or more opponents as ‘heretics’. In what sense is this accusation justifiable? Juan Ginés de Sepulveda the opponent of Bartolomé de Las Casas, made the wrong choices with regard to slavery and colonialism in the New World. Given his philosophical stance this horrifying is comprehensible, but with the benefit of hindsight disastrous for the peoples of the New World. These two examples illustrate the problem: are writers to be condemned for questions they did not ask, on issues they were either unaware of, or accepted as part of the very fabric of their society?
Too many of these theologians seem to have been tried, condemned, and punished in absentia.
Reviewer: Ian Gibbs (18/10/12)