Dictionary of Third World Theologies
Dr. Daniel Carroll's review of, "Dictionary of Third World Theologies," by Virginia Fabella and R.S. Sugirtharajah.
Fabella, Virginia and R.S. Sugirtharajah eds. Dictionary of Third World Theologies. Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 2000. xxiii + 261 pp. $50.00 hc. ISBN 1-57075-234-6.
This volume is a very helpful resource for anyone looking for information on any number of issues related to Third World liberation theologies. By “Third World” the editors mean not only what many might understand by the term (i.e., Latin America, Africa, and Asia), but also those perspectives of sectors within the First World that have spoken out against the oppression they have experienced: African American, Hispanic, American Indian, and Womanist theologies. The editors, who themselves have contributed much to the field, have put together a veritable who’s-who of liberationist authors from around the globe. Some of those that might be more familiar to North American audiences include Vincent Wimbush, Fernando Segovia, J. Severino Croatto, George Tinker, Virgilio Elizondo, Josï¿½ Mï¿½guez Bonino, Leonardo Boff, Elsa Tamez, Gustavo Gutiï¿½rrez, James H. Cone, and Emmanuel Martey.
Each of the topics is handled in a manageable fashion (one to three pages in length) and closes with a suggested bibliography (of up to five publications). This length allows the volume to serve as a quick reference and orientation guide, while the quality of the contributors ensures that the articles are truly representative of the topic under consideration. The wide range of entries range from “Aboriginal Theology” to “Worship/Rituals.” This Dictionary of Third World Theologies closes with the list of authors (pp. 241-48) and, as a unique feature, a listing (with addresses) of “Selected English-Language Journals on Issues in Third World Theologies” (pp. 249-61). This listing provides the reader with the means to pursue more extended and long-term input from this point of view.
The only drawback that this reviewer would mention is something that is common in this kind of work: The label “Third World” tends to be limited to theologies of a liberationist bent and does not include the insights of evangelical theologians the world over, who also are making important contributions to the contextualization of theology. This is lamentable, because, in terms of sheer numbers, the evangelical populations greatly outnumber those who hold a liberationist perspective. In other words, this volume reflects the views of a minority-albeit crucially important-voice of the Third World Christian Church. In sum, this volume would be a welcome addition to the library of an individual or institution committed to hearing from different, more marginalized, parts of the world.
M. Daniel Carroll R.
Professor of Old Testament