Ivan Petrella

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Ivan Petrella (born November 8, 1969) is an Argentine social theorist and liberation theologian. He is an associate professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida and co-executive editor of the “Reclaiming Liberation Theology” book series with SCM Press.

Theological views[edit]

As an Argentine liberation theologian that is also agnostic,[1] Petrella’s scholarship cuts across religious studies departments and divinity schools, the United States and Latin America, and theology and the social sciences.[2] He is difficult to categorize. Historian Mario Aguilar notes that “for an Argentinean newspaper, he is a theologian, while for others in the United States he is a scholar of religion, two hats in one.”[3] His work “marks the appearance of something new and something different within the discourse of liberation theology as a world phenomenon.”[4] Petrella is particularly interested in bridging the divide between different liberation theologies including black theology, Latin American liberation theology, Womanist theology and Hispanic/Latino(a) theology. He also argues that disciplines like economics, political science, and law need to be transformed in light of liberation theology’s preferential option for the poor and envisions undercover liberation theologians posing as social scientists to engage that task: “Here the liberation theologian need not carry the label ‘theologian’ and works best under a different disciplinary guise. Could the future of liberation call for the dissolution of liberation theology as an identifiable field of production?”[5]


Ivan Petrella holds a Bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, a Masters of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School and a Ph.D. in Religion and Law from Harvard University’s Committee on the Study of Religion in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

Selected bibliography[edit]

  • Beyond Liberation Theology: A Polemic (London: SCM Press, 2008)
  • Theology for Another Possible World (London: SCM Press, 2007), as co-editor
  • The Future of Liberation Theology: An Argument and Manifesto (London: SCM Press, 2006, Held in over 375 libraries according to WorldCat [6]
  • Latin American Liberation Theology: The Next Generation (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2005), as editor. Held in over 200 libraries according to WorldCat [7]
    • review: Theology. no. 856, (2007): 299
    • review : Journal of the American Academy of Religion, 75, no. 1 (2007): 223-227

External links[edit]


  1. ^ “Solo le pido a Dios,” Viva (February 4, 2006)
  2. ^ Mario Aguilar, The History and Politics of Latin American Theology, Volume II (London: SCM Press, 2008) p.170. Chapter nine is an overview of Petrella’s work.
  3. ^ Mario Aguilar, History and Politics of Latin American Theology, Volume II p.170
  4. ^ Mario Aguilar, History and Politics of Latin American Theology, Volume II p.168
  5. ^ Ivan Petrella, Beyond Liberation Theology: a Polemic (London: SCM Press, 2008) p.150
  6. ^ http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/70909702&referer=brief_results
  7. ^ http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/56950774&referer=brief_results