Praxis model

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Praxis Model is a way of doing theology that is formed by knowledge at its most intense level.[1] It is also about discerning the meaning and contributing to the course of social change, and so it takes its inspiration from neither classic texts nor classic behavior but from present realities and future possibilities.[1] The praxis model gives ample room for expressions of personal and communal experience.[1] At the same time it provides exciting new understandings of the sriptural and older theological witness.[1]


The term praxis is used as an alternative to the terms "practice" or "action" in both theological and the social science disciplines. "Praxis" is a term not unfamiliar to Christian thought, where Orthopraxy is a term derived from Greek ὀρθοπραξία (orthopraxia) meaning "correct action/activity" or an emphasis on conduct, both ethical and liturgical, as opposed to faith or grace etc.[2][3][4] This contrasts with orthodoxy, which emphasizes correct belief, and ritualism, the use of rituals.[5] The term is frequently used by liberation theology proponents, such as Gustavo Gutierrez, who emphasize "praxis" over doctrine. Gutierrez later clarified his position by advocating a circular relationship between orthodoxy and orthopraxis seeing the two as having a symbiotic relationship.[6] Gutierrez' reading of the Biblical prophets condemning oppression and injustice against the poor (i.e. Jeremiah 22:13–17) informs his assertion that to know God (orthodoxy) is to do justice (orthopraxis).[7] Cardinal Ratzinger (the future Pope Benedict XVI), however, criticized liberation theology for elevating orthopraxis to the level of orthodoxy.[8] Richard McBrien summarizes this concept as follows:

God is disclosed in the historical ‘’praxis’’ of liberation. It is the situation, and our passionate and reflective involvement in it, which mediates the Word of God. Today that Word is mediated through the cries of the poor and the oppressed.[9]

In the social sciences, the term praxis is understood as a technical term with roots in Marxism, and in the educational philosophy of Paulo Freire. It is a term that denotes a method or model of theology in particular.


  1. ^ a b c d (English) Stephen B. Bevans. Models of Contextual Theology. USA: Orbis Books.
  2. ^ Jackson, Elizabeth (2007). The Illustrated Dictionary of Culture. Lotus Press. p. 147. ISBN 978-81-89093-26-6. 
  3. ^ Westley, Miles (2005). The Bibliophile's Dictionary. Writer's Digest Books. p. 91. ISBN 978-1-58297-356-2. 
  4. ^ McKim, Donald K. (1996). Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms. Westminster John Knox Press. p. 197. ISBN 978-0-664-25511-4. 
  5. ^ McKim, Donald K. (1996). Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms. Westminster John Knox Press. pp. 197, 242. ISBN 978-0-664-25511-4. 
  6. ^ Gutierrez, Gustavo. The Truth Shall Make You Free: Confrontations. Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis, 1990. (Original: La verdad los hara libres: confrontaciones. Lima: CEP, 1986)
  7. ^ Gutierrez, Gustavo. The Power of Poor in History. Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis, 1983. (Original: La fuerza historica de los obres: seleccion de trabajos. Lima: CEP, 1971.)
  8. ^ Ratzinger, Joseph Cardinal (2007). "Liberation Theology: Preliminary Notes", in The Ratzinger Report. (2007). Reprinted in: J.F. Thornton and S.B. Varenne, eds., The Essential Pope Benedict XVI. Online version: Harper Collins,. 
  9. ^ McBrien, R.P. ‘’Catholicism’’ (Harper Collins, 1995), pp. 249–250.