Liberating news: An emerging United States Hispanic/Latina soteriology of the crossroads

Loida I Martell-Otero, Fordham University


This dissertation examines the particular contextual soteriology that arises from the experience of bilingualism, multiculturalism, marginality, and poverty of the Latina/o community residing in the United States. It argues that as a contextual endeavor, such a soteriology presents an understanding of salvation that can be distinguished from Euro- and Latin American expressions, even as it shares commonalities with the broader Christian tradition. This U.S. Hispanic/Latina soteriology in turn enriches the larger theological discourse in the Christian Church with new insights and paradigms. The purpose of this project is to construct the contours of an emerging ecumenical U.S. Hispanic/Latina soteriology. To this end, I analyze the soteriologies of two foundational figures for U.S. Hispanic/Latina theology. Virgilio P. Elizondo is a Mexican American Catholic theologian from the Southwest. Orlando E. Costas is a Puerto Rican Protestant missiologist, who resided primarily in the Northeast of the United States. To set the context for this, chapter one presents a brief survey of the literature on salvation, defining terms. It examines three soteriological paradigms represented by Karl Barth together with Jürgen Moltmann, Edward Schillebeeckx, and Gustavo Gutiérrez. These paradigms are used to evaluate critically the construction of a U.S. Hispanic/Latina doctrine of salvation. Chapter two explores the general historical, social, and religious context of the U.S. Hispanic/Latina community, noting in particular its cultural, linguistic, social, political, and religious diversity. Chapter three examines Elizondo's soteriology. This includes a discussion of his Christology and his Guadalupan theology. It makes note of his contribution of the concept of mestizaje, which has become a significant theological paradigm that characterizes U.S. Hispanic/Latina theology, as well as his pioneering work in popular religiosity as an important locus theologicus. Chapter four examines Costas' soteriology, including his Christology and pneumatology. He focuses on the salvific value of “periphery.” His expanded understanding of “the poor” along with an understanding of conversion as a dynamic process have been important contributions for a U.S. Hispanic/Latina soteriology. Chapter five integrates the findings of chapters two through four to construct the overall contours of a U.S. Hispanic/Latina doctrine of salvation.

Subject Area

Theology|Minority & ethnic groups|Sociology

Recommended Citation

Martell-Otero, Loida I, "Liberating news: An emerging United States Hispanic/Latina soteriology of the crossroads" (2005). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3159392.