Humanization in the christology of Juan Luis Segundo

Marilyn Ann Sunderman, Fordham University


Juan Luis Segundo, a Uruguayan Jesuit, is the author of Jesus of Nazareth: Yesterday and Today, a multivolume word in which he utilizes the method of the "hermeneutic circle" to interpret christology from the perspective of Latin American liberation theology. The situation of dehumanization in Latin America is the context for Segundo's portrayal of Jesus of Nazareth as the One who exemplifies the process of humanization.^ Integral humanization, which is the ongoing process of transformation of individuals and societies through grace according to such values as freedom, love, and justice, is an important theme in both Scripture and numerous Roman Catholic Church documents. In his work is christology, Segundo explores this theme from various perspectives: (1) religio-political in his interpretation of the Synoptic vision of Jesus; (2) anthropological in his treatment of Romans 1-8; (3) evolutionary in his own christology; and (4) spiritual in his discussion of the Ignatian Exercises. Throughout his christological corpus, Segundo presents Jesus as the One who is the paradigm of the process of humanization. Segundo views Jesus' prophetic ministry as depicted by the Synoptic gospel writers as religio-political activity that advanced the humanization process and maintains that Paul's Letter to the Romans 1-8 characterizes Jesus as the reconciler of the condition of the "divided human being." Segundo's own evolutionary christology presents Jesus as the One who advanced the humanization process by immersing Himself in the entropy/negentropy process and by living out such humanizing values as freedom, flexibility, and love in His life. Segundo bases his analysis of the Ignatian Exercises on his contention that they need to be reinterpreted from the viewpoint of a "project" type of spirituality which views humanization as participation with Jesus in Kingdom building activity.^ The theme of humanization is woven throughout Segundo's christology and has implications for spirituality, especially with regard to conversion, discipleship, and stewardship. Although Segundo's christology is not without its limitations, it may prove to be one of the most important theological contributions of this century. ^

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Recommended Citation

Sunderman, Marilyn Ann, "Humanization in the christology of Juan Luis Segundo" (1995). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9520616.