(Article changed on March 22, 2014 at 13:22)
One World, One People, photo by by NASA
As you may know, "Liberation Theology" as academics know it began is a political movement among certain Roman Catholic priests and their lay parish members, as well as certain progressive Protestants like the late Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., who interpreted the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as intended to liberate the people, and especially the poor, from unjust economic, political and social conditions.
In other words, they took seriously the parts of scripture such as the following:
"Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to remove the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; and when you see the naked, to cover them?" -- Isaiah 58:3-24
"Defend the poor and fatherless. Do justice to the afflicted and needy. Deliver the poor and needy: take them out of the hands of the wicked." -- Psalm 82:3-4
"He that oppresses the poor reproaches his Maker, but he that honors the Lord has mercy on the poor." -- Proverbs 14:31
"The righteous consider the cause of the poor, but the wicked care not to know it." -- Proverbs 29:7
"Judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy." -- Proverbs 31:9
"If a brother or sister is naked and hungry, and one of you who are warmed and filled says to them, "Depart' and do not give them those things which the body needs; what does it profit you? Therefore, faith without works is dead, being alone. Yes, a man may say, you have faith, and I have works, but show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works." -- James 2:14-18
"And all that believed were together, and had all things common. They sold their possessions and goods, and distributed proceeds to everyone as they had need." -- Acts 2:44-45
"None among them lacked, for those that owned lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds from the things that were sold, and distributed them to everyone according to their need." -- Acts 4:34-35
By the way, those last two references from the book of Acts are to one group of followers of Jesus' teachings -- a group who identified with a certain group of Essenes, of whom the following speaks:
"None among them can be found richer than another. It is their law that all who enter the sect must divide their property among the members of the society, with the result that there is never seen among them either abject poverty nor great wealth, for, since every man's possessions are put into the common treasury, they all have, like brothers, one inheritance." -- Flavius Josephus
Flavius Josephus was an impartial Jewish historian writing about a sect of Essenes. And according to the author of a new liberation theology, that Essene sect was one to which Mary, Joseph, Jesus and James either identified with or associated with, which is why some of the disciples of Jesus did the same thing, as the Christian book of Acts reports.
In other words, caring for the poor and treating others as your self wasn't just an early Christian thing to do. It was what good Jews, especially those in certain Essene communities did as well, being influenced by the teachings of the great Jewish sage, Hillel the Elder, who first established the Golden Rule that Jesus later taught. And both Hillel and Jesus said that the Golden Rule is the summation of the Torah.
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