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Book Chapter

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Orbis Books


The writings of Jon Sobrino on suffering are so extensive, the theme so pervasively represented in virtually all of his works, that it is difficult to know where to start delineating a "theology of suffering" in his works . Sobrino himself does not identify any one part of his work as a "theology of suffering" per se. Still, there are certain fundamental motifs that recur throughout his writings and that lend to them a coherence and consistency that allow us to take the measure of his contribution to theological reflection on suffering. This project is probably best undertaken in retrospect, as we survey Sobrino 's vast corpus, and as we reflect with gratitude on all that this great theologian has given us to consider on the topic of suffering. I will demonstrate here that the attempt to articulate Sobrino's "theology of suffering" will take us directly into his theology of the cross and resurrection-his theology of the paschal mystery - for this is where his fundamental reflections on suffering are to be found.

I wish to consider Sobrino's approach to suffering in three stages. First, I will examine Ellacuria's metaphor of the "crucified people:' I will then show how Sobrino develops this metaphor in his own work, particularly in his theology of the paschal mystery. Finally, I will suggest that the praxis of resurrection gives concrete form to the summons to remove the suffering poor from their crosses. The whole of Sobrino's theological treatment of suffering, I will argue, can only be seen within the framework of the paschal mystery, both cross and resurrection. Eschewing a theodicy removed from Christology, Sobrino's theology from suffering is an integral moment of his Christology and leads to a central insight into suffering: that the power of God's love wants to bring it to an end.

Chapter of

Hope and Solidarity: Jon Sobrino’s Challenge to Christian Theology


Stephen J. Pope


Copyright © 2008 Orbis Books. Reprinted with permission.

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