As liberation theology spread across the globe in the seventh and eighth decades of the twentieth century, the need was felt for mutual learning and teaching among its proponents in various continents. The Ecumenical Association of Third World Theologians (EATWOT) was founded at Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, in 1976 to facilitate such a dialogue. This article explores the ways in which the thought of Ignacio Ellacuría, S.J., (a Spanish philosopher and theologian who was murdered in El Salvador in 1989) and Asian liberation theology can enrich each other.
After situating Ellacuría, especially his activities as rector of the Jesuit University of Central America, in the context of political and military conflicts of El Salvador, the essay expounds Ellacuría's philosophy of realidad historica, his theology of the People of God as el pueblo crucificado, and his understanding of a Catholic university as a “social force,” and shows how these three ideas can enrich Asian liberation theology. The essay then presents Asian liberation theology in the socio-political and religious contexts of Asia and explains how it can enrich Ellacuría's thought and by extension Latin American liberation theology in three areas: theological method, through the use of non-Christian religious sources, especially popular religion; theology of liberation, by attending to the efforts of non-Christian activists for justice and peace; and a new way of being church, through a triple dialogue: dialogue with the Asian people, especially their poor; dialogue with Asian cultures; and dialogue with Asian religions.