chapter  3
28 Pages

The other as icon or idol

We saw in Chapter 1 that in liberation theology the poor are understood as the chosen ones of God, those in whom God chooses to reveal himself to us today. ey have, in other words, a sacramental force and are regarded by liberation theology as iconic. On the other hand, anything that encloses rather than discloses God, as we saw in the previous chapter, is regarded as idolatrous. In order to question whether liberation theology runs the risk of making of the poor a conceptual idol, (principally in terms of what in the previous chapter I termed Idolatry 1), it will be necessary to ask about the nature of icons and idols. I start with the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas, asking what it means to speak of the other as other. en, I turn to Jean-Luc Marion’s notion of conceptual idolatry and iconicity. Marion will also provide a way for seeing what the “otherness” of the theologian to the other poor might consist in.