Formation and Identity in Contemporary Cuban-American Literature and the New Testament

“With a focus on Cuban-American literature and the New Testament, this project offers a model for integrating contemporary Latinx literature into theological reflection within the context of the U.S. Latinx experience. ”

Team Members/Contributors

Gilberto A. Ruiz Saint Anselm College Contact Me

About this sabbatical grant for researchers

Can a traditional source of Christian theology---the Bible---aid in transforming contemporary literature into a source of theological reflection within the context of the U.S. Latinx experience? This question intrigues me because I agree with Natalia Imperatori-Lee, Lauren Guerra, and Michelle Gonzalez Maldonado that contemporary Latinx literature is a potent yet underused resource in Latinx theology. My project addresses this lacuna by examining contemporary Cuban-American literature as such a resource, but from a biblical studies perspective that differs from the more strictly theological approaches undertaken thus far. My aim is to show how narrative-critical and theological analysis of Latinx literature that is conducted alongside narrative and theological analysis of biblical literature offers a model for integrating contemporary Latinx literature into critical theological reflection. While my decision to examine select works of contemporary Cuban-American literature (by Carlos Eire, Cristina García, and Jennine Capó Crucet) and select passages from the New Testament (from the Gospels of Mark, Luke, John, and from 1 Peter and Revelation) as test cases for this model comes from my own personal and professional identity as a Cuban-American New Testament scholar, linking the literary products of Latinxs in the U.S. and the earliest believers in Jesus promises to be a fruitful intellectual endeavor because both groups are engaging in processes of identity construction and community formation. This project thus lies at the intersection of Latinx biblical interpretation, Latinx theology, and Latinx studies. It seeks to find new ways to relate the New Testament to Latinx culture and to contribute to Latinx theologians’ project of developing theologies that accompany Latinxs in their religious thinking and praxis, which thereby extends the project's potential impact onto Latinx Christian communities and the North American church more broadly.