At the heart of Christian ethics is the biblical commandment to love God and to love one's neighbor as oneself . But what is the meaning of love? Does love require self-sacrifice? Doe it involve eros, or sexual desire? Or is love an enlightened form of friendship? Scholars have wrestled with these questions since the recording of the Christian gospels, and in recent decades teachers and students of Christian ethics have engaged in vigorous debates about appropriate interpretations and implications of this critical norm. Simmons and Sorrells have assembled a who's who in the field of Christian ethics--including Lisa Cahill, Stephen Pope, Cathy Kaveny, Ron Green, Margaret Farley, John Kelsay, Emilie Townes, Ed Vacek, and Mark Jordan, among many others--to analyze and assess love from a variety of perspectives. The anthology includes three parts: Tradition, addressing biblical issues and great thinkers such as Augustine and Aquinas and Kant and Kierkegaard; Theory, focusing on various meanings of love; and Society, exploring an array of contemporary concerns such as law and health care and sex and religious pluralism. William Werpehowski of Georgetown University provides an afterword on future trajectories for this research.
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About the Author
Frederick V. Simmons is the J. Houston Witherspoon Fellow in Theology and the Natural Sciences at the Center of Theological Inquiry.Previously an assistant professor of ethics at Yale Divinity School, he has also taught at Amherst College, La Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador, and La Universidad Politécnica Salesiana. Brian C. Sorrells has taught courses on Christian ethics, world religions, human rights, biomedical ethics, and sexual ethics at Yale Divinity School, Harvard Divinity School, Brown University, and Amherst College.
Table of Contents
Introduction: A Conjunctive Approach to Christian LoveFrederick V. Simmons Part I: Tradition 1. Interpreting the Love Commands in Social Context: Deuteronomy and Jesus’s Sermon on the MountThomas W. Ogletree2. Conceptions of Love, Greek and ChristianTerence Irwin3. “Repellent Text”: The Transition from Wisdom to Ethics in Augustine’s Confessions 10Oliver O’Donovan4. The Desire for Happiness and the Virtues of the Will: Resolving a Paradox in Aquinas’s ThoughtJean Porter5. Kant on Practical and Pathological LoveJohn Hare6. Kierkegaard and Kant on the "Duty to Love”M. Jamie Ferreira Part II: Theory 7. The Problematic Love for God: “Love the Lord, All You Saints” (Psalm 31:23)Edward Collins Vacek8. Empathy, Compassion, and Love of NeighborJohn P. Reeder Jr.9. Forgiveness in the Service of Love Margaret A. Farley10. Agape as Self-Sacrifice: The Internalist ViewEdmund N. Santurri11. Eudaimonism and Christian LoveFrederick V. Simmons12. Christian Love as Friendship: Engaging the Thomistic TraditionStephen J. Pope13. Evolution, Agape, and the Image of God: A Reply to Various Naturalists Timothy P. Jackson Part III: Society 14. Love, Justice, and Law: The Strange Case of Watts v. WattsM. Cathleen Kaveny15. Global Health Justice: Love as Transformative Political ActionLisa Sowle Cahill16. Love in the Vocation of Christian Sexual Ethics: A Theologico-Political MeditationMark D. Jordan17. Meditations on Love and ViolenceEmilie M. Townes18. Loving Nature: Christian Environmental EthicsHolmes Rolston III19. The Double Love Command and the Ethics of Religious PluarlismEric Gregory20. Neighbor Love in the Jewish TraditionRonald M. Green21. Neighbor Love in Muslim Discourse John Kelsay Afterword William Werpehowski
What People are Saying About This
Amidst the wealth of reflection on Christian love spawned by Anders Nygren’s provocative Agape and Eros, Gene Outka’s Agape still stands out for its conceptual rigor and insight. Love and Christian Ethics, in weaving together new studies on love by a highly distinguished set of authors, ably furthers, and thereby honors, Outka’s legacy.
Simmons and Sorrells have given us a superb collection in Christian theology and ethics. Love and Christian Ethics includes contributions by many of today’s leading thinkers, and the essays are intelligently organized from reflections on Biblical texts to contemporary interreligious dialogues. This is a landmark volume for students and scholars that will be a standard reference for years to come.