Visions of Agapé Problems and Possibilities in Human and Divine Love
This book brings together philosophical and theological perspectives on agapistic love. The aim of the text is to illuminate the nature of unlimited love by distinct and integrative approaches to the intersection of the divine and the human. Various scientific approaches to human forms of love seem to shed light on our nature as social beings. But to what extent are the natural desires for affection, sexual love and friendship augmented, revised, perfected or replaced by the gift of grace? In other words, we can ask how is it that agapé modifies or shapes the natural loves? Diverse theological and moral traditions address the question in quite startling contrast. Thomists follow the dictum that 'Grace does not destroy nature but perfects it'. Lutherans draw a sharp contrast between law and Gospel while Wesleyans see charity as the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit. Some feminist theorists see the idea of self-giving love as contrary to genuine self-fulfilment while the neo-Kantians see love as a duty to others, and some Kierkegaardians see the command to love as an unusual manifestation of divine command ethics. These diverse approaches, in light of contemporary research in the natural and social sciences, can provide fertile ground for the exploration of the intersection of human and divine love. To date, there is no text available that brings scholars from various theological and philosophical backgrounds together to engage in interdisciplinary dialogue on this important and much neglected aspect of research into the human and divine loves. This book offers a significant attempt to remedy the situation.
’... in presenting the key problems of current research on love, the essays offer a valuable and thought-provoking guide to this perennially intriguing subject.’ Ephemerides TheologicÃ¦ Lovanienses ’Because there are few (if any) weak links as the reader moves from each chapter to the next (unlike many edited volumes), what emerges is a convergence of insights, arguments, and exploratory hypotheses that advances the interdisciplinary discussion on theology of love.’ Religious Studies Review '[This volume plays] a significant role in addressing specific issues in current research and stimulating contemporary discussion. ... in these pages, there is embedded much to stimulate reflection and action on the most central of all religious dimensions, love human and love divine.' Modern Believing