This book explores the different dimensions of Christian love. It argues that all expressions of love are wrestling with the challenge of otherness and hence with the experience of transcendence. The development of Christian concepts of love is discussed with particular reference to the different horizons and the variety of approaches to love in the Bible, Augustine, medieval theology, Protestant agape-theology, Catholic approaches to desire, and contemporary philosophy and sociology. The discussion of the rich and often problematic heritage of expressions of personal, communal and religious love enables this study to develop a critical and constructive theology of Christian love for our time. This book demonstrates the diversity in the Christian tradition of love and thus offers a critical perspective on previous and present impositions of homogenous concepts of love. The book invites the reader to an in-depth examination of the potential of Christian love and its particular institutions for the development of personal and communal forms of Christian discipleship.
The traditional separation between agape love and eroticism is overcome in favour of an integrated model of love that acknowledges both God's gift of love and the potential of every woman, man and child to contribute to the transformative praxis of love in church and society.
Werner G. Jeanrond is Professor of Divinity at the University of Glasgow, UK. He has previously taught systematic theology at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland and Lund University, Sweden. His books and articles in theology and hermeneutics have been translated into many languages.
Preface; Chapter 1: Horizons of love; Chapter 2: Biblical challenges to a theology of love; Chapter 3: Augustine's theology of divine love; Chapter 4: The subject in medieval theologies of love; Chapter 5: Love as agape: A Protestant paradigm; Chapter 6: Love and desire: Catholic perspectives; Chapter 7: Institutions of love: Rethinking family, friendship, and community; Chapter 8: Bodies of love: Sexuality, sacrifice and self-giving; Chapter 9: The praxis of Christian love in a pluralist age; Chapter 10: The politics of love: Human and divine love; Bibliography; Indices.