THE LOGIC OF BIBLICAL LOVEKelly James Clark
You are invited to participate in the next session of the Logic and Religion Webinar Series which will be held on January 13, 2022 at 4pm CET with the topic:
THE LOGIC OF BIBLICAL LOVE
Speaker: Kelly Clark (Grand Valley State University, USA)
Chair: Francisco de Assis Mariano (University of Missouri-Columbia, USA)
Please register in advance!
Abstract: The logic of Christian love seems simple: we should love like God. Yet the abstract and eternal God of Christian tradition—for example, God as impassible and unchanging—is ill-suited to understanding human love. Moreover, the biblical texts represent God in very human terms. I argue that we should embrace these human and earthy textual metaphors when it comes to understanding human love. Through proclamation, prescription, and example, the highest form of human-human love emerges from the biblical texts: (a) God insists that we act for the good of all humans, and (b) the transformed Heart of the Lover insists on acting for the good of others. Biblical love of others is, first (but lowest), benevolence—acting for the good of others and, second (and highest), compassion--empathy-motivated self-sacrificial action. While we typically start with benevolence, God seeks to transform us into lovers that care for the oppressed and so are moved to act. Christian love, which unites the proper feelings-motives-actions, requires a thorough understanding of the proper relationship and role specific feelings, motives and actions. As such, Biblical love does not come in three or four flavors—agape, eros and philia (and/or storge)—it comes in countless flavors. Finally, and time permitting, I will situate this biblical conception of love within a broader Abrahamic context. I deconstruct the pernicious myth that Jewish Love is restricted to Israel (tribalism), Muslim Love reduces to justice (no love), but, for Christians, God is (universal and agapeic) Love.
With best wishes,
Francisco de Assis Mariano
The University of Missouri-Columbia