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Disinterested Benevolence: An American Debate Over the Nature of Christian Love

Stephen Post
The Journal of Religious Ethics
Vol. 14, No. 2 (Fall, 1986), pp. 356-368
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40015043
Page Count: 13
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Disinterested Benevolence: An American Debate Over the Nature of Christian Love
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Abstract

This essay details the history of an important debate in American evangelical Christianity over the problem of disinterested benevolence, the common expression for Christian love during the early decades of the nineteenth century. It focuses on the thought of Jonathan Edwards and Samuel Hopkins, who differed significantly in their opinions regarding the degree to which Christian love requires self-denial. Some concluding remarks will underscore the persistence of this debate in the wider historical tradition of American theological ethics, as well as its normative importance.

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