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

Journal of Religious Ethics 14 (2):356 - 368 (1986)
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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