This book explores the way in which the study and practice of love creates a common ground for different faiths and different traditions within the same faith. For the contributors, “common ground” in this context is not a minimal core of belief or a lowest common denominator of faith, but a space or area in which to live together, consider together the meaning of the love to which various faiths witness, and work together to enable human flourishing. Such a space, the contributors believe, is possible because it is the place of encounter with the divine. This book is the fruit of a Project for the Study of Love in Religion which aims to create this space in which different traditions of love converge, from Islam, Judaism, and the Christianity of both East and West. Tools employed by the contributors in exploring this space of love include exegesis of ancient texts, theology, accounts of mystical experience, philosophy, and evolutionary science of the human. Insights about human and divine love that emerge include its nature as a form of knowing, its sacrificial and erotic dimensions, its inclination towards beauty, its making of community and its importance for a just political and economic life.
Paul S. Fiddes is professor of systematic theology in the University of Oxford, Principal Emeritus of Regent’s Park College, Oxford, and Senior Research Fellow of the College.
1. God is Love, but is Love God? Towards a Theology of Love as Knowledge
Paul S. Fiddes
Love in Islam
2. Love in the Holy Qur’an
HRH Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad bin Talal of Jordan
3. The Journey of Love and the Challenges of the “Self”: Rūmī’s View in Islamic Context.
4. Bridal Symbolism, Eroticization of Divine Love and Friendship Among Medieval Female Mystics in Islam and Christianity
Love in Judaism
5. Judaism’s Commandment to Love: “A Well-Tempered Banality” or the Messianic Trumpet’s Blast?
6. Harmony of Mind and Body: Theories of Love in Rabbinic and Mystical Literature
7. Tensions within the Study of Love in Religion: Reflections Arising from Conversation
between Jewish and Christian Scholars
Love in Christianity
8. Transfiguring Love in Byzantine Theology: The System of St. Maximus the Confessor
9. “Let him kiss me with the kiss of his mouth”: Erotic Love in the Western Christian Mystical Tradition
10. Sacrifice and the Self: A Christian Mystery of Love
Julia T. Meszaros
Common Philosophical Traditions about Love
11. Love and the Limits of Platonic Desire
12. The Universal and the Individual: Aristotle on Substance and Friendship-Love (Philia)
The Study of Love in Religion
13. Theological Reflections on “Christian” and “Human” Love
Werner G. Jeanrond
14. Love as Belonging: Towards an Interdisciplinary Understanding of the Human
15. The Potentialities of Love in Social, Political and Economic Contexts