Love and Imitation in the New Testament and Recent Christian Ethics

Dissertation, Yale University (1990)
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Abstract

This dissertation seeks to bridge the gulf between New Testament studies and Christian theological ethics by integrating them on the topic of Christian love for others--especially when such a love is correlated with the appeal to imitate God or Jesus Christ. The general goal of this endeavor is therefore to do an exercise in hermeneutics--to make the Scripture speak to contemporary Christians ethically. The specific goal, then, is to establish the rudiments of a complete ethical theory of Christian love which is biblically based. ;In order to achieve these goals, this dissertation will carry out three tasks: the descriptive task--to ascertain exegetically the meaning of those passages of love which correlate love with imitation ; the interpretive task--to translate the moral messages contained in these passages from their first century vernacular into the contemporary, technical, ethical language; the evaluative task--to assess selected interpretations by recent Christian ethicists of individual texts on Christian love, and the message on Christian love in the New Testament in general. ;On the basis of the result of these descriptive and interpretive tasks, I formulate eight theses on a Christian ethics of love. I also find that many contemporary interpreters of Christian love have neglected many of these theses

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