The ultimate aim for many of the world’s major faith traditions is to love and be loved by God—to live in connection with the Divine, in union with the Beloved, in reconciliation with the Ultimate. Religious scholars Jeff Levin and Stephen G. Post have termed this connection “divine love.” In their new collection of the same name, they have invited eight of the world’s preeminent religious scholars to share their perspectives on the what, how, and why of divine love.
The contributors to Divine Love cover a broad spectrum of world religions, comparing and contrasting approaches to the topic among Christians of several denominations, Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, and adherents of traditional African religion. Each chapter focuses on the definition and conceptual boundaries of divine love; on its expression and experience; on its instrumentality and salience; and both on how it can become distorted and on how it has been made manifest or restored by great historic exemplars of altruism, compassion, and unlimited love.
From this diverse gathering of perspectives emerges evidence that to love and to be loved by God, to enter into a mutual and covenantal relationship with the Divine, may well offer solutions to many of the current crises around the world. Only a loving relationship with the Source of being within the context of the great faith and wisdom traditions of the world can fully inform and motivate the acts of love, unity, justice, compassion, kindness, and mercy for all beings that are so desperately required to counter the toxic influences in the world.
Contributors: William C. Chittick, Vigen Guroian, Ruben L. F. Habito, William K. Mahony, John S. Mbiti, Jacob Neusner, Clark H. Pinnock, and David Tracy.
Table of Contents
Foreword / ix Seyyed Hossein Nasr
Acknowledgments / xiii
Introduction: Divine Love in the World’s Religious Traditions / 3
1: “If God Did Not Love Me, God Would Not Have Made Me!”: Exploring Divine Love in African Religion / 23 John S. Mbiti
2: “In the Beginning, Love Entered That One”: Divine Love from a Perspective Informed by Vedic Hindu Thought / 56 William K. Mahony
3: Divine Love in Classical Judaism / 80 Jacob Neusner
4: Wisdom into Compassion: Buddhism in Practice / 108 Ruben L. F. Habito
5: God as Infinite Love: A Roman Catholic Perspective / 131 David Tracy
6: Divine and Human Love in Islam / 163 William C. Chittick
7: The Humanity of Divine Love: The Divinity of Human Love / 201 Vigen Guroian
8: I Love, Therefore I Am: A Relational and Charismatic Model of Love / 219 Clark H. Pinnock
Conclusion: Divine Love and Human Dignity / 237 Stephen G. Post
Contributors / 255
Index / 261
Divine Love is an outstanding collection of wonderful essays. Here accomplished religious writers from many faith traditions share their knowledge and insight. Take and read.
This powerful collection investigates the core of the great religious traditions of the world. It is the idea of divine love—love from the divine, inspiring love for the divine, invoking a horizontal love between humans, and creating a connectedness throughout all creation. These essays not only beautifully define divine love in each of the world religions—a gift in itself—but show why it is the answer to the crises of modern life, an answer that secularism, fundamentalism, and the new therapeutic religions cannot themselves convey. This is an excellent book for both the classroom and the individual inquirer. It is an informative and inspiring read.
Jeff Levin and Stephen Post are the editors of this scholarly collection of eight essays by a group of respected religious scholars on the who, what, when, and where of divine love. —Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat