Love Disconsoled: Meditations on Christian Charity

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Few concepts are more central to ethics than love, but none is more subject to false consolation. This 1999 book explores several theological, philosophical and literary accounts of love, focusing on how it relates to matters such as self-interest and self-sacrifice, and invulnerability and immortality. Timothy Jackson first considers key aspects of what the Bible says about love, then he further examines the meaning of love and sacrifice through a close reading of novels by Fitzgerald and Hemingway. Lastly, he evaluates how love constrains, and is constrained by, other traditional moral concepts. Throughout, Jackson defends the moral priority of what the Christian tradition calls 'agape'. He argues that a proper understanding of agapic love rejects both moral relativism and the comfort of believing that good people cannot be harmed, or that God causally necessitates every historical action and event. When love is thus disconsoled, it neither fears death nor despises life.