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DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-L010-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved May 21, 2024, from

Article Summary

Within at least some branches of Christianity, the term ‘charity’ has been used to mean the love mandated by Jesus. In recent theological writings, however, there has been a tendency to replace it with the Greek word agapē. There has been some disagreement in the twentieth century concerning the precise nature and functioning of Christian love, a major catalyst for debate having been Anders Nygren’s book Agapē and Eros (1930–6). Numerous scholars have complained that charity does not have a high profile nowadays and have noted that, in common parlance, the word usually has the meaning of benevolence or beneficence. Some attempts have been made to place greater emphasis on Christian love and relationships within Christian ethics. Of some interest in this regard is the notion of an ethic of care, which is not confined to Christian circles but has been the subject of some debate in recent times.

Citing this article:
Hoose, Bernard. Charity, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-L010-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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