The commandment of love in Kierkegaard and Caputo

Knut Alfsvåg 1
  • 1 School of Mission and Theology, Misjonsmarken 12, N-4024 Stavanger

Summary

What is the relation between the gospel of unconditional grace and the commandment of unconditional love, and what are the conditions for realizing the commandment when a Christian world view can no longer be taken for granted? These questions are here explored by means of Kierkegaard’s Works of Love and Caputo’s The Weakness of God. According to Kierkegaard, the general applicability of the commandment of unconditional love follows from the gospel’s story of it being realized in the person of Jesus Christ, thus placing its divine realization within the realm of the humanly possible. There is therefore no contradiction between the gospel of grace and the commandment of love, on the contrary, they mutually presuppose each other. This is even confirmed negatively in the work of Caputo, as his insistence on the indefinability of the source of the call issues in a different understanding of its realization whereby he subverts the radicality of the commandment. Even within a contemporary pluralist context, the commandment of love being heard in its radical unconditionality is therefore dependent on its source being identified as the eternal One as incarnated in the human Jesus Christ.

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