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God and the Gift : An Ecumenical Theology of Giving

God and the Gift : An Ecumenical Theology of Giving

Risto Saarinen
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The observation that contemporary ecumenical, theological, and philosophical discussions center on the issues of reception and the gift but neglect the basic act of giving is the starting point of God and the Gift. Risto Saarinen asks if we can approach these discussions from the perspective of giver and from the very act of giving? In God and the Gift Saarinen demonstrates that we do have theological resources that enable us to outline a theology of giving and they provide an opportunity to approach old problems from a relatively new viewpoint. He deals with basic philosophical and theological resources and outlines some specific modes of giving, in particular forgiveness, sacrifice and thanksgiving, and imitation or giving an example. God and the Gift outlines a brief theology of giving by employing both classical theology and contemporary discussions. It also points out the ecumenical relevance of the theology of giving. For those who are more interested in particular theological and philosophical topics, some new interpretations are offered for further discussion. Among these are an interpretation of forgiveness as negative giving, a discussion on the relationship between sacrifice and divine non-violence, and a new proposal to conceptualize various types of Christian imitation. These aims are connected with the overall claim that instead of looking at reception and the gift we should focus on the issue of giving. Saarinen illustrates this shift of perspective with observations and examples. Though not discussed exhaustively, they serve as preliminary signposts showing us the way to proceed. Chapters are "Introduction: Giving and Receiving," "The Gift: Contemporary Approaches," "NewTestament and Martin Luther," "Forgiveness and Negative Giving," "Sacrifice and Thanksgiving," "Giving an Example-Being Gifted," and "Ecumenical Sharing."


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