Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics
THE RECENT CONVERSATION WITHIN CHRISTIAN ETHICS ABOUTTHE RELA tionship between universal obligations and particular, intensive relations—be tween agape and "special relations" —largely accepts Gene Outka's formula tion that these are separate and competing moral claims that must be balanced within the Christian moral life. I examine the relationship between agape and special relations through the lens of dependency and dependent-care rela tions. Attention to dependent care and the material needs addressed within them raises questions about the sharp division between universal and partic ular obligations. Drawing on the work of feminist philosopher Eva Feder Kit tay, I argue that an adequate understanding of Christian love must take account of both our fundamental human equality and the pervasiveness of dependency in human life. Such an understanding of Christian love reveals that agape is a matter of personal and social ethics.
Sullivan-Dunbar, S. "Christian Love, Material Needs, and Dependent Care: A Feminist Critique of the Debate on Agape and ‘Special Relations." Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics 29(2), 2009.
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