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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Finite Goods of Friendship: God's Wisdom and the Ambiguity of Love
by Dumansky, Terry Jean, Ph.D., Yale University, 2015, 212; 10012421
Abstract (Summary)

This study contributes to the ongoing theological conversation about the gift of human friendship. It advances questions about the purpose and goods of friendship by attending to the category of human finitude, recasting perennial themes such as mutuality and fidelity through an emphasis on the ambiguity and limitations of human love. The theological motivation for emphasizing finitude stems from the question of how God creatively relates to the quotidian details of human relationships. The theological literature on friendship has tended to interpret the importance of this relationship through the lenses of redemption and eschatological consummation. While these are appropriate frameworks through which to explore the meaning of friendship, a result of this tendency is that the theological discourse around friendship is overwhelmingly colored by visions of its perfection and ultimate fulfillment. Furthermore, there is a tendency to describe the ambiguities and ambivalence of friendships in terms of moral failure or structural sin. In order to bring out the lived complexity of the bond of friendship, and to attend to the flourishing of finite friendships in and for the sake of their very limitations and ambiguities, this study grounds its exploration of friendship within a narrative of creation. Utilizing insights from David Kelsey's recent theological anthropology, Eccentric Existence, it provides an answer to the question of how friendship might be understood as a faithful response to God's wise, creative relating to quotidian life. This study argues that the wisdom and generosity of finite friendship arises out of and acts for the sake of our creaturely insufficiencies and peculiarities.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Tanner, Kathryn, Volf, Miroslav
School: Yale University
School Location: United States -- Connecticut
Source: DAI-A 77/06(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Ethics, Theology
Keywords: Augustine, Creation, Feminist, Finitude, Friendship, God
Publication Number: 10012421
ISBN: 978-1-339-47522-6
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