This anthology brings together, for the first time, leading essays and book chapters from theologians, philosophers, and scientists on their research on ethics, altruism, and love. Because the general consensus today is that scholarship in moral theory requires empirical research, the arguments of the leading scholars presented in this book will be fundamental to those examining issues in love, ethics, religion, and science.
The first half of The Altruism Reader offers essential selections from religious texts, leading contemporary scholars, and cutting-edge ethicists. Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism are represented. Among the highly respected writers are Thomas Aquinas, the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, John Polkinghorne, Stephen Pope, Louis Fischer, Amira Shamma Abdin, Katharine Doob Sakenfeld, and Daniel Day Williams.
The book’s second half features primary readings on love and altruism from the sciences. Here the focus is on anthropology, psychology, sociology, biology, and neurology, with material written by Daniel C. Batson, David Sloan Wilson, Robert Wright, Stephen G. Post, Robert Axelrod, Richard Dawkins, Holmes Rolston III, and other renowned scientists and philosophers.
“Virtually all people act—and often talk—as if they have some clue about love. We speak about loving food, falling in love, loving God, feeling loved, and loving a type of music. We say that love hurts, love waits, love stinks, and love means never having to say you’re sorry. We use the word and its derivatives in a wide variety of ways . . . . My definition of love is this: To love is to act intentionally, in sympathetic response to others (including God), to promote well-being.” —Thomas Jay Oord
Notions of Christian love, or charity, strongly shaped the political thought of John Winthrop, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln as each presided over a foundational moment in the development of American democracy. Matthew Holland examines how each figure interpreted and appropriated charity, revealing both the problems and possibilities of making it a political ideal.
Holland first looks at early American literature and seminal speeches by Winthrop to show how the Puritan theology of this famed 17th century governor of the Massachusetts Colony (he who first envisioned America as a "City upon a Hill") galvanized an impressive sense of self-rule and a community of care in the early republic, even as its harsher aspects made something like Jefferson's Enlightenment faith in liberal democracy a welcome development . Holland then shows that between Jefferson's early rough draft of the Declaration of Independence and his First Inaugural Jefferson came to see some notion of charity as a necessary complement to modern political liberty.
However, Holland argues, it was Lincoln and his ingenious blend of Puritan and democratic insights who best fulfilled the promise of this nation's "bonds of affection." With his recognition of the imperfections of both North and South, his humility in the face of God's judgment on the Civil War, and his insistence on "charity for all," including the defeated Confederacy, Lincoln personified the possibilities of religious love turned civic virtue.
Weaving a rich tapestry of insights from political science and literature and American religious history and political theory, Bonds of Affection is a major contribution to the study of American political identity. Matthew Holland makes plain that civic charity, while commonly rejected as irrelevant or even harmful to political engagement, has been integral to our national character.
The book includes the full texts of Winthrop's speech "A Model of Christian Charity"; Jefferson's rough draft of the Declaration and his First Inaugural; and Lincoln's Second Inaugural.
In the nineteenth century, Woman's Exchanges formed a vast national network that created economic alternatives for financially vulnerable women in a world that permitted few respectable employment options. Many remain in business.
Kathleen Waters Sander delves into the history of Woman's Exchanges and looks at the women who led the organizations—and those who used them to stave off poverty. One of the nation's oldest continuously operating voluntary movements, Exchanges like the Philadelphia Ladies' Depository and the Dorcas Society were fashionable, popular shops where women who had fallen on hard times could sustain themselves. By selling their handiwork on consignment, they not only earned money but avoided the stigma of seeking public employment. As Sander shows, Exchanges evolved into an important forum for entrepreneurial growth. They also provide an example of how women used the voluntary sector, which had so successfully served as a conduit for their political and social reforms, to advance opportunities for economic independence.
Alongside the architectural splendor and intellectual brilliance of early Renaissance Florence there existed a second world of poverty, misery, social despair, and child abandonment. The Ospedale degli Innocenti (Hospital of the Innocents), designed and built between 1419 and 1445 by the renowned architect Filippo Brunelleschi, united these disparate worlds. Christian charity and compassion, as well as the humanist commitment to social perfection, family values, and love for children, were intertwined with a civic pride in which charity curried God's favor and invoked God's blessings on the city's fortunes.
Based on a close and attentive reading of archival material from the hospital and from the Florentine State Archives, Charity and Children in Renaissance Florence both chronicles the concerns and ambivalence of parents who abandoned children and follows the lives of the hospital's inhabitants from childhood to death. The book also demonstrates how hospital officials deliberately duplicated the structure and values of the Florentine family within the hospital walls. Gavitt's research shows that early modern foundling hospitals were not charnel houses where parents knowingly and impersonally abandoned their unwanted children to certain death. Charity and Children in Renaissance Florence provokes reflection on the contrast between our own views on the care of homeless children and those of the Italian Renaissance.
Winner of the Society for Italian Historical Studies 1988 Award for Best Unpublished Manuscript.
Charity and Condescension explores how condescension, a traditional English virtue, went sour in the nineteenth century, and considers how the failure of condescension influenced Victorian efforts to reform philanthropy and to construct new narrative models of social conciliation. In the literary work of authors like Dickens, Eliot, and Tennyson, and in the writing of reformers like Octavia Hill and Samuel Barnett, condescension—once a sign of the power and value of charity—became an emblem of charity’s limitations.
This book argues that, despite Victorian charity’s reputation for idealistic self-assurance, it frequently doubted its own operations and was driven by creative self-critique. Through sophisticated and original close readings of important Victorian texts, Daniel Siegel shows how these important ideas developed even as England struggled to deal with its growing underclass and an expanding notion of the state’s responsibility to its poor.
Charity is not only about giving to those in need, but in a broader sense about loving your neighbor and doing good things for other people without thought of reward. So wrote Swedish visionary Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772), who believed that charity, along with faith, was part of the foundation of spiritual practice.
This work combines two of Swedenborg's unpublished manuscripts to form a practical, inspirational handbook for applying the principle of doing good to daily life.
Renaissance Italians pioneered radical changes in ways of helping the poor, including orphanages, workhouses, pawnshops, and women’s shelters. Nicholas Terpstra shows that gender was the key factor driving innovation. Most of the recipients of charity were women. The most creative new plans focused on features of women’s poverty like illegitimate births, hunger, unemployment, and domestic violence. Signal features of the reforms, from forced labor to new instruments of saving and lending, were devised specifically to help young women get a start in life.Cultures of Charity is the first book to see women’s poverty as the key factor driving changes to poor relief. These changes generated intense political debates as proponents of republican democracy challenged more elitist and authoritarian forms of government emerging at the time. Should taxes fund poor relief? Could forced labor help build local industry? Focusing on Bologna, Terpstra looks at how these fights around politics and gender generated pioneering forms of poor relief, including early examples of maternity benefits, unemployment insurance, food stamps, and credit union savings plans.
In this updated edition, Doris Zames Fleischer and Frieda Zames expand their encyclopedic history of the struggle for disability rights in the United States, to include the past ten years of disability rights activism.The book includes a new chapter on the evolving impact of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the continuing struggle for cross-disability civil and human rights, and the changing perceptions of disability.
The authors provide a probing analysis of such topics as deinstitutionalization, housing, health care, assisted suicide, employment, education, new technologies, disabled veterans, and disability culture.
Based on interviews with over one hundred activists, The Disability Rights Movement tells a complex and compelling story of an ongoing movement that seeks to create an equitable and diverse society, inclusive of people with disabilities.
This book includes guidance as well as information and inspiration. There are practical recommendations on how to perform acts of kindness in personal lives and at work, toward friends, colleagues, and family members—even with one's enemies. Suggestions are also offered on ways to encourage others to be kind so they, too, can experience the joy that results.
Octave Mirbeau was one of the most prolific literary figures of France’s storied Belle Époque, and his innovative theatrical works are only recently being rediscovered and appreciated by modern audiences. Here for the first time in English-language translation are his two most celebrated and successful plays: Business is Business, a classical comedy of manners recalling Molière; and Charity, a satirical comedy centered around the exploitation of adolescents in a dubious charity home. In addition to the play texts, this volume also includes an introduction contextualizing the works and the translation and adaptation process.
As an inchoate middle class emerged in Puerto Rico in the early nineteenth century, its members sought to control not only public space, but also the people, activities, and even attitudes that filled it. Their instruments were the San Juan town council and the Casa de Beneficencia, a state-run charitable establishment charged with responsibility for the poor.
In this book, Teresita Martínez-Vergne explores how municipal officials and the Casa de Beneficencia shaped the discourse on public and private space and thereby marginalized the worthy poor and vagrants, "liberated" Africans, indigent and unruly women, and destitute children. Drawing on extensive and innovative archival research, she shows that the men who comprised the San Juan ayuntamiento and the board of charity regulated the public discourse on topics such as education, religious orthodoxy, hygiene, and family life, thereby establishing norms for "correct" social behavior and chastising the "deviant" lifestyles of the working poor.
This research clarifies the ways in which San Juan's middle class defined itself in the midst of rapid social and economic change. It also offers new insights into notions of citizenship and the process of nation-building in the Caribbean.
In Unexpected Grace Bill Kramer offers a rare look into the human side of the world of scientific research. He goes behind the scenes of four scientific investigations on diverse aspects of the study of unlimited love and offers uplifting portraits of human beings struggling to understand and improve the complex issues facing them. He explores the dynamics between the researchers, the subjects they study, and the participants in the studies, and eloquently tells their personal stories. The stories touch on vastly different social and human issues, but all are connected by love.
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