The Tragedy of Human Freedom: The Failure and Promise of the Christian Concept of Freedom in Western Culture (Currents of Encounter)

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9789042011052: The Tragedy of Human Freedom: The Failure and Promise of the Christian Concept of Freedom in Western Culture (Currents of Encounter)
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Human freedom has been the source of both the high points of humanity as well as of its low points, thus giving rise to the impression that it is a somewhat ambivalent concept. According to Martien Brinkman, the major factor in this ambivalence is the rather narrow meaning that the concept has received in the course of history. Freedom is, for the most part, understood as `freedom from' or `freedom to' but only rarely as `freedom for'. However, it is precisely this latter understanding that is closest to the Christian understanding of freedom, which Brinkman defines as `internal attachment'. In his view Christian freedom is at bottom characterized by that to which one commits oneself in trust. He sees primarily the Christian theology of baptism, with its accent on `dying' and `rising' with Christ as the model for the way in which one acquires freedom. Brinkman illustrates this in this study by means of a great number of biblical images and images borrowed from the historical debates between Augustine and Pelagius and Luther and Erasmus.

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