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Purvis’ Mothers, Neighbors and Strangers: Another Look at Agape offers an agape model founded on the experience of the special relation between mother and child. She explains that other mothers may have more fulfilling experiences of agape with friends or spouses, she…
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Mothers, Neighbors and Strangers Mothers, Neighbors and Strangers Sally B. Purvis’ Mothers, Neighbors and Strangers: Another Lookat Agape offers an agape model founded on the experience of the special relation between mother and child. She explains that other mothers may have more fulfilling experiences of agape with friends or spouses, she has experienced a more sustained and trustworthy agape embodiment by mothering her two sons (Purvis, 1991). She also notes that it is acceptable to recommend a psychologically, morally, emotionally and physically consuming form of love as a model for agape. In support of her view, she points out that a mother’s love to her children is greater than her concerns for others to an extent that may create conflict between the love and the concern. She equates the care offered to children, friends and parents to the kind of Good Samaritan care.
In reflection, Purvis’ agape may not be in resonance with traditional articulation of the term as representing special relations. However, she manages to strongly bring out her views of a Christian feminist ethicist. She not only asserts her experience as a woman but also makes the reader acknowledge that tradition has typically excluded the special experiences of mothers. This approach can also be appreciated by the fact that she is not attempting to equate a mother’s love to agape. Rather, she is suggesting that the content of agape can appropriately be modeled by a mother’s love. However, it can also be pointed out that she creates confusion by acknowledging that agape entails all-consuming attention but fails to substantively clear the conflict existing between mother-child special relations and agape.
Purvis, S. (1991). Mothers, neighbors and strangers: Another look at agape. Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, 7(1), 19-34. Read More
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