Family and Christian ethics

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In this book, Petruschka Schaafsma offers an innovative appraisal of family. Eschewing the framework of worry and renewal that currently dominates family studies, she instead explores the topic through the concepts of 'givenness' and 'dependence'. 'Givenness' highlights the fact that family is not chosen; 'dependence' refers to being intimately included in each other's identities and lives. Both experiences are challenging, especially in a contemporary context, where independence and freedom to shape one's own life have become accepted ideals. Schaafsma shows the impasses to which these ideals lead in several disciplines – theology, philosophy, sociology, social anthropology and care ethics. She moves constructively beyond them by tapping literary, artistic and biblical sources for their insights on family. Grounded in a theological approach to family as 'mystery' rather than 'problem', she develops an understanding of the current controversial character of family that accounts for both its ordinary and transcendent character. This title is available as Open Access on Cambridge Core.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages321
ISBN (Electronic)97810009324595
ISBN (Print)9781009324618
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023

Publication series

NameNew Studies in Christian Ethics


  • family
  • families
  • mystery
  • Christian ethics
  • ethics
  • care ethics
  • kinship anthropology
  • Gabriel Marcel
  • religious aspects
  • christianity
  • Hosea
  • Antigone
  • Rembrandt
  • Marilynne Robinson
  • Families in literature

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