Religious believers understand the meaning of their lives and of the world in terms of the way these are related to God. The conceptual models whereby this relationship is described therefore play a key role in the conceptual designs which are produced by systematic theologians to express the faith of the community of believers. Vincent Brummer examines the implications of using the model of love in this context. After discussing the nature and function of conceptual models in science and theology, he focuses on a number of the most significant views of the nature of love: exclusive attention (Ortega y Gasset), ecstatic union (nuptial mysticism), passionate suffering (courtly love), need-love (Plato, Augustine) and gift-love (Nygren). All of these views are shown to interpret love as an attitude rather than as a relationship between persons. In his closing chapters the author develops a relational concept of love and shows how the various attitudes discussed in the previous chapters have a role to play in the relationship. Finally, the differences and similarities between human and divine love are traced and the implications of using the model of love as a key model in theology are examined.
"Vincent BrU mmer's The Model of Love is a rewarding text which not only provides a clear and cogent discussion of theology as metaphorical language and systematic theology as a critical effort to develop an encompassing conceptual model but makes a persuasive case for BrU mmer's own key model, an understanding of love as a relation of fellowship between autonomous persons who freely choose to identify the interests or good of the other as their own good....BrU mmer's narrative is straight-forward and his language remains accessible despite his refusal to oversimplify complex philosophical issues. The book is both readable and rewarding to the reader. I highly recommend it." The Journal of Religion