The Gifting God: A Trinitarian Ethics of Excess

Synopsis

Theories of generosity, or gift giving, are becoming increasingly important in recent work in philosophy and religion. Stephen Webb seeks to build on this renewed interest by surveying a distinctively modern and postmodern approach to the issue of generosity, and then developing a theological framework for it. He contends that in many ways society has become suspicious of charity and generosity. This cynicism has led to quick and easy judgments, that, in turn, have led to a new orthodoxy with its own troubling consequences. Webb believes that we need to recover the generosity that our culture obscures behind this monologue on self-interest, and that theology, as a form of critical thought, can play a helpful role. Throughout the book, Webb argues for a theory of giving that is other-oriented without being self-negating. He maintains that the generosity of God's grace, properly understood, can reorient our own idea of the gift and must be correlated to our own practices of exchange and reciprocity.