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CALUMET . intercultural law and humanities review
ISSN 2465-0145 (on-line)
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The Ambivalent Roots of Charity and Their Consequences in a Secularized World: A Survey Across the Three Monotheistic Religions of the Abrahamic Strain
Ricca M.
In this essay I address the meaning and functions of charity in contemporary secularized democracies against the background of its plural roots in the three monotheistic religions, namely Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The legacy of these different traditions seems to be ambivalent in itself, even more so when it is placed within the allegedly neutral political environment of secularized societies. This ambivalence is due to the double anthropological declination that charity can support depending on whether it is intended and practiced according to an in-group or an outer-group logic of inter-subjective recognition. Moving along one rather than the other of these two ideal and practical paths of charity produces different lines of compatibility/opposition between democracy and human rights, on one side, and charitable activities, on the other. Through a historical inter-religious reconstruction focusing on the inclusive sense of charity prescriptions in Abrahamic monotheisms, I propose an intercultural reading of the relationships between secular political neutrality and charitable attitudes to the recognition of Otherness.


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