The Asymptote of Love

From Mundane to Religious to God's Love

By James Kellenberger

Subjects: Philosophy Of Religion, Religion, Theology, Philosophy
Hardcover : 9781438471778, 184 pages, November 2018
Paperback : 9781438471785, 184 pages, July 2019

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Table of contents


1. The Varieties of Love

2. Love’s Relationships

3. Love of Others

4. Knowledge of God and Love of God

5. The Command to Love

6. Love of God

7. God’s Love

8. The Circle of Love

9. The Depth of Love

10. The Asymptote of Love


Discusses the complexities and paradoxes of love as represented in the history of Western philosophy and Christianity.


In The Asymptote of Love, James Kellenberger develops a theory of religious love that resists essentialist definitions of the term and brings into conversation historical debates on love in Western philosophy and Christian theology. He argues that if love can be likened to a mathematical asymptote, which is a straight line that infinitely approaches a curve but never quite reaches it, then the asymptote of love reaches toward the infinite endpoint of love at its uttermost, namely, God's love. Drawing upon a broad range of thinkers who have put forth classic debates on love—such as St. Augustine of Hippo, Anders Nygren, and St. Thomas Aquinas, as well as some lesser known figures in the debate, such as Leo Tolstoy and Albert Schweitzer—Kellenberger explains the profound connection between human agape and God's infinite love in its capacity to offer both directive guidance and to exist beyond human conception.

James Kellenberger is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at California State University, Northridge and the author of God's Goodness and God's Evil.


"The 'widening' of the circle of love is a rather novel contribution, both from the author and from the twentieth century in general. For this reason alone, the book stands out in contemporary publishing." — Joeri Schrijvers, author of Between Faith and Belief: Toward a Contemporary Phenomenology of Religious Life