Toward a Christian philosophy of work: A theological and religious extension of Hannah Arendt's conceptual framework

Stephen Richard Palmquist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Hannah Arendt distinguishes between labor (life-sustaining activity), work (creative activity) and action (activity directed toward maintaining human relationships). This paper extends Arendt’s framework to three corresponding forms of inactivity: incorporating leisure, play and rest into a balanced, sixfold framework provides a robust, philosophical theology of work as divine-human cooperation. The philosopher’s life of leisure suggests a synthesis of Adam Smith’s and Karl Marx’s contrasting views on labor. An overview of biblical perspectives highlights a similarly paradoxical role for play in “the work” of divine creativity. Finally, an attitude of religious “rest” empowers us to transcend alienating tendencies in employer-employee relationships.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)397-419
JournalPhilosophia Christi
Volume11
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009

User-Defined Keywords

  • Hannah Arendt
  • philosophy of work
  • labor
  • leisure
  • play
  • rest

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