Authored Book

Co-creation and Gift: A Critical Study of Theologies of Work


Gao Z (2015) Co-creation and Gift: A Critical Study of Theologies of Work. Beijing: People’s Publishing House.

This thesis offers a theological inquiry into the meaning of human work, especially the one in the domain of economy. It aims at contributing to the formation of a proper theology of work for modern world, through critical reflection on the two dominant theological approaches to human work after the Reformation. Modern theology of work originated from Luther and Calvin’ s interpretation towards ‘vocation’, an idea which had a long history in Christian theological tradition. However, this theological understanding of human work became inadequate when facing the structural alienation of work in modern capitalist society. Against this background, a paradigm shift in the area of theology of work happened in the 20th century’s Christian theology. The new approach that views human work as cooperatio Dei stresses one-sidely the theological significance of human work and at the same time fails to highlight the distinctively Christian virtues which are required in the human work. This research is intended to emphasize another dimension of work, that is, work as “gift”, a concept inherent to the Reformers’ ethics of work. This approach affirms both accepting work as a gift from God and practicing it as the “gift giving” towards other people. It also emphasizes the virtues and the proper mode of work as such. This approach does not mean to totally negate the understanding of human work as cooperatio Dei, but it maintains that the approach of cooperatio Dei should be supplemented and balanced by the understanding of work as gift.

Theology of Work; Co-creation; Gift

Publication date31/12/2015
PublisherPeople’s Publishing House
Place of publicationBeijing