In this revision of a seminal work, O'Donovan describes the shape of a Christian moral theology which has wide implications for creation, history, knowledge, freedom, and authority--his purpose being to outline a system of theological ethics and to describe the nature of the moral response within redeemed creation: acts of surrender, obedience, and love.
Leading political theologian Oliver O'Donovan here takes a fresh look at some traditional moral arguments about war. Modern Christians differ widely on this issue. A few hold that absolute pacifism is the only viable Christian position, others subscribe in various ways to concepts of 'just war' developed out of a Western tradition that arose from the legacies of Augustine and Aquinas, while others still adopt more pragmatically realist postures. Professor O'Donovan re-examines questions of contemporary urgency including the use of biological (...) and nuclear weapons, military intervention, economic sanctions, war crimes trials and the roles of the Geneva Convention, international conventions and the UN. His enquiry opens with a challenging dedication to the new Archbishop of Canterbury and proceeds to shed new light on vital topics with which the Archbishop and others will be very directly engaged. It should be read by anyone concerned with the ethics of warfare. (shrink)
The historical problem about the origins of the language of rights derives its importance from the conceptual problem: of "two fundamentally different ways of thinking about justice," which is basic? Is justice unitary or plural? This in turn opens up a problem about the moral status of human nature. A narrative of the origins of "rights" is an account of how and when a plural concept of justice comes to the fore, and will be based on the occurrence of definite (...) speech-forms—the occurrence of the plural noun in the sense of "legal properties." The history of this development is currently held to begin with the twelfth-century canonists. Later significant thresholds may be found in the fourteenth, sixteenth, and eighteenth centuries. Wolterstorff's attempt to find the implicit recognition of rights in the Scriptures depends very heavily on what he takes to be implied rather than on what is stated, and at best can establish a pre- history of rights-language. (shrink)
Self, World, and Time takes up the question of the form and matter of Christian ethics as an intellectual discipline. What is it about? How does Christian ethics relate to the humanities, especially philosophy, theology, and behavioral studies? How does its shape correspond to the shape of practical reason? In what way does it participate in the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ? Oliver O'Donovan discusses ethics with self, world, and time as foundation poles of moral reasoning, and with (...) faith, love, and hope as the virtues anchoring the moral life. Blending biblical, historico-theological, and contemporary ideas in its comprehensive survey, Self, World, and Time is an exploratory study that adds significantly to O'Donovan's previous theoretical reflections on Christian ethics. (shrink)
Oliver O'Donovan's Ethics as Theology project began withSelf, World, and Time, an "induction" into Christian ethics as ordered reflection on moral thinking within the life of faith. Volume 2, Finding and Seeking, shifted the focus to the movement of moral thought from a first consciousness of agency to the time that determines the moment of decision. In this third and final volume of his magnum opus, O'Donovan turns his attention to the forward horizon with which moral thinking must engage. Moral (...) experience, he argues, is necessarily two-directional, looking both back at responsibility and forward at aims. The Pauline triad of theological virtues (faith, love, and hope) describes a form of responsibility, and its climax in the sovereignty of love opens the way to a definitive teleology. Entering into Restoffers O'Donovan's mature reflections on questions that have engaged him throughout his career and provides a synoptic view of many of his main themes.". (shrink)
An examination and defence of the concept of personality, long central to Western moral culture but now increasingly under attack. Robert Spaemann tackles urgent practical questions, such as our treatment of the severely disabled human and the moral status of intelligent non-human animals.
The object of Theological Ethics as presented by Hans Ulrich is immediately the content of the experience of God; reflectively it is God himself turned towards us; doubly reflected on, it is the inversion of our understanding of the good or conversion. The concept of an object may be traced to the discussion of the sciences from Schleiermacher to Barth. Three questions are put to it: (i) Does it assimilate the study too much to descriptive reason, as opposed to practical (...) reason? (ii) Does it narrow the study's range of interests so as to exclude the created world? (iii) Does it result in an idealised `creaturely man', wholly determined by his end and dissociated from the empirical man who may confront us as a neighbour? (shrink)
The Lord's Prayer is at the centre of the Sermon on the Mount in a section on restraint in religious performance. The flanking sections treat of the opposition of lower and higher law, and of simplicity of agency, themes reflected in the central section in the opposition of public and secret. The Lord's Prayer inducts the worshipper into the elementary relations of the universe: the Father, the source of intelligible governance of the universe; the community of human beings created to (...) live and act within the world; the temptation which is the final test of the enterprise of human living. (shrink)