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1. The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 19
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presidential address
2. The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 19
Ronald M. Green Jewish and Christian Ethics: What Can We Learn from One Another?
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metaphysics and anthropology in christian ethics
3. The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 19
William J. Meyer On Keeping Theological Ethics Theological: An Alternative to Hauerwas's Diagnosis and Prescription
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Stanley Hauerwas argues that Christian ethics has lost its theological voice because it has accommodated itself to the secular assumptions of modern philosophical ethics. What has led to this fateful accommodation, he argues, is that theology has sought to translate its insights into a nontheological idiom in order to remain publicly intelligible and relevant. My thesis is that Hauerwas rightly recognizes that a fateful accommodation has occurred but wrongly identifies what it is. The real accommodation is found not in theology's attempt to be publicly intelligible and credible but in its widespread acceptance of the modern denial of metaphysics.
4. The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 19
Jennifer A. Herdt Cudworth, Autonomy and the Love of God: Transcending Enlightenment (and Anti-Enlightenment) Christian Ethics
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Recent attempts by Christian ethicists to mine the tradition of Christian Platonism have overlooked seventeenth-century Cambridge Platonist Ralph Cudworth. Cudworth's significance lies in his creative extension of Christian Platonism in response to the early modern situation of religious conflict. He develops an account of autonomy as the self-rule of the "redoubled soul," while retaining a teleological account of the soul's final end as participation in God. Cudworth can help contemporary Christian ethicists imagine a way beyond pro-Enlightenment secular accounts of autonomy and anti-Enlightenment rejections of autonomy in the name of tradition.
5. The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 19
Charles T. Mathewes Reading Reinhold Niebuhr Against Himself
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Reinhold Niebuhr's critics rightly identify flaws in his anthropology, but err in assuming those flaws irreparably vitiate his larger proposal. In fact Niebuhr's work contains two different anthropologies, one problematically "modernist" and one Augustinian; we may use the latter to critique the former within the context of his larger program, thus retaining (and indeed sharpening) the basic theological-ethical project of Niebuhr's work. By doing so we move beyond Niebuhr's formulations in a way that incorporates his insights at the most basic level, thus showing how we might read putatively "modernist" thinkers back into the presumptively "premodern" traditions from which they spring.
studies in christian love
6. The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 19
Amy Laura Hall Complicating the Command: Agape in Scriptural Context
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While some of Anders Nygren's critics supplant agape with eros or philia, we may best correct the false simplicity of Nygren's account through a scriptural retrieval of agape itself. I suggest what this textual turn may impart by discussing agape in passages from Exodus, Leviticus, Hosea, Luke, and John. Agape in these texts reflects motivations as disparate as passionate desire, parental longing, committed dutifulness, and protective seclusion—depictions at odds with Nygren's atemporal portrayal of agape as unmotivated and spontaneous. We may be called at times to heed one of these scriptural strains more than another, but to say either that impassivity (Nygren) or any one of these motivations represents the apex of love is misleading. I suggest that we resist the urge to condense our intentionally enigmatic canon.
7. The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 19
Stephen J. Pope Compassion and Self-Deception: The Unity of Love and Truthfulness in Leo Tolstoy's "The Death of Ivan Ilyich"
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This essay examines Tolstoy's The Death of Ivan Ilyich in light of the moral status of self-deception, particularly as defended on grounds of compassion. It argues that Tolstoy's powerful depiction of the interconnection of love and truthfulness reveals the spiritual and moral dangers of self-deception and particularly its destructive consequences for interpersonal love and friendship.
psychology and christian ethics
8. The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 19
Don Browning The Challenge and Limits of Psychology to Theological Ethics
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This article summarizes the claims of Owen Flanagan that psychology can make important criticisms of and viable contributions to both religious and philosophical ethics. Flanagan insists that both fields of ethics should pass the test of what he calls the Principle of Minimal Psychological Realism (PMPR). However, in order for Flanagan to escape naïve naturalism, his PMPR test should be used within a hermeneutic philosophy such as that of Paul Ricoeur. Ricoeur's concepts of "diagnosis" and "distanciation" can help the moral theologian find a limited but important role for PMPR.
9. The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 19
D. M. Yeager Real Toads in Imaginary Gardens: Impossibility and Perfection in Christian Ethics
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The challenge of joining a productive conversation between the human sciences and theological ethics is here given concrete form by a detailed consideration of Erich Neumann's attack on Christian ethics and his proposed alternative. Making the case that Christian ethics, the "old ethic," subverts consciousness, entails an unreliable conception of the psyche, and encumbers the personality with unbearable burdens, Neumann proposes a "new ethic" enlightened by depth psychology's study of the unconscious. Acknowledging that Neumann's critique deserves attention proportional to the truth of the psychological insights that propel it, the author also suggests that Neumann's proposed ethic may not differ from Christian ethics as dramatically as he insists.
10. The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 19
Ernest Wallwork Psychodynamic Contributions to Religious Ethics: Toward Reconfiguring "Askesis"
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Contemporary ethicists largely ignore the recent, revolutionary findings of psychodynamic psychology. The author argues that ethicists have been dissuaded from taking psychodynamic psychology seriously by (1) hostile attacks on the credibility of the psychodynamic paradigm, and (2) confusion about the contribution that clinical findings can make to ethics. With respect to these obstacles, the credibility of the psychodynamic paradigm is vouchsafed by a growing body of empirical studies that support the main psychodynamic hypotheses, particularly those of interest to ethicists. This new research points toward the need to expand the range of issues covered by contemporary ethics by retrieving and updating the ancient tradition of askesis, involving thought-exercises oriented towards cultivation of habits of mind conducive to acting morally in one's daily activities. The paper concludes by sketching several ways in which self-reflection may improve moral decision-making.