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This course grapples with some of the basic (albeit deeply contested) ideas by which Christian moral discourse is governed. We will examine theological accounts of what it means to live well, focusing mainly on classical and contemporary works of relevance to central problems in the field of Christian ethics and religious ethics more generally: whether teleological conceptions of human flourishing comport with the Christian faith, whether those conceptions can withstand philosophic critique, and whether certain moral obligations can be universally applied to all. Then, too, we will inquire into the sources of human action, the ethical significance of divine commands, and the concepts of virtue, goodness, evil, horror, and the sacred.
1) To gain a critical understanding of basic concepts and vocabularies inherent in Christian ideals of conduct, character, and community, and in contemporary disputes over their substance and application.
2) To become familiar with, and to reflect critically on, some prominent expressions of these ideals across the centuries and in a variety of traditions.
3) To cultivate facility in bringing these elements to bear on contemporary issues of public concern.
Prerequisite: REL 615 or strong background in theological and/or philosophical disciplines.
To pass this course you must: (1) attend class and participate in a weekly discussion section, which (2) you must initiate on at least one occasion [10%]; (3) submit one question per week to the online discussion forum [15%]; (4) complete two 7-10 page papers or one 15-20 page paper [75%].