Virtue and Christian Ethics

REL642
Fall 2016
W 1:30pm - 3:20pm
Area: 
Area II
Professor: 
Permission Not Required
No Limit to Enrollment
Course Description: 

In the past forty years, virtue ethics has gone from being a marginal theme to a central area of reflection in both theological and philosophical ethics.  Once associated with outmoded Victorian notions of propriety, virtue theory today is an important site for reflection on intention and human acts, exemplarity and tradition, emotion and reason, flourishing and happiness. Within theological ethics, the retrieval of virtue has issued in an emphasis on the formation of Christian character in relation to scripture, worship and other practices, the exemplarity of Christ and the saints, and tradition more broadly. Yet with the retrieval of virtue ethics has come a host of questions, some old and some new, philosophical, theological, and psychological.  Is virtue ethics inherently conservative?  Do we really have reliable dispositions?  Did Christian ethics succeed in “baptizing” pagan virtue?  We will take up these questions in the course of reading texts by Julia Annas, Jean Porter, Robert M. Adams, Katie Cannon, Alasdair MacIntyre, Stanley Hauerwas, and others.

Background Expected: 

Prerequisite:  Introduction to Christian Ethics or the equivalent

Course Requirements: 

1. 2-page paper and 5-7 minute oral presentation on one of the class readings (25%)

2.  Minimum of 7 contributions to online discussion forum (25%)

3.  15-20 page seminar paper (50%)

Basis of Evaluation: 

see above