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Introduction to Christian Ethics
This course is an introduction to Christian moral norms, ideals, and practices, and to some perennial disputes over their substance. Drawing upon a range of historical and contemporary sources, we will examine what difference Christian commitment makes for moral assessment—for considering the ends that human beings endorse, the actions we permit or prohibit, the traits of character we praise, tolerate, or admonish. Our inquiry will fall into two parts. (i) To begin, we will take as our point of departure some recent and influential work on the moral vision of the New Testament canon. (ii) On this basis, we will then ask how different Christians throughout the ages have looked to scripture for help thinking about the tightly interlocking issues of war, poverty, and politics. Throughout, we will want to bring these matters to bear on our own social moment, asking just this: how shall Christians love God and neighbor, show hospitality to strangers, and speak truth to power in this present age?
To pass this course you must: (1) rigorously prepare for and attend lecture, and (2) participate in a weekly discussion section, which you must initiate on at least one occasion [= 10%]; (3) submit a weekly 250-word response to the Canvas discussion forum [= 10%]; (4) complete two 8-page papers [= 50%] and (5) a final exam [= 30%].