RST-303-20, Christian Ethics (FA15)
INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Brian Berry
SCHEDULE/DAY/TIME: SEM/SAT/8:30-11:15AM, 09/05/2015-12/12/2015
This course is an introduction to the discipline of Christian ethics. Following initial discussion of the context, method, and origins of Christian ethics, in the first part of the course, we will examine three different approaches to Christian ethics: teleology, deontology, and virtue. Particular attention will be given to the teleological ethics of Joseph Fletcher, the deontological ethics of Karl Barth and Richard McCormick, and the virtue ethics of Stanley Hauerwas. In the second part, we will discuss the application of these various approaches to contemporary political ethics (war), economic ethics (environment), sexual ethics (homosexuality), and bioethics (euthanasia). Special attention will be given throughout to both Roman Catholic and Protestant perspectives.
The course is designed to enable students to:
1. Understand the origins of Christian ethics in Greek philosophy and the Bible.
2. Understand the distinctive features of major contemporary approaches to Christian ethics, including teleology, deontology, and virtue.
3. Apply these various approaches to moral issues in political life and economic life, in human relationships and sexuality, and at the beginning and end of life.
4. Express clearly and convincingly, both orally and in writing, their own positions on a range of contemporary moral issues.
5. Demonstrate a capacity for mature ethical judgments consistent with the Christian tradition.
1. Focused readings
2. Weekly short papers
3. Class discussions
REQUIREMENTS AND ASSIGNMENTS:
1. Attendance at all classes and active participation (10%).
2. Eight one-page papers (40%).
3. A research paper of 8-10 pages and an oral presentation (30%).
4. A final exam (20%).
REQUIRED TEXT(S) OR MATERIALS:
1. Lovin, Robin W. An Introduction to Christian Ethics: Goals, Duties, and Virtues. Nashville, TN: Abingdon, 2011. ISBN 13: 9780687467365.
2. Ahearn, David Oki and Peter R. Gathje, eds. Doing Right and Being Good: Catholic and Protestant Readings in Christian Ethics. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical, 2005. ISBN 10: 0814651798 and 13: 9780814651797.
READINGS AND/OR ASSIGNMENTS TO BE DONE PRIOR TO THE FIRST CLASS:
Lovin, An Introduction to Christian Ethics, v-x.
Ahearn and Gathje, eds. Doing Right and Being Good, ix-xi, 33-38.