Christian Theology and Moral Philosophy

Terence Irwin

in The Development of Ethics: Volume 1

Published in print September 2007 | ISBN: 9780198242673
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191680519 | DOI:

Series: Development of Ethics

Christian Theology and Moral Philosophy

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From the beginning Christian theologians have explored some of the connexions, contrasts, and oppositions between their Christian outlook and the principles of moral philosophy. Though Christianity is not primarily a system of morality, and though its moral principles are not all peculiarly Christian, it expresses a distinct point of view about morality. However, in some cases — including Clement, Origen, and Augustine of Hippo — the Christian theologian and the moral philosopher have been the same person arguing in two different directions from different premises. This attempt to use moral philosophy and Christian theology to support each other is pursued in most detail by Thomas Aquinas. The influence of Christian belief is neither uniform nor straightforward; nor does it always lead a moral philosopher in one definite direction. On the contrary; Christian belief is not a source of uniformity, but a source of new directions and options in moral philosophy.

Keywords: moral philosophy; Christianity; Clement; Origen; Augustine of Hippo; Christian theology; Thomas Aquinas; Christian belief

Chapter.  24650 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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