Chapter

Barth's Moral Theology and Modern Ethics

Gerald Mckenny

in The Analogy of Grace

Published in print March 2010 | ISBN: 9780199582679
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191722981 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199582679.003.0003
Barth's Moral Theology and Modern Ethics

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Barth's formulation of the problem of ethics contrasts an ethic in which God summons human beings to active participation in the good God has established and accomplished with an ethic in which it is left to human beings to identify the good and accomplish it. Does this contrast between ethics as human confirmation of divine grace and ethics as human self‐assertion indicate that Barth's moral theology is embedded in a distinctively modern set of problems, concerns, and assumptions about ethics? This chapter explores Barth's complex relationship to modernity, showing how he treats modernity as the visible culmination of tendencies that were latent in Western society for centuries and are in fact perennial features of fallen humanity and how his own moral theology addresses modernity neither by opposing or accepting its human self‐assertion but by finding in the latter distorted traces of God's profound affirmation of humanity.

Keywords: autonomy; interiority; autarchy; modernity; modern ethics; moral reason; responsibility; postmodern ethics; nihilism; modern subject; moral subject

Chapter.  25846 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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