Journal Article

On the Future of Religious Ethics: Keeping Religious Ethics Religious and Ethical

William Schweiker

in Journal of the American Academy of Religion

Published on behalf of American Academy of Religion

Volume 74, issue 1, pages 135-151
Published in print March 2006 | ISSN: 0002-7189
Published online January 2006 | e-ISSN: 1477-4585 | DOI:
On the Future of Religious Ethics: Keeping Religious Ethics Religious and Ethical

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This essay proposes a method and aim for the future of religious ethics. Rather than surveying the usual debates about the field, the essay situates the various kinds of work in religious ethics both in the contemporary global context and with respect to the modern western conception of what defines a “discipline” and the aspiration to a system of the sciences. In response to the breakdown of the modern project, various claims about rationality and also moral inquiry have arisen. Isolating the insights and yet also problems in these alternative models of inquiry, the essay proposes, as a method for religious ethics, a multidimensional and reflexive hermeneutic that reflects on and with religious sources. Further, the essay advocates as the aim or purpose of religious ethics the humane reconstruction of traditions around their deepest convictions and reflexive interactions with others. Calling this enterprise a form of “religious humanism,” the essay seeks to show not only the adequacy of such a conception of religious ethics but also its pertinence to critical, comparative, and constructive thinking.

Journal Article.  6506 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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