William C. Spohn

in The Oxford Handbook of Theological Ethics

Published in print August 2007 | ISBN: 9780199227228
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology


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This article examines the role of Scripture in the Christian way of life. Christian ethics arises out of the spiritual practice of reading Scripture prayerfully in the community and articulates the moral dynamics of this core practice of faith. It connects present experience with God's characteristic ways of acting. Reading the story of Jesus faithfully, Christians ‘learn to remember, and such remembering is to own a past as one's own and to own it as constitutive of identity and community and as determinative of discernment’. Christian ethics is therefore not primarily a scholarly enterprise, but a communal practice done ‘by way of reminder’ of ‘the story Christians love to tell and long to live’. The story of Jesus as recounted in the gospels and remembered by the early communities normatively shapes the community's sense of who it is and is called to become. This ‘remembering’ is the inherent good at which the practice of reading Scripture aims.

Keywords: Christian ethics; Scripture; faith; communal practice; community

Article.  8622 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Religious Studies ; Philosophy of Religion

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