Natural And Divine Law

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Though the concept of natural law took center stage during the Middle Ages, the theological aspects of this august intellectual tradition have been largely forgotten by the modern church. In this book ethicist Jean Porter shows the continuing significance of the natural law tradition for Christian ethics.

Based on a careful analysis of natural law as it emerged in the medieval period, Porter's work explores several important scholastic theologians and canonists whose writings are not only worthy of study in their own right but also make important contributions to moral reflection today.

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Editorial Reviews

Lisa Sowle Cahill
This is a first-class contribution to fundamental ethics. It is elegantly written, historically sensitive, philosophically sophisticated, and theologically nuanced. Jean Porter replies brilliantly to theological varieties of naive essentialism and postmodern relativism as she illumines an alliance between natural law theory and Christian faith that is at once traditional and contemporary.
James M. Gustafson
Porter answers her basic questions “What is the scholastic concept of the natural law?” and “What is its relevance for contemporary Christian ethics?” with the impressively distinctive and nuanced historical, philosophical, and theological sophistication that has marked all of her publications. With resolve she brings well-digested learning under the control of her analysis and argument. This is an important and timely book.
Kenneth R. Melchin
A very impressive book. I expect it to become a classic in its field; it could shape the course of scholarship in ethics. Jean Porter's careful historical scholarship helps us to understand how natural law ethics emerged and developed in the medieval age, and she guides us toward understanding how a renewal might go forward again in our age.
Stephen J. Pope
Natural and Divine Law is a tour de force. It will be read, studied, and discussed by everyone with a serious intellectual commitment to moral theology.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802846976
  • Publisher: Eerdmans, William B. Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 7/1/1999
  • Series: Saint Paul University Series in Ethics Series
  • Pages: 344
  • Sales rank: 1,174,972
  • Product dimensions: 0.77 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 9.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Framing the Question

  1. Recent work on the natural law
  2. The social context: The consolidation of European society
  3. The intellectual context: Scholasticism
  4. The scholastic concept of the natural law

Chapter 2: Nature and Reason

  1. The scholastic concept of the natural law: Sources and context
  2. The starting point: Nature and convention
  3. Nature and reason
  4. Medieval naturalism and its implications today

Chapter 3: Scripture and the Natural Law

  1. Scripture and the natural law: Theological antecedents
  2. Natural law and Scripture in scholastic thought
  3. Natural law and moral norms
  4. The natural law as law
  5. The theological significance of the natural law

Chapter 4: Marriage and Sexual Ethics

  1. Sexuality in the scholastic concept of the natural law
  2. Marriage in scholastic thought
  3. Marriage, women and society: Legal and moral views
  4. Implications for contemporary Christian ethics
  5. Some specific issues

Chapter 5: Social Ethics

  1. From natural inclination to social practice
  2. The ideal of equality and its social expressions
  3. From natural law to natural rights
  4. Two hard cases: Servitude and social persecution
  5. Towards a theology of social life



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