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COURSE NUMBER: THEO 380
COURSE TITLE: Earthly Good: Christian Ethics
NAME OF INSTRUCTOR: Michael Buttrey
CREDIT WEIGHT AND WEEKLY TIME DISTRIBUTION: credits 3 (hrs lect 3 - hrs sem 0 - hrs lab 0)
COURSE DESCRIPTION: An examination of the nature of ethics, the relationship between the Bible and Christian ethics, several biblical concepts determinative for Christian ethics and ethical issues in areas such as politics, business, law, medicine and personal decision-making.

Prerequisites: THEO 250
REQUIRED TEXTS:
  • The Bible.  The New Revised Standard Version is the text used by the professor, but another good recent translation (e.g. NIV) or study bible will do.
  • Samuel Wells, Christian Ethics: An Introductory Reader (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010).
MARK DISTRIBUTION IN PERCENT:
Attendance and Participation10%
Reading Responses30%
Book Review15%
Debate Paper or Position Essay25%
Final exam20%
100%
COURSE OBJECTIVES:
  1. To introduce you to concepts and sources central to the discipline of Christian ethics.
  2. To help you understand how scripture, theology and tradition, Christian worship and community, and personal, historical, and social context contribute to ethical deliberation.
  3. To develop your ability to articulate an explicitly theological description of and response to contemporary ethical issues.
COURSE OUTLINE:
  • 1 September 5 Syllabus, Guidelines
  • 2 September 7 Acts 10-11, 14-15 (The Bible), Preface (Reader)
  • 3 September 12° Ch. 1: Tertullian, John Howard Yoder (7 pages total)
  • 4 September 14° Ch. 1: Stanley Hauerwas, John Calvin (second reading), Dietrich Bonhoeffer (10 pages)
  • 5 September 19* Ch. 2: The Martyrdom of Perpetua, Clement of Alexandria, plus another reading to be distributed (11 pages) [Debate Choices Due]
  • September 21 IS Conference, no class
  • 6 September 26° Ch. 2: Eusebius of Caesarea, The Rule of St. Benedict, John Howard Yoder (8 pages)
  • 7 September 28° Ch. 4: Martin Luther, Menno Simons, John Wesley (8 pages)
  • 8 October 3° Ch. 3: Plato, Aristotle; Ch. 7: Thomas Aquinas (11 pages)
  • 9 October 5° Ch. 5: Karl Barth, Thomas Aquinas, Joseph Fletcher (10 pages)
  • 10 October 10° Ch. 5: Bartolomé de las Casas; Ch. 6: Gustavo Gutiérrez, James Cone (10 pages)
  • 11 October 12° Ch. 6: Rosemary Radford Ruether, Delores S. Williams, Ada Maria Isasi- Díaz (11 pages) [Book Review Due]
  • 12 October 17° Ch. 7: Alasdair MacIntyre, Samuel Wells, Stanley Hauerwas (10 pages)
  • 13 October 19° Ch. 2: Ernst Troeltsch, H. Richard Niebuhr; Ch. 4: Augustine (10 pages)
  • 14-15 Oct 24* & 26 Ch. 4: Thomas Aquinas; Ch. 8: Kairos Document, Daniel and Philip Berrigan, Paul Ramsey, Camilo Torres, Dorothy Day (19 pages)
  • 16-17 Oct 31* & Nov 2 Ch. 6: Rowan Williams; Ch. 11: Richard McCormick, Jennifer A. Parks, Gilbert Meilaender, plus a reading to be distributed (19 pages)
  • 18 November 7* Ch. 5: Pope Leo XIII; Ch. 9: Medellin Conference, Martin Luther King Jr., Max Stackhouse, Miguel de la Torre (17 pages)
  • November 9 fall term break, no class
  • 19-20 Nov 14* & 16 Ch. 6: Jean Vanier; Ch. 11: Pope Paul VI, Margaret Farley, Oliver O'Donovan, Beverly Wildung Harrison, Stanley Hauerwas (18 pages)
  • 21-22 Nov 21* & 23 Ch. 12: Andrew Linzey, Carol J. Adams, Stephen H. Webb, Derek Burke, Wendell Berry, Michael Northcott (19 pages)
  • 23-24 Nov 28* & 30 Ch. 10: C.S. Lewis, Mary Daly, Aelred of Rievaulx, J.I. Packer, Rosemary Radford Ruether, Vigen Guroian (17 pages)
  • 25-26 December 5 & 7 Readings to be determined depending on class interests


Required texts, assignments, and grade distributions may vary from one offering of this course to the next. Please consult the course instructor for up to date details.

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