The Moral Virtues and Theological Ethics

By Romanus Cessario | Go to book overview

1. THE MORAL VIRTUES AND CHRISTIAN FAITH

ISSUES IN PHILOSOPHY AND THEOLOGY

The present relevance which Aristotelian ethics holds for Christian moral theology derives in large measure from breakthroughs in British scholarship within the analytical tradition.1 Peter Geach, for instance, provides a complete account of classical virtue theory in his small book, The Virtues, 2 treating the four cardinal virtues--prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance--as well as the three theological virtues-- faith, hope, and charity. Notwithstanding the inclusion of the theological virtues, ' Geach work remains a philosophical text. "Faith is God's gift." he writes, "I try here only to remove obstacles to faith."3 A bona fide theological text must aspire to do more than simply remove rational objections to revealed truth. If theology is to remain true to its character as a holy teaching, a sacra doctrina, its practitioners should ensure that every element of the instruction proceeds from and depends upon revealed wisdom. This standard applies equally to both moral theology and what we have become accustomed to call dogmatic theology.4

It remains a safe generalization to say that virtue theory occupies small place in the current renewal of moral theology, at least in Roman Catholic circles.5 Of course, developments in philosophy usually require some time to influence theological discussion. Still, it is useful to inquire

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The Moral Virtues and Theological Ethics
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction 1
  • 1- the Moral Virtues And Christian Faith 12
  • 2 - Habitus, Character, And Growth 34
  • 3. What is a Moral Virtue? 45
  • 4- Prudence and The Moral Virtues 72
  • 5- What Causes the Moral Virtues to Develop 94
  • 6- Characteristics Of The Virtues 126
  • Conclusion 151
  • Notes 157
  • Index of Subjects 198
  • Index of Names 201
  • Index of Scripture References 204
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