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By Robin Gill

Robin Gill's Textbook of Christian Ethics has been a popular&...course book&...with scholars and teachers for over 20 years.&...Now in its 3rd version this&...classic&...textbook has been thoroughly revised to b

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Additional info for A Textbook of Christian Ethics, 3rd Edition

Sample text

Aquinas' origin s were the most aristocratic, Augustine' s were those of a relatively impoverished middl e clas s i n a n ag e of rapi d inflation , and Luther's , althoug h b y n o means totall y impoverished , wer e unmistakabl y lowe r class . Viewe d fro m a mor e dynamic perspective, only Luther's family wa s upwardly socially mobile, movin g from a situation o f working as miners to owning mines and then being able to send their son to university to stud y law. While all three belonged t o th e minorit y of university-educated writers and thinkers, Luther' s socially mobile background mad e him the most suitabl e to be a n agen t o f radica l socia l change , whil e Aquinas ' comparativel y stati c socia l background mad e hi m th e least suitable .

Give n hi s understanding o f natural la w (see Tex t II) , reason i s able to ascertai n mora l truth s tha t can also be known through biblical revelation. Aquinas' method o f using the Bible is seen very clearly in Tex t XIV: his argumen t i s based upo n natura l law and logica l reasonin g and biblica l evidence is only quoted onc e that argument i s completed. Thus , the Bibl e is seen to confirm what can already be known through a proper us e of reason. As a result of this method an d understanding , he was able to borro w freel y fro m Aristotle , Augustine, and church tradition generally provided, of course, that such borrowings did not seem to conflict wit h th e Bible .

G . 9f). I t wil l be see n fro m th e Text s tha t Aquinas ' understandin g o f the relationshi p between philosophy an d theology is more consistent tha n that of Augustine and it was his thought which was instrumental in the eventual triumph, in Roman Catholic theology, of Aristotelianism ove r Platonism . Th e mor e naturalisti c Aristotelianis m seem s t o hav e provided hi m wit h a mor e congruou s rational/natura l basi s tha n transcendenta l Platonism fo r th e supernatura l overla y o f Christia n belief .

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