The Acting Person and Christian Moral Life

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226 pp., 6 x 9
ISBN: 9781589017726 (1589017722)

ISBN: 9781589017870

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November 2011
LC: 2011003843

Moral Traditions series


Table of Contents

The Acting Person and Christian Moral Life
Darlene Fozard Weaver

What may we say about the significance of particular moral actions for one's relationship with God? In this provocative analysis of contemporary Catholic moral theology Darlene Fozard Weaver shows the person as a moral agent acting in relation to God. Using an overarching theological context of sinful estrangement from and gracious reconciliation in God, Weaver shows how individuals negotiate their relationships with God in and through their involvement with others and the world.

Much of current Christian ethics focuses more on persons and their virtues and vices exemplified by the work of virtue ethicists or on sinful social structures illustrated in the work of liberation theologians. These judgments fail to appreciate the reflexive character of human action and neglect the way our actions negotiate our response to God. Weaver develops a theologically robust moral anthropology that advances Christian understanding of persons and moral actions and contends we can better understand the theological import of moral actions by seeing ourselves as creatures who live, move, and have our being in God.

Darlene Fozard Weaver is an associate professor of theology and director of the Theology Institute at Villanova University. She is the author of Self Love and Christian Ethics and coeditor of The Ethics of Embryo Adoption and the Catholic Tradition.

James F. Keenan, SJ, Series Editor
"The book locates itself in the contemporary currents of Christian ethical discourse and recent discussions of the doctrine of sin. Here one finds a great deal of carefully attentive discussion of the core positions and movements around which contemporary discussion revolves . . . . This excellent and important book deserves a wide reading in both academy and church."—Alistair McFadyen, University of Leeds, UK, Studies in Christian Ethics

"develops a compelling and subtle argument about the importance of reflection on sinful actions for a Christian understanding of the moral life….She offers two different balanced and extended discussions of debates between traditionalists and revisionists, noting limitations in both accounts of the relation between action and moral agency."—Theological Studies

"Darlene Weaver's, The Acting Person and the Christian Moral Life, should represent a new starting point for sterile debates in ethics, and in particular Catholic moral theology. Drawing on philosophical accounts of the role of description for naming moral actions, she provides a constructive account of how theological language should do its proper work."—Stanley Hauerwas, Carole Baker Research Associate, Duke Divinity School

"In this book, Darlene Weaver argues that we can develop a robustly theological account of the moral life which gives a central place to conceptions of sin and grace while also doing justice to the moral and spiritual significance of specific acts. . . . Building on a thoughtful, sympathetic, and yet challenging study of recent Catholic moral theology, Weaver shows how our human engagement with material and relational goods forms our wills and contributes to our ongoing relationship with God. This is a well-argued, important study which deserves, and I expect to receive, wide attention."—Jean Porter, John A. O'Brien Professor of Moral Theology, University of Notre Dame

"Simply put, this book will help reset the agenda for moral theology. In a nonpolemical manner the author points out the need to return to a style of moral analysis that is more attentive to individual acts and more explicitly theological in our way of understanding the significance of moral action. With wisdom and literary style Weaver has called us to focus again on topics—freedom, accountability, sin, reconciliation, and grace—that are central to Catholic moral theology."—Kenneth R. Himes, OFM, Theology Department, Boston College

Table of Contents

1. Persons and Actions in Christian Ethics

2. Disruption of Proper Relation with God and Others: Sin and Sins

3. Intimacy with God and Self-Relation

4. Fidelity to God and Moral Acting

5. Truthfulness before God and Naming Moral Actions

6. Reconciliation in God and Christian Life