Theology and the Boundary Discourse of Human Rights

Ethna Regan

"This impressive book should shift its readers into renewed determination to achieve fundamental conditions of human flourishing for all, however situated. "
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What are human rights? Can theology acknowledge human rights discourse? Is theological engagement with human rights justified? What place should this discourse occupy within ethics?

Ethna Regan seeks to answer these questions about human rights, Christian theology, and philosophical ethics. The main purpose of this book is to justify and explore theological engagement with human rights. Regan illustrates how that engagement is both ecumenical and diverse, citing the emerging engagement with human rights discourse by evangelical theologians in response to the War on Terror. The book examines where the themes and concerns of key modern theologians—Karl Rahner, J. B. Metz, Jon Sobrino, and Ignacio Ellacuría—converge with the themes and concerns of those committed to the advancement of human rights. Regan also critically engages with the “disdain” for rights discourse that is found in the postliberal critiques of John Milbank and Stanley Hauerwas.

This interdisciplinary volume will be of interest to students and scholars in the fields of systematic theology, theological ethics, human rights, religion and politics, and political theory.

Table of Contents


1. A Dialectical Boundary Discourse: Secular and Religious

2. Theological Anthropology and Human Rights: Karl Rahner's Concentration on the Human

3. Human Rights in Time: Realism between Memory and Hope

4. Liberation Theology and Human Rights: From Interruptive Realism to the Centrality of La Realidad

5. Rights-Holders or Beggars? Responding to the Post-Liberal Critique


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"An important contribution to the constructive engagement between theology and human rights discourse and is a serious challenge to those in either camp who would peremptorily reject the insights of the other."—Journal of Religion

"This impressive book should shift its readers into renewed determination to achieve fundamental conditions of human flourishing for all, however situated."—Ann Loades, CBE, professorial fellow, St. Chad's College, and professor emerita of divinity, University of Durham UK


Supplemental Materials


2011 Catholic Press Association Book Award for First Time Author of a Book, Second Place

About the Author

Ethna Regan is a lecturer in theology at the Mater Dei Institute of Education, Dublin City University in Ireland.

256 pp., 6 x 9

Apr 2010

256 pp., 6 x 9

ISBN: 978-1-58901-642-2
Apr 2010

256 pp.

ISBN: 978-1-58901-658-3
Apr 2010

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