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The Moral Virtues and Theological Ethics, Second Edition

Romanus Cessario, O.P.

Publication Year: 2009

First published in 1991, The Moral Virtues and Theological Ethics introduced readers to an approach in Christian ethics that was not then much in vogue. Although the Second Vatican Council had marked a departure from the legalistic code of proper conduct for Catholics (known since the Catholic Reformation as “casuistry”), few Catholic theologians had yet begun to explore an ethics based on moral virtues rather than one based on narrow, prescriptive rules. At the forefront of studies that would begin to recover virtue ethics—the ethical teaching of the church in the patristic, monastic, and scholastic traditions—The Moral Virtues and Theological Ethics has been widely used to introduce both students and scholars to the relatively “new” idea of virtue ethics, now a dominant principle in Catholic moral theology. Following a brief new preface, the text of the six chapters in the original edition remains unchanged. However, Romanus Cessario, O.P., has substantially updated the citations in the notes to account for recent literature on the subject and has written a new chapter that accommodates his original study to the current ethos of moral theology. He draws on documents of the Catholic Church since 1991 to enrich the contemporary discussion of moral virtues and the dynamics of living a happy life. This second edition will inspire a new generation of readers, especially students and teachers of moral theology.

Published by: University of Notre Dame Press

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PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION

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pp. ix-x

This new edition of The Moral Virtues and Theological Ethics responds to an ongoing interest in virtue theory, one sustained by developments in several disciplines, especially the psychological sciences, philosophy, and theology, which have occurred since the book’s original publication ...

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

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pp. xi-xii

Preparation for the present volume actually began some ten years ago when circumstances at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C., obliged me to give some lectures in moral theology. Although theological interest in the moral virtues had not then peaked, the course none-the-less ...

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INTRODUCTION TO THE FIRST EDITION

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pp. 1-11

In order to explicate what Christians believe about the moral life, theological ethics has long employed both the vocabulary and the rhetoric of virtue theory. Arguably, one can discover the substance of a well-developed theology of virtue even in the earliest patristic writers. But ...

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1. THE MORAL VIRTUES AND CHRISTIAN FAITH: ISSUES IN PHILOSOPHY AND THEOLOGY

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pp. 12-33

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 ...

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2. HABITUS, CHARACTER, AND GROWTH: HABITUS AND CHRISTIAN KENOSIS

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pp. 34-44

Aristotle’s account of hexis, especially in the Nicomachean Ethics, provided Christian theologians with some of the psychological undergirding required for a complete discussion of virtue theory.1 Recently theologians of the reformed tradition, usually reluctant to employ ...

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3. WHAT IS A MORAL VIRTUE?: MORAL VIRTUE AND THE GOAL OF CHRISTIAN LIFE

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pp. 45-71

When theological writers describe the Christian moral life as the gradual perfection of the image of God in the human person, they mirror the extensive treatment given to this subject by the Fathers of the Church.1 St. Augustine, more than any other patristic author, explained the theological ...

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4. PRUDENCE AND THE MORAL VIRTUES: COMMUNIO AND THE MORAL LIFE

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pp. 72-93

Christian revelation unequivocally teaches that the redemption won by Christ results in the establishment of a new social order that is achieved by means of a transformation in each individual person. The book of Revelation presents the vision of a great multitude: “Who are these, ...

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5. WHAT CAUSES THE MORAL VIRTUES TO DEVELOP?: MORAL VIRTUE AND THE THEOLOGICAL LIFE

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pp. 94-125

The pages of the New Testament repeatedly emphasize that the actual happiness of the believer results from a sustained union with the crucified and risen Christ. Jesus himself points out that remaining united with him requires a special action of divine providence in the life of those ...

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6. CHARACTERISTICS OF THE VIRTUES: DISTINCTIVENESS OF CHRISTIAN TEACHING

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pp. 126-150

The Fathers of the Church liked to stress that grace appears not only in the saints’ words, but also on their faces. This is as much to say that the moral virtues effect recognizable changes in every aspect of a person’s life. Those moral theologians who wrote about virtue usually considered certain ...

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7. AFTER VERITATIS SPLENDOR: The Moral Virtues and Catholic Moral Thought

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pp. 151-172

There is a well-known narrative about an event that occurred at the end of St. Thomas Aquinas’s life.1 Although by early 1274 Aquinas was in bad health, he was still preparing to journey by mule to France whence Blessed Pope Gregory X had summoned him to attend the Second Council ...

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CONCLUSION

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pp. 173-178

Since it espouses a substantive doctrine of the good, the Christian tradition provides an intelligible foundation for the moral life and moral theology. Accordingly, the Christian can distinguish authentic human existence from its divers counterfeit forms. Even a young St. Augustine could ...

NOTES

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pp. 179-227

INDEX OF SUBJECTS

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pp. 228-230

INDEX OF NAMES

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pp. 231-234

INDEX OF SCRIPTURE REFERENCES

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p. 235-235


E-ISBN-13: 9780268076801
E-ISBN-10: 0268076804
Print-ISBN-13: 9780268022976
Print-ISBN-10: 0268022976

Page Count: 248
Publication Year: 2009

Edition: Second