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Theology and the Boundary Discourse of Human Rights

Publication Year: 2010

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, Christia

Published by: Georgetown University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. vii-ix

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pp. xi-xii

The roots of this book are in the Caribbean; the research was carried out in the University of Cambridge; and it was prepared for publication in Dublin. In each of these places there are people who helped shape the book, and I would like to acknowledge their various contributions. ...

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pp. 1-6

The discourse of human rights has emerged as the dominant moral discourse of our time. Reflecting on this often contentious discourse, with both its enthusiasts and detractors, led me to consider the following questions: What constitutes an intelligible definition of human rights? What place should this discourse occupy within ethics? ...

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Chapter One A Dialectical Boundary Discourse: Secular and Religious

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pp. 7-62

Has this child no share in human dignity? Has he or she no appeal to human rights, the dominant moral discourse of our time? Richard Rorty describes the contemporary moral landscape as one primarily inhabited by “Kantians” or “Hegelians.” Those who hold that there are such things as intrinsic human dignity ...

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Chapter Two Theological Anthropology and Human Rights: Karl Rahner’s Concentration on the Human

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pp. 63-99

Where does theology find itself on the contemporary moral landscape described by Rorty as inhabited primarily by “Kantians” and “Hegelians”? The language of human rights is problematic for theology; for certain perspectives on rights assume an adversarial view of relationships within society and can be erosive of visions ...

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Chapter Three Human Rights in Time: Realism between Memory and Hope

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pp. 100-142

This chapter situates human rights as a “realist” discourse in time, located between the memory of suffering and hope for the future. It begins with a brief exploration of the concept of memory, particularly the efforts to develop what Paul Ricoeur calls a culture of just memory. The contribution of Recuperación de la Memoría Historica, ...

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Chapter Four Liberation Theology and Human Rights: From Interruptive Realism to the Centrality of La Realidad

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pp. 143-177

This chapter is neither an overview of liberation theology nor an exposition of particular liberation theologians but an exploration of the engagement of liberation theology with human rights discourse and the contribution it makes to this discourse through its focus on the preferential option for the poor ...

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Chapter Five Rights-Holders or Beggars? Responding to the Postliberal Critique

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pp. 178-214

This book has explored the engagement between theology and the discourse of human rights, a dialectical boundary discourse of human flourishing, positioned in ethics as “protective marginality.” As a dialectical language, human rights holds in tension the universal and the particular, the individual and the community, ...

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pp. 215-222

Charles Taylor holds that the contemporary philosophical preoccupation with issues of rights and justice reflects a narrow concern with “morality” in contrast with broader “ethical” questions about the “good life” and human flourishing.1 In an argument akin to that of the “new traditionalists,” rights are juxtaposed ...

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pp. 223-232

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About the Author

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pp. 233

Ethna Regan is a lecturer in theology at the Mater Dei Institute of Education, a College of Dublin City University. She studied at the Mater Dei Institute, Fordham University, and holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge. She previously taught at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad ...


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pp. 235-243

E-ISBN-13: 9781589016583
E-ISBN-10: 1589016580
Print-ISBN-13: 9781589016422
Print-ISBN-10: 1589016424

Page Count: 256
Publication Year: 2010