This book investigates the link between human capabilities and the preconditions for social progress through an engagement with the theological anthropology of Swiss theologian Emil Brunner (1889–1966). It places Brunner’s thought in dialogue with selected contributors from the contemporary social sciences, examining approaches from economics, sociology and philosophy as put forward by Gary S. Becker, Christian Smith and Martha Nussbaum. This dialogic format helps to crystallise both agreements and differences and thus facilitate greater understanding between theology and other disciplines. Questions explored in the discussion relate to the emergence of human nature (the person) and the capabilities human beings possess, as well as how these develop in a social context. The author focuses in particular on the impact of sin (the Fall) and considers the mixed blessings of economic progress. By providing pointers on how to bring back the human person in social disciplines, the book hopes to contribute to improved understanding of the ethical dimension of social progress and human flourishing. It will be of particular interest to scholars of analytic and systematic theology, but also scholars from economics and social sciences with openness to theological engagement.

chapter 1|16 pages


part I|142 pages

The Fall and Contemporary Social Sciences Engaging Emil Brunner

chapter 182|46 pages

Emil Brunner's Theological Anthropology

chapter 3|34 pages


The Human Being and Human Capital

chapter 4|31 pages


The Capabilities Approach

chapter 5|29 pages


The Person in Social Sciences

part II|103 pages

The Fall and Social Progress

chapter 1606|23 pages

Sin and Moral Evil in the Social Realm

chapter 7|26 pages

Imbalanced Social Progress?

chapter 8|45 pages

The Paradox of Economic Progress

chapter 9|7 pages