This volume addresses issues of moral pluralism and polarization by drawing attention to the transcendent character of the good. It probes the history of Christian theology and moral philosophy to investigate the value of this idea and then relates it to contemporary moral issues.

The good is transcendent in that it goes beyond concrete goods, things, acts, or individual preferences. It functions as the pole of a compass that helps orient our moral life. This volume explores the critical tension between the transcendent good and its concrete embodiments in the world through concepts like conscience, natural and divine law, virtue, and grace. The chapters are divided into three parts. Part I discusses metaphysical issues like the realist nature and the unity of the good in relation to philosophical, naturalist, and theological approaches from Augustine to Iris Murdoch. The chapters in Part II explore issues about knowing the transcendent good and doing good, exemplified in the delicate balance between divine command and human virtuousness. Early Protestant theological views prove to be excellent interlocutors for this reflection. Finally, Part III focuses on how transcendence is at stake in two heavily debated moral issues of today: euthanasia and the family.

The Transcendent Character of the Good will be of interest to scholars and advanced students working in theological ethics, moral philosophy, and the history of ethics.

The Open Access version of this book, available at www.taylorfrancis.com, has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 license.

chapter |19 pages

Introduction. The Image of a Moral Compass

Drawing Attention to the Transcendent Character of the Good in Times of Pluralism and Polarization
ByPetruschka Schaafsma
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part I|63 pages


chapter 1|13 pages

Liberal Naturalism and God

ByFiona Ellis
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chapter 2|15 pages

Murdochian Moral Vision

ByRob Compaijen
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chapter 3|21 pages

Goods, Rights, and Universality

A Christian View
ByNigel Biggar
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chapter 4|12 pages

Christians and the Transcendence of the Good

A Response to Nigel Biggar
ByMaarten Wisse
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part II|71 pages


chapter 5|19 pages

Law, Virtue, and Protestant Ethics

Historical Bearings and Prospects for Rapprochement with Aristotelian Naturalism
ByJennifer A. Herdt
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chapter 6|15 pages

Natural Goods and Divine Law

Protestant Theological Contributions to Neo-Aristotelian Naturalism
ByPieter Vos
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chapter 7|18 pages

The Relationship of Virtue and Divine Law

Early Reformed Thought and Its Contemporary Appropriation
ByDavid VanDrunen
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part III|71 pages

Topical Moral Issues

chapter 9|16 pages

When Conscience Wavers

Some Reflections on the Normalization of Euthanasia in Belgium 1
ByWillem Lemmens
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chapter 10|18 pages

How Legal Euthanasia Continues to be Transgressive

Some Observations from the Netherlands
ByA. Stef Groenewoud, Theo A. Boer
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chapter 11|17 pages

Family/ies and Transcendence

ByCristina L. H. Traina
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chapter 12|18 pages

The Family as Mystery

Why Taking into Account Transcendence Is Needed in Current Family Debates
ByPetruschka Schaafsma
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