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Recovering the Pastness of the Past: A Response to the Focus on Eighteenth-Century Ethics

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In its dominantly ahistorical character, the Journal of Religious Ethics has much in common with its counterparts among philosophical journals, showing as clearly as they do the widespread antihistorical bias oftwentieth-century analytical philosophy. Moreover, such historical work as the journal has published has been tied unnecessarily closely to the voluntarist (divine command) paradigm. While drawing attention to the antivoluntarist strand in the history of ethics, the articles by John Bowlin, Mark Cladis, and Mark Larrimore, together with the introduction by Jennifer Herdt, demonstrate that the purposes of inquiry in religious ethics are better served by attending to the past than by ignoring it.

Keywords: analytical philosophy; divinecommand ethics; history; religious ethics

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 1, 2000

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