ON MAKING A CULTURAL TURN IN RELIGIOUS ETHICS
This essay critically explores resources and reasons for the study of culture in religious ethics, paying special attention to rhetorics and genres that provide an ethics of ordinary life. I begin by exploring a work in cultural anthropology that poses important questions for comparative and cultural inquiry in an age alert to “otherness,” asymmetries of power, the end of value-neutrality in the humanities, and the formation of identity. I deepen my argument by making a foundational case for the importance of culture as a topic of normative analysis through a discussion of the emotions as cultural artifacts. To illustrate how cultural analysis can inform religious ethics, I turn to works by Wayne Meeks, Margaret Trawick, and Charles Taylor. I conclude by sketching some implications of a “cultural turn” for future work in religious ethics.