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Dic cur hic?: Die philosophische Ethik der Lutheraner im frühen 17. Jahrhundert

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In order to attain a deeper understanding of Aristotelian philosophy in the Renaissance, it is necessary to consider the theological implications of given facts. This article discusses a basic problem centring on the reception of Aristotle’s Ethics. The Nicomachean Ethics was widely regarded as the basis for a virtuous ethical life, yet how could a pagan philosophy, with its concepts of happiness, virtue, justice, etc., be the basis of a Christian society? The aim of the present article is to show how Lutheran scholars solved this problem in confrontation with Catholic and Calvinist scholars of the time. The first part deals with the two basic components of Aristotle’s Ethics, namely the doctrines of happiness (Eudaimonologia) and virtue (Aretologia), and attempts to show that Aristotle’s Ethics should not be understood as a system of rules, but rather as a handbook for the cultivation of practical habits in the free human being who strives to live a good life. The second part examines two key ideological confrontations in relation to Aristotle’s philosophy: between Lutherans and Calvinists in respect of definition of theology and philosophical and theological virtues on the one hand, and between Lutherans and »the Enthusiasts« in respect of the concept of virtues on the other.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 2006

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