A Proposed Prolegomenon for Normative Theological Ethics with a Special Emphasis on the Usus Didacticus of God's Law
Date of Award
Doctor of Theology (ThD)
Scripture References in this Resource (separated by semi-colons)
Exodus 19:4-5; Deuteronomy 2:7; Deuteronomy 30:15-20; Deuteronomy 4:1-2; Exodus 19:7-8; Exodus 20:2; Joshua 24:1-27; Joshua 24:14; Joshua 24:16-18, 24-26; Joshua 8:30-35; Kings 23:2b-3; Matthew 23:2-3; Matthew 5:17; Matthew 5:19; Matthew 5:21; Nehemiah 10:29; Nehemiah 9:7-33; Romans 15:4; Romans 2:21b-23; Romans 3:20b; Romans 7:7;
The purpose of this study is to examine and organize some of the current contrasting methodologies of theological ethics in an attempt to determine the Biblical method of choosing the moral option. This will be done in two different ways.
In the first part, two common methods in moral philosophy, the deontological method and the teleological method, will be defined and illustrated. It will be demonstrated that Scriptural ethics has elements in common with both rule deontology and rule teleology. In the second part, the Scriptural method of moral reasoning will be examined more closely by comparing three different ways that numerous absolute prescriptive commands are used in theological ethics. Of the three methods discussed it will be shown that two contradict the moral methodology of the Holy Scriptures. Only the method of conflicting absolutism will prove to be satisfactory. This is the only method that contains elements in common with both rule deontology and rule teleology.
The conclusion reached will stress that the Scriptural method of theological ethics not only emphasizes characteristics of both deontology and teleology, but it also emphasizes that these characteristics are to be used in a very precise and specific way. The Scriptural method is similar to rule deontology; however, when there is a conflict of duties the rule teleological element serves as the arbitrator to determine the lesser evil. When this is understood one can begin to have a prolegomenon for theological ethics that properly incorporates the usus didacticus of God's law.
Tape, John, "A Proposed Prolegomenon for Normative Theological Ethics with a Special Emphasis on the Usus Didacticus of God's Law" (1993). Doctor of Theology Dissertation. 18.
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