Jesus and Virtue Ethics: Building Bridges between New Testament Studies and Moral Theology

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9780742549944: Jesus and Virtue Ethics: Building Bridges between New Testament Studies and Moral Theology

Jesuits Daniel Harrington and James Keenan have successfully team-taught the content of this landmark study to the delight of students for years. In this book they take the fruits of their own experiences as theologians, writers, teachers, mentors, and friends to propose virtue ethics as a bridge between the fields of New Testament Studies and Moral Theology.

Answering the call of the Second Vatican Council for moral theology to "draw more fully on the teaching of Holy Scripture," the authors examine the virtues that both flow from Scripture and provide a lens by which to interpret Scripture. By remaining true to both the New Testament's emphasis on the human response to God's gracious activity in Jesus Christ and to the ethical needs and desires of Christians in the twenty-first century, the authors address key topics such as discipleship, the Sermon on the Mount, love, sin, politics, justice, sexuality, marriage, divorce, bioethics, and ecology.

Covering the entire sweep of ethical teaching from its foundations in Scripture and especially in Jesus' life, death, and resurrection to its goal or "end" with the full coming of God's kingdom, the authors invite readers more deeply into an appreciation of the central biblical themes and how, based on the themes, Catholic Christian moral theology bears on general ethical issues in culture. Complete with reflection questions and suggestions for further reading, this book is essential reading for professors, students, pastors, preachers, and interested Catholics.

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About the Author:

Daniel J. Harrington, SJ (1940–2014), was professor of New Testament at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry. He was the author of a number of books, including How Do Catholics Read the Bible? and, with James F. Keenan, Paul and Virtue Ethics.

James F. Keenan, SJ, holds the Canisius Chair at Boston College and is director of the Jesuit Institute. He is the author or editor of sixteen books, including Moral Wisdom: Lessons and Texts from the Catholic Tradition and Ethics of the Word: Voices in the Catholic Church Today.


All too often, biblical exegesis and moral theology go their separate ways, without any deep commitment to dialogue between the two disciplines. For this reason in particular, one must hail this new book by Fr. Daniel Harrington and Fr. James Keenan as an important step forward in the development of contemporary Catholic theology. (John P. Meier, University of Notre Dame)

With Daniel Harrington and James Keenan having solidly established themselves as sensitive interpreters of the Bible and ethics, there are few others I would want to read for a collaborative discussion on bridging New Testament studies with moral theology. This clearly written volume with discussion questions and suggested readings at the end of each chapter is well designed for class, adult discussion groups, personal reflection, and homily preparation. (Richard M. Gula, S.S., Professor of Moral Theology, Franciscan School of Theology/Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, CA)

Rarely does such a pair of stellar scholars lend their expertise to an introduction, then accomplish the results with such facility of style. Centering their presentation around an important new theological trend, "virtue ethics," they cover all the key questions in their respective fields. (Lisa Sowle Cahill, J. Donald Monan Professor of Theology, Boston College)

[A] most helpful volume on New Testament Ethics... an excellent text. (The Bible Today)

Readers of this book will envy the students who took part in the authors' team-taught seminars.... Let us hope their work encourages other scholars to contribute to spanning the academic divide between Scripture and the moral life. (America: The Jesuit Review of Faith & Culture)

Daniel Harrington, S.J., and James Keenan, S.J., have taken a giant step toward narrowing the gap between moral theology and exegesis. With Harrington presenting the biblical perspective and Keenan moral and theological reflections, these seasoned authors have engaged in a fruitful dialogue between exegesis and moral theology. Clearly and elegantly written, Jesus and Virtue Ethics provides a model of what it means to "build bridges" between exegesis and moral theology. Here is a work that responds to the needs of pastors and interested laity as well as theological students. (Frank J. Matera, Professor of New Testament, The Catholic University of America)

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