Today the Brazos Fellows finished our unit on Christianity and society with a discussion of Oliver O’Donovan’s excellent little book, Common Objects of Love: Moral Reflection and the Shaping of Community. (Long-time readers of the blog will remember that in fall 2018 the Brazos Fellows enjoyed a lecture and evening discussion with Prof. O’Donovan.) Our class this morning was led by Dr. Anne Jeffrey, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Baylor. Dr. Jeffrey teaches and writes on metaethics, the virtue tradition of normative ethics, political and legal philosophy, bioethics, and the philosophy of religion. It was a real treat for the fellows to discuss with Dr. Jeffrey a number of interesting questions surrounding moral deliberation and what it means for Christians to live as citizens of both the “city of God” and the “city of man.”
If you weren’t able to be at Bruce Hindmarsh’s recent lecture on “Evangelicals and the Rise of Natural Ethics,” you can now watch it in its entirety below. Here’s a description of Prof. Hindmarsh’s talk:
Can you be good without God? It was in the 18th century that ethics began to separate from religion. Moral philosophy was in many ways looking for an Isaac Newton of the moral sciences, and there were many who thought that human nature and its problems and opportunities could be fully described on an empirical basis, rather than from the point of view of divine revelation. On these matters, the early evangelicals were more at odds with their culture. It seemed to them that God’s revealed law was psychologically penetrating and ethically comprehensive. Its diagnosis of the human condition was devastating, and one’s only hope was to trust in a divine Saviour. They spoke therefore of the “spirituality and extent of the law” as a doctrine to awaken men and women to their true spiritual condition. This lecture will look at their view of human nature against the Enlightenment background.
Last week the fellows enjoyed another class with Matthew Lee Anderson. Matt is a research associate at Baylor’s Institute for the Studies of Religion, and recently received his D.Phil. in Christian Ethics from Oxford University. He’s also a good friend who serves on the board of Brazos Fellows, and a regular guest instructor in our Course of Study. Last week he led the fellows in discussing Karl Barth’s Dogmatics in Outline.