Academic Programs 

Theological Ethics and the Personal Life  (ET-545)   
Winter/Spring 2004

This course will examine issues of personal morality and faith.  The course begins with a brief introduction to theological ethics, and then moves to practical issues in personal morality, which will be discussed in relation to family and society.  The course will address issues such as marriage and commitment, homosexuality, friendship, abortion, lying, and the development of faith and virtue.  Attention will be given to how one’s theological commitments transform secular moral problems and their solutions.

Meeting Day, Time and Dates: 
Wednesdays from 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.


Ian Markham
Professor of Theology and Ethics  

Contact Information:
(860) 509-9553
Dr. Markham's web site

Heidi Gehman
Adjunct Professor of Theology and Ethics

Contact Information:
(860) 509-9500

Course Texts:

L. R. Holben, What Christians Think About Homosexuality 
Nick Hornby, How to Be Good
Robin Lovin, Christian Ethics: An Essential Guide
Gilbert Meilaender, Bioethics: A Primer for Christians
Gilbert Meilaender, Friendship: A Study in Theological Ethics

Articles on Reserve:

“Work,” Robert Bellah, et. al.; “Sex,” Raymond A. Belliotti; “World Family Trends,” Don Browning; “The Authority of Scripture in Christian Ethics,” Gareth Jones; “Ethics as a Quest for Truth,” Ian Markham; “Personal Responsibility” and “Toward the Recovery of Feeling,” H. Richard Niebuhr; Veritatis Splendor (middle section) and Laborem Exercens (selections), Pope John Paul II; The Roman Catholic Catechism, “The Singer Solution to World Poverty,” Peter Singer; “A Defense of Abortion,” Judith Jarvis Thompson

Aims of the Course:

1.      To understand how the discourse of faith can apply to issues of personal morality
2.      To learn the key approaches to Christian ethics
3.      To apply those approaches to specific moral dilemmas
4.      To learn how to dissect the central ethical issues of a given situation
5.      To examine at length one central current moral issue in light of themes of course

Course Requirements:

1.  6-page review of Nick Hornby, How to Be Good           20 points          due 2/25
2.  15-page paper exploring one moral issue                    50 points          due 4/30

3.  Weekly reading sheets                                             20 points
4.  Attendance and Class participation                            10 points

Further instruction on requirements will be given in class as the due dates approach.  The final paper should conform to the Seminary’s “General Guidelines for a Research Paper.” 

Grading Scale (within letter grades there will be +’s and –‘s)

            90-100%   A                                 60-74%     C

            75-89%     B                                 below 60%     F

Weekly Schedule of Topics and Readings

Note:  All readings should be complete, and weekly reading sheets filled out, for date listed.

Jan 28: Introduction to course: Why be Good? Definitions. The Difference Faith Makes

Feb 4: Theories of Moral Deliberation: Teleology, Deontology, Virtue

Read: Robin Lovin, Christian Ethics: An Essential Guide, pp. 9-79; Ian Markham, “Ethics as a Quest for Truth”

Feb 11: Sources for Moral Deliberation: Methodist Quadrilateral (Reason, Tradition, Scripture, Experience), Natural Law, Moral Feeling and Intuition

Read: Gareth Jones, “The Authority of the Bible in Christian Ethics;” H. Richard Niebuhr, “Toward the Recovery of Feeling;” Pope John Paul II: Veritatis Splendor (middle section)

Feb 18: Friendship

Read: Gil Meilander, Friendship: A Study in Theological Ethics, pp. 6-67.

Feb 25: Money and Work

Read: Robert Bellah, et. al., “Work;” Peter Singer, “The Singer Solution to World Poverty;” Pope John Paul II, Laborem Exercens (selections)

Assignment Due:  6-page review of Nick Hornby, How to Be Good

Mar 3: Marriage & Family

Read: Don Browning, “World Family Trends;” The Roman Catholic Catechism; Raymond A. Delliotti, “Sex”

March 10: Homosexuality

Read: L. R. Holben, What Christians Think about Homosexuality.

March 17: Personal ethics at the beginning and end of life: Abortion and Euthanasia

Read: Gil Meilaender, Bioethics, Chapters 3 and 6; Judith Jarvis Thompson, “A Defense of Abortion

March 24: Making Babies: Infertility treatments, prenatal screening, surrogacy

Read: Gil Meilaender, Bioethics, Chapters 2, 4, and 5

March 31: Concluding reflections

Read: H. Richard Niebuhr, “Personal Responsibility”

Final Paper is Due April 30, 2004!


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