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Breakdown of the Teleological View of Life?

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Investigating Law, Telos and Virtue in Calvinistic Ethics

image of Journal of Reformed Theology

In response to Alasdair MacIntyre’s and Brad Gregory’s claim—that the Reformation’s concept of morality in terms of obedience to divine commandments has been a major factor in a catastrophic breakdown in modernity of the teleological view of life and the virtues—this essay aims both to correct this criticism and to reread Calvin from the perspective of virtue ethics. Calvin’s utterances about the nature of the law, virtue, the self before God, one’s calling in the world, natural law and reason appear to be much more in alliance with a teleological, virtue ethical view than MacIntyre suggests. This opens up the possibility of a fruitful interplay between a Reformed account of law and Christian virtue ethics.

Affiliations: 1: Protestant Theological University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands


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