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Natural LawA Jewish, Christian, and Islamic Trialogue$
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Anver M. Emon, Matthew Levering, and David Novak

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780198706601

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198706601.001.0001

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Christians and Natural Law

Christians and Natural Law

(p.66) 2 Christians and Natural Law
Natural Law

Matthew Levering

Oxford University Press

This chapter begins by noting the standard debates regarding the topic of natural law. Theologians worry that natural law discourse displaces Jesus and the particularity of Christian ethics. I take up this issue by probing into the Christian tradition, specifically Paul's Letter to the Romans and the commentaries written by five early Christian theologians, two from the Christian East (Origen and John Chrysostom) and three from the Christian West (Ambrosiaster, Pelagius, Augustine). The goal of the chapter is to explore the “particular” and “universal” elements found in natural law doctrine as developed by early Christian thinkers whose contributions are often neglected today in favour of Thomas Aquinas synthesis. In this way, the chapter contributes to the goals of the trialogue, which are to reflect upon natural law by drawing upon central thinkers from our traditions and by locating natural law's universal range vis-á-vis the particularity of our respective traditions.

Keywords:   Origen, Augustine, salvation, Jesus, eternal law, Romans 2, Gentiles, grace, works

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