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The Limits of Ethics in International RelationsNatural Law, Natural Rights, and Human Rights in Transition$
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David Boucher

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199203529

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199203529.001.0001

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Christian Natural Law: A Universal Morality

Christian Natural Law: A Universal Morality

(p.43) 2 Christian Natural Law: A Universal Morality
The Limits of Ethics in International Relations


Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the connection of the notion of natural law in the West with the constellation of ideas surrounding the Christian God and the law-governed nature of the universe. It argues that despite arguments to the contrary, the natural rights tradition has for the most part retained and relied upon these conceptions. Evidence shows that natural law has become much better defined during the medieval period, though the tensions between the prescriptive and descriptive conceptions of it persisted. The chapter also explains how the theories of property became integral to the idea of just war, and how Christians see the system of laws that differentiated them from other faith communities as superior to others.

Keywords:   natural law, West, Christian God, natural rights, medieval period, just war, Christians

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