Modern moral theology faces an epidemic of reducing ethical discourse to applied ethics at the neglect of systematic philosophical questions. What is “good”? How does ethics relate to the chief end of man? Is duty, virtue, or consequence primary in deliberation? The result is a hermeneutic that treats the Bible as an encyclopedia of answers and yields a list of rules in a duty-based ethic that lends itself to legalism in the church.
The alternative is to recover philosophical questions and their traditional Christian answers through the study of our own historic virtue tradition. Virtue was the only framework for thinking about morality up until the fracturing of theology and philosophy by early modern thinkers.
While foundations in virtue ethics rely on Aristotle and Aquinas, an ethic that fully considers the severity of sin and reliance on grace must be developed. This course introduces reformed virtue ethics through the study of Peter Vermigli’s Commentary on Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics and Jonathan Edwards’ The Nature of True Virtue. No prior courses or knowledge of Aristotle is required. This course will include highlights from the prior course Foundations of Virtue: Aristotle & Aquinas.
Tim Jacobs is a Lecturer in Philosophy at The Davenant Institute, and a PhD candidate in philosophy at the University of St. Thomas, TX. He also holds an MDiv and ThM from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He specializes in ancient and medieval philosophy, virtue, natural law, metaphysics, and classical logic, and has published several articles as well as contributed to Four Views on Christian Metaphysics, Jonathan Edwards Encyclopedia, and Lexham Bible Dictionary. He lives with his wife and three kids in California. Follow him at TLJacobs.com.
Online only, runs 10 weeks, meeting 2 hr./wk. via Zoom. Students will also have the option to participate in class discussion on the Davenant Common Room Discord server. Register to reserve your spot and schedule will be set after a poll of participating students; if the class time does not fit your schedule, you will be eligible for a full refund.
This is a graduate-level course. Although a BA is not a necessary pre-requisite for this course, students should come prepared to do graduate-level work.