The "implicit ethics" of New Testament writings : a draft on a new methodology for analysing New Testament ethics
Contributor(s)Zimmermann, Ruben, 1968-
KeywordsNew Testament writings
Ethics in the Bible
Bible -- N.T. -- Criticism, interpretation, etc.
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AbstractIf ethics are defined as the theory of moral action, we must ask whether it makes sense to examine the New Testament narrative and epistle texts with regard to ethics, considering them as more than simply instructional texts for putting actions into practice. This article begins with the assumption that the New Testament contains ethics that, while not explicitly and systematically contemplated, are certainly indirectly assumed or represented when actions are explained, evaluated and required. Therefore, it is appropriate to speak of the "implicit ethics" of New Testament writings. In order to analyse this indirect structure of motivation, a methodology based on eight approaches is suggested : 1. Linguistic Form; 2. Norms and Values for Action; 3. History of Traditions of Individual Norms / Moral Instances; 4. Priorities of Values; 5. Ethical "Logic" / Structure of Motives; 6. The Moral Agent; 7. The Resulting Ethos as Lived; 8. Addressee / Field of application. The complexity of contemplating actions taken from historical, written sources makes such a multiple approach necessary. If it is possible to enlighten and reveal a more systematic ethics and order of values underlying the texts, the role of New Testament ethics in the current ethical discourse - within theology and the church as well as in the wider fields of science and society - can better be reflected.
Zimmermann, R 2009, 'The "implicit ethics" of New Testament writings : a draft on a new methodology for analysing New Testament ethics', Neotestamentica, vol. 43, no. 2, pp. 399-423. [www.neotestamentica.net]