Christian Thought on Human Dignity - John Loughlin (Hardcover)

Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican and Protestant Perspectives

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Product Details

11 Jul 2019
Supply Source


John Loughlin (Editor)
Bloomsbury Academic
Number of Pages
234 x 156mm (234g)


Dignity is a fundamental aspect of our lives, yet one we rarely pause to consider; our understandings of dignity, on individual, collective and philosophical perspectives, shape how we think, act and relate to others. This book offers an historical survey of how dignity has been understood and explores the concept in the Judaeo-Christian tradition.

World-renowned contributors examine the roots of human dignity in classical Greece and Rome and the Scriptures, as well as in the work of theologians, such as St Thomas Aquinas and St John Paul II. Further chapters consider dignity within Renaissance art and sacred music. The volume shows that dignity is also a contemporary issue by analysing situations where the traditional understanding has been challenged by philosophical and policy developments. To this end, further essays look at the role of dignity in discussions about transhumanism, religious freedom, robotics and medicine.

Grounded in the principal Christian traditions of Catholicism, Orthodoxy, Anglicanism, and Protestantism, this book offers an interdisciplinary and cross-period approach to a timely topic. It validates the notion of human dignity and offers an introduction to the field, while also challenging it.


General Subject
BISAC Subject 1
Philosophy / Religious
BISAC Subject 2
Philosophy / History & Surveys / General
BIC Classification 1
Philosophy of religion
BIC Classification 2
History of Western philosophy
Library Subject 1
Dignity - Religious aspects - Christianity
Library Subject 2
Dignity - Religious aspects - Judaism
Dewey Classification

Author Bio

John Loughlin is a Research Fellow at Blackfriars Hall, University of Oxford, UK.

Review Quotes

[A] fascinating read. * Standpoint Magazine * A fine set of essays designed to explain and defend the notion of human dignity in the Judaeo-Christian
tradition . . . individuals like Loughlin and his colleagues turn to the history of philosophy in their studies of the concept of dignity, and by knowing our history-the history of humanity and the history of thinking-we are in a better position to know our proper trajectory. * International Philosophical Quarterly * A thoughtful, necessary and scholarly contribution ... [the essays] repay serious study on a subject of crucial concern for everyone, whatever their creed or ethnicity. * Catholic Herald * John Loughlin and his colleagues provide an engaging and lively reconsideration of the value of human dignity in these troubled, contested times. This groundbreaking and important contribution to our understanding of ourselves and of the worth of each individual draws on a number of disciplines and perspectives, which reminds us that autonomy has to be debated, defended, redefined and prized, if it continues to serve as an ethical foundation for human interaction. -- Colin H. Williams, Honorary Professor at Cardiff University and Senior Research Associate of the Von Hugel Institute, Cambridge University, UK A rich and powerful treatment of the idea of human dignity. This work draws together an impressive array of well-known international scholars to explore the Judeo-Christian and aesthetic dimensions of the concept. They mount a robust defense of the spiritual, biblical, and historical aspects of the idea against those who reject human dignity as a mere religious construct with no relevance for modernity. -- Oliver P. Rafferty SJ, Professor of History, Boston College, USA. This volume provides a needed reassessment of the roots of human dignity from the vantage of the relational model of "likeness and image of God" in the Judeo-Christian tradition. The authors' attention to the unmistakable contribution of this idea, its development alongside classical ideals, and the way it has broadly impacted culture and rights theories make this book a most valuable resource. -- Kevin G. Grove, CSC, Assistant Professor of Theology, University of Notre Dame, United States