Item description for John Wesley's Moral Theology: The Quest for God and Goodness (Kingswood Books) by D. Stephen Long...
Overview Asserts that the theology of the Wesleyan tradition is best understood not as philosophical and applied ethics, but as Moral Theology stemming from the virtue tradition, particularly the work of Thomas Aquinas.
Publishers Description The public theology of the Wesleyan tradition is best understood as moral theology rather than as philosophical and applied ethics. Long asserts that the ethical nature of the Wesleyan tradition can be best understood using the frame of moral theology stemming from the virtue tradition, particularly the work of Thomas Aquinas. This recognizes that the gathering of the faithful for the purpose of seeking holiness is the public voice of the church. Because we squeezed the Wesleyan tradition in the academic discipline of philosophical and applied ethics, we distorted our tradition. This distortion led us into our current ethical impasse, particularly with money, war and peace, homosexuality, and technology. An excerpt from the "Circuit Rider" review: "In John Wesley s Moral Theology, D. Stephen Long offers a radical proposal: By letting Wesley be Wesley in his context and thus being out of step with ours, Wesley actually has more to say to us in our postmodern context. Here, our problem with making him relevant for today is implied in the difference between ethics and moral theology. As a moral theologian, Wesley believed that doing and knowing what is good can only be achieved by being united with Christ. In other words, the Good and the True cannot be known outside of God. Thus, there is no separation between ethics and theology since the former is only intelligible in the light of the latter." (Click here to read the entire review.)"
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Studio: Kingswood Books
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9" Width: 6.12" Height: 0.69" Weight: 0.92 lbs.
Release Date Jul 13, 2005
Publisher Abingdon Church Supplies
Series Kingswood Books
ISBN 0687343542 ISBN13 9780687343546
Availability 0 units.
More About D. Stephen Long
D. Stephen Long is Professor of Systematic Theology at Marquette University. Previously he worked at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, St. Joseph's University and Duke Divinity School. He is an ordained United Methodist and served churches in Honduras and North Carolina. He has published eight books and numerous essays in Systematic Theology and Theological Ethics.
Reviews - What do customers think about John Wesley's Moral Theology: The Quest for God and Goodness?
very scholarly, a needed part of the Wesley discussion Jul 11, 2006
D. Stephen Long has diligently argued, and documented, his case for placing Wesley within the more broadly Thomistic and Natural Law tradition. He is provocative in resisting the usual read on Wesley as a post-Lockean and proto-pragmatist, arguing that Wesley ultimately operates out of "participation metaphysics" of Cambridge Platonism and its Catholic predecessors. Another key distinction for Long is that between "ethics" and "moral theology," the former emphasis of which he believes constitutes a modern distortion of Wesley. (In fact, the manner in which he makes this case is apt to challenge some of those who insist upon a pronounced distinction between Aquinas as philosopher and Aquinas as theologian--if one resists his take on Aquinas, they'll likely resist his take on Wesley as well.)
What impresses me the most about this work is that he incoporates material from a number of figures that were giants at one time in British(1700s) in philosophical theology, but have been neglected in recent decades (Norris, Clarke, etc). If you read the introduction and the frist chapter alone, you'll get a good indication of the hisotrical depth of this work.
In general, this book brings Wesley into conversation (and contrast) with still-widely read modern thinkers like Locke, Hume, Hutcheson, and Kant, with even a (oddly added, but good to read) very short chapter/appendage at the end discussing Wesley in light of Malebranche. In contrast to the empiricists, Long clearly finds Wesley fits better within the Natural Law tradition. Those who have read Long's other works will find some of the concepts reworked here, with much more explicit reference to Wesley, and fewer references to 19th and 20th century figures.
I did have one small point of disagreement: Long ascribes to Locke a view of freedom as "indifference," which Locke explicitly rejects.
In all, it is densely written, with occasional involved sentences. The book is also broken into sections of considerably uneven and variant length. These may be drawbacks to those who wish to peruse Long's argument quickly. On the other hand, this division also allows one to start reading in the middle of the book and still follow many of the points of his argument. Without question, re-reading is required in places. But the effort is well worth it, as it packs tremendous historical resources, and raises a challenge to more popular current readings of Wesley, Also, while a few have started to explore his relation to Orthodoxy, this brings the conversation a little more into focus with Catholicism and traditional Anglicanism. Definitely recommended.