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Title: A Christian covenantal ethical model for biomedical ethics : an alternative to principles-based ethics
Author: Rusthoven, James Jacob
ISNI:       0000 0004 2717 2574
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2011
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Biomedical ethics has been dominated for over three decades by the central principles of autonomy, beneficence, nonmaleficence, and justice. These form the pillars of the principles- based ethical framework developed and promoted by Tom Beauchamp and James Childress. Despite its dominance, this framework for bioethical thinking, discourse, and decision-making has been widely criticized by bioethicists from many belief traditions. Such criticism has often focused on its minimalist preoccupation with procedural clarity, its lack of moral content, and its inattentiveness to relational aspects of biomedical ethics. For Christian bioethicists, its lack of grounding in Scripture and in the relationship between God and humankind are particularly problematic. Some Christian ethicists have suggested that the biblical notion of covenant gives normative direction to medical relationships as well as extratemporal, presuppositional grounding for meaningful bioethical thinking and action. The biblical covenantal theme describes the relationship that God established with human beings at creation as one that is a common relational link for all human relationships. Just as God offered his gift of covenantal promise and binding relationship in return for obedience to him, human relationships can develop and flourish if modeled after such covenantal giving toward fellow human beings. A biblical covenantal ethic recontextualizes bioethical principles within the relationality inherent in medicine. Patient autonomy is transformed into birelational sensitivity and giving, beneficence becomes a principle of care as the core of medicine, the minimalist necessity for nonmaleficence disappears, and justice is grounded in the claim that every human being deserves selfless care as an image-bearer of God. This covenantal ethic can fulfill the search for covenantal relationships in medicine, providing deeper understanding of true beneficence by meeting the needs of other vulnerable human beings.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available