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Title: Moral theological method in the theological ethics of Martin Luther and Arthur Rich, with particular reference to their economic ethics
Author: Doherty, Sean
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis seeks to expand the self-critical resources of contemporary theological economic ethics by bringing the method of a pre-modern theologian and social commentator, Martin Luther (1483-1546), into interaction with that of a modern contribution to social ethics, the Swiss theologian Arthur Rich (1910-92). This thesis is the first substantial treatment in English of Rich’s magnum opus, Wirtschaftsethik. The demonstration of the thesis is undertaken by a close engagement with a selected publication of Luther (his 1519/20 Großer Sermon von dem Wucher) and of Rich (his masterwork, Wirtschaftsethik, published in two volumes in 1984 and 1990 respectively). The thesis does not simply describe Luther’s and Rich’s economic ethics, but demonstrates the way in which they operate, that is, their method. An introduction sets out the thesis, and defends its method. Chapter 1 introduces Luther’s sermon on usury, and situates it in its context. It then gives a commentary on Luther’s method, discussing its genre, the way in which Luther deploys Scripture and exploits doctrines with respect to ethics, and his concept of the twofold government of God. It analyses how Luther brings these theological motifs to bear on a particular economic question. Chapter 2 sketches Arthur Rich’s life and work, and presents Rich’s method as set out in Wirtschaftsethik. It discusses his understanding of ethics, his approach to Scripture, and his adoption of the thought of Max Weber and John Rawls. Chapter 3 brings our study of Luther to bear on Rich’s approach, noting strengths and weaknesses of Rich’s method. It questions some of Rich’s assumptions, and notes ways in which a more self-critical approach could have made his project more successful. A conclusion then summarises the argument, and makes tentative suggestions as to the wider applicability of the critical questions posed to Rich’s method by the analysis of Luther.
Supervisor: Wannenwetsch, Bernd Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Theology and Religion ; christian ethics ; ethics ; economic ethics ; Martin Luther ; Arthur Rich